Keep Hardware Clean!

Old 4 Comments on Keep Hardware Clean! 5

This will be a short post, because it’s such a simple concept, yet so, so, so many IT professionals forget about or ignore it. Keep hardware clean!

I can’t tell you the last time I saw a network (a server, NAS, switch, IP-PBX, UTM, whatever) that I hadn’t deployed, that was actually clean. For some reason, at least in my experience, I have yet to find an IT professional who believes that physically cleaning equipment matters at all. Apparently an accumulation of dust so significant that you can write your name in it is not a bad thing. I have yet to understand why this philosophe exists, or why we technologists don’t seem to put much thought into it. I’m not sure if it’s because we think simply ‘cleaning’ equipment is beneath us ? Not ‘technical’ enough for our attention ? Too ‘mundane’ a task ? Again, I don’t know, but it’s not good to allow equipment to get this way. Dust and dirt can clog air vents, starving equipment of needed ventilation and breathing room. This can cause premature failure of hardware. One time I actually had a client report a non-working USB port. Turned out that the USB thumb drive he was trying to use wouldn’t fit into the USB port fully because there was so much dust, dirt and hair in the USB port that the thumb drive couldn’t seat properly.

Whatever the reason, there is absolutely no acceptable excuse that can be made for networks we administer to become physically filthy. Clients can’t necessarily tell if a 3 years old server is running optimally or not, but they sure can tell if it’s been dusted.


Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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  1. Anastasios Barianos June 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Big part of that is that you don’t always have time to actually maintain your equipment, you just run after all the problems that show up.

  2. Ben Peterson June 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Martin, can you provide some tips on cleaning? Are there any cleaning products, etc to use or not use? Thanks for your article.

    • Martin Lehner June 10, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      Hey Ben,

      Compressed air is your best friend, that’s the #1 cleaning tool you need. You can start with just the basic disposable ones, but if you’ve got the cash, the Hurricane 2 is absolutely awesome ( and also much more environmentally friendly. Also, a good quality microfiber for dusting external cases and surfaces. In some cases (and be VERY careful with this), Windex makes sense to use. Essentially, just keep up on it and it won’t get really bad.

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