Does my computer need an oil change?


Every 3000 miles, my truck needs an oil change. I’ve accepted this. In fact, I make reminders to myself to get the truck into the shop so that the oil is changed on a regular schedule. Tune ups, tire inflation, oil changes, this is all part of owning the vehicle.

So why is it when it comes to computers I grunt and groan and belly ache whenever the computer needs maintenance. I expect it to turn on and just work without any performance care on my part. And why not? Computers are smarter than cars. I have to tell the car
where to go, the computer should know exactly what I want it to do. The car has moving parts that I can look at, the computer is a box under my desk (or in my lap) that makes some noise but doesn’t have anything moving that I can see.

And yet, computers need just as much TLC as a car does. Except instead of an oil change, I run a virus scan. Instead of a tune up, I open the case and blow the dust out. I clear out temp folders and files instead of putting air in my tires. I backup and make duplicate copies of all my important files instead of…ok, so there is no equivalent here. But wouldn’t it be nice to walk away from a car wreck, shrug your shoulders, and say “That’s ok, I have a backup in my garage.”?

I replace my car every 3-5 years as a matter of course, dropping thousands of dollars on replacement vehicles. Yet I expect my computer to last forever. I expect it to never need replaced and always functional. I gripe when it comes time to drop any additional money on my computer.

Lately, I’ve found that my attitudes towards all this have been shifting. Instead of getting an oil change, I’ll scan my hard drive for malware. Instead of a tune up for my truck, I’ll tear apart my computer and clean dust out of the corners. This could explain why my
transmission is no longer working…

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About the Author

Chad Johnson

Chad touched down on this planet in 1980. Originating from the planet Triangle, he set forth on this planet determined to learn all that could be learned. When that proved impossible, he donned the guise of a houseplant for several years until the computer revolution made it possible to simply download all available information. His mission complete, he moonlights as a computer system technician, website designer, father, and lover of pickles.Originally a hobby, computers became a career when no other usable skills were discovered within his abilities. Chad’s antics can be followed on his blog Outside the fire.