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20+ Dumb Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Computer

Do you want to completely ruin your computer?

What destroys your Computer?

Well of course not, which is why I’m going to tell you the best ways to do just that, so you can avoid it. Your computer certainly makes life easier, but you can tell it pays you back just the same. This seemingly trivial thing like forgetting to put the battery in or unplugging your headphones can slowly kill your electronic devices.

It doesn't matter if you're using an older laptop or a new laptop, if you avoid these 20 mistakes then you can improve the lifespan of your laptop significantly. If you are already a laptop user then I can guarantee you that you are doing any of these mistakes which I'm about to explain.

So in this article, I’ve got 20 dumb mistakes that could potentially destroy your computer hardware-wise permanently or at the very least your current OS installation.




20 Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Computer




1. Poor Ventilation & Cooling

If you bought a pre-built system it’s probably ok from the manufacturer, unless there’s a ton of dust buildup over the years or something. But if you have a custom-built computer, obviously you need to make sure your components are properly cooled, even if you’re not overclocking.

Basically, this means if you are overclocking the computer at all, you will want a heat sink better than the stock one, and make sure you have at least one intake and an exhaust fan for air circulation.

What destroys your Computer?

This is something that won’t cause your computer to burst into flames, or fry components the minute you turn it on because one of the fans is running slow. The CPU and graphics cards will throttle themselves, but over time their lifespan will be reduced, including that of other components like hard drives.

Of course, this isn't something that needs to be super finely controlled, as long as you have reasonable circulation, it's very unlikely that your computer will die, it's more just increasing the risk over time with increased temperatures.




2. Improperly CPU Overclocking

One of the sure-fire ways to damage your computer is improperly overclocking your CPU. Usually, you want to slowly increase the clock speeds and voltages by small amounts, then stress testing the computer for stability. But if you go too far and just bump up the voltage way too high, you could immediately fry your CPU.

What destroys your Computer?

If you want to overclock your processor unless you really know what you’re doing, the best thing you can probably do is find an overclocking guide for your specific CPU made by someone else who already did most of the testing for you, and then don’t stray too far from their results.

For example back when I built my PC I had an Intel 5960X CPU, on a Rampage motherboard from ASUS ROG. And ROG is the brand from ASUS and they actually released a guide specifically for my CPU on how to overclock it and their guide showed what you could expect from a good result, an average result, a fair result, so I was literally able to just look on there, and say "ok well I'll try the average result" put it at that clock and that voltage.

And it seemed to work out, so you might not get something as well clear-cut as that, but that's what you can hopefully look for. And then you at least have a place to start.

What destroys your Computer?

Now one interesting thing to know if you’re worried about Overclocking, is that Intel actually offers a kind of insurance called the “performance tuning protection plan” in case the CPU fails because of overclocking, which might be worth looking in to see if it’s worth it. I don’t think AMD offers anything like this for their CPUs though.

But Intel at least if you do have one of their CPUs, and you're worried about frying it, this could potentially offer some protection against that.

What destroys your Computer?

And it's really not even that expensive, it's like 20 or 30 dollars I think per CPU, and it covers it for a couple years. Just be sure to read the fine print and know exactly what's covered. I believe bent pins would probably not be covered, it's only things resulting from overclocking.



3. Deleting System Files

One thing you obviously should never do is any delete system files. Most of the time the operating system will make it impossible to delete anything critically important unless you really go out of your way to do it on purpose. But I have experimented in the past to see what happens if you delete some critical files just for fun, and no surprise, it immediately kills Windows and makes it so you will have to reinstall it completely.

What destroys your Computer?

The somewhat good news is that even if you somehow, for whatever reason, delete system files on your computer and ruin the OS installation, it’s not like the computer is physically ruined. Your files are still on the hard drive, and you can always reinstall Windows, it would just be a real pain, and should obviously be avoided at all costs.



4. Not Using USP or Surge Protector

Uninterruptable power supply (or UPS) or at the very least, a surge protector. This one is pretty self-explanatory but really important. Power surges can easily destroy a computer, and while they might be rare, why take the chance, surge protectors are really not that expensive.

What destroys your Computer?

Even better is getting an uninterruptable power supply, a UPS. This is basically a battery backup unit for a desktop computer that will keep your computer running for a short time if the power goes out or becomes unstable. These aren’t meant to keep the computer running for hours, usually just a couple minutes depending on how much power your computer draws, it may only do less than a minute, maybe a couple minutes, so you have just enough time to save your work and shut down properly.

What destroys your Computer?

They aren’t too expensive either, you can get a decent smaller one from APC is one of the manufacturers, for under $120, or you can really go crazy on bigger ones.

What destroys your Computer?

It's definitely worth the price and peace of mind I think, it's saved me several times where the power has gone out, and then really all it takes is less than 30 seconds like I said, to just say "ok power's out, time to turn off the computer", shut down, and then nothing's going to get corrupted, or you're not going to lose any data. You can do it really quick.


5. Shaking An HDD

What destroys your Computer?

One thing to definitely avoid is shaking your hard drive while it’s running. This really just applies to laptops and is also something you don’t need to worry about with SSDs. But it should be obvious why shaking a delicate piece of hardware spinning at 7200 RPM might be a Bit Risky.

Now, most modern drives do have the ability to detect vibrations and will actually lock themselves down to try and prevent damage, so they probably aren’t as sensitive as you might think, but it’s still important to avoid it because you don’t know what kind of long term issues it might cause. And if it is extreme enough in the right direction, it might cause a platter to scrape against the case of the hard drive for example.

This is another experiment where I literally put a hard drive on a laboratory vortexer to shake it violently while it was running, and actually, it didn’t kill it, but it did freeze up every time it was shaking, probably because of the drive’s protection features. Still, doing this regularly would definitely damage it, and I wouldn’t dare use this particular drive I used for the experiment after putting it through that.


6. Interrupting Updates

This is something that actually sometimes happens and it’s not even our fault, which is restarting or cutting power to the computer, or any other device really, while it’s updating. You’ve surely seen during literally any update ever, the computer will say something like “do not restart while updating”, and maybe wondered what would actually happen if you actually did that.

What destroys your Computer?

Well it turns out, in most cases it’s probably not the end of the world, and Windows at least will be able to roll things back and just tell you something like “Windows could not finish installing updates.”

What destroys your Computer?

Microsoft and other companies surely know there are occasional situations where the power might go out during an update, or an update might encounter an error, and likely has put a lot of time into making sure stuff like that doesn’t brick your computer. Of course, you still need to always avoid doing it, because it is still very possible to corrupt certain files in a way that isn’t recoverable, and again you'd have to reinstall.

But also, there are some situations, like when updating the motherboard BIOS, where it is absolutely imperative that you don’t interrupt it, because then you could literally brick the motherboard, and then you really are screwed.


7. Messing with Components while they're Running

We’re on to the final mistake you should seriously avoid, but afterward, we can mention some other ridiculous ways to ruin your computer just for fun. So messing around with the components inside of your computer while it’s running. You can risk things like accidentally shorting things out, hitting fan blades, and god knows what else. And my personal story with this is really embarrassing but funny.

So one day I was adding a new fan controller inside my computer, and for some reason, the fans attached to the water cooler unit weren’t running. It was one of those all-in-one units with the radiator and some plugs to power the fans.

What destroys your Computer?

Now me thinking I was so smart, decided to get out my multimeter and use it to test if there was actually any voltage being applied to the fan pins, to tell whether the fan itself was dead, or if they just weren’t being powered.

So I go and touch the multimeter probes to the pins on the water cooler unit while the computer is running, and I immediately hear a POP and the computer just shuts down instantly. And I clearly shorted something out. My initial reaction was basically to just stare at it, and I literally thought I just fried the whole thing and would need to build a new PC, it was a mess.

So I press the power button and everything actually turns on… except the water cooler was clearly dead, its light wasn’t on and the pump wasn’t running. So I ended up having to replace the water cooling unit, which was like $150 not cheap, but fortunately, nothing else was shorted out, but it could have been a lot worse.

So learn from my mistake and don’t go messing around with the inside of your computer while it’s running, it's not worth it. Alright, so those are some things you realistically need to avoid so your computer stays un-destroyed.


But what fun is that?

In fact, there are plenty of ways people have actually come up with to actually try and destroy their computers for pure entertainment value. One example is the infamous “ether-killer” device, where someone literally took an AC power cable and spliced it directly to an ethernet cable. I’m not sure if this has actually ever been tested beyond being a meme, but it would at the very least destroy the network card or motherboard it was plugged into.

What destroys your Computer?

Now I mentioned you need to keep your computer free of dust for adequate cooling, but one way to Not do that is to wash your motherboard with soap and water. This has also been a meme for a while, but needless to say, liquid and computer components do not mix. In fact, one thing I could have added to the main list was to avoid spilling liquid on your laptop keyboard because even if you dry it out, it might cause long-term corrosion damage that might not be immediately apparently.

And definitely don’t do what I did and pour an entire quart of motor oil into your PC, unless you really want to I guess, I’m not your parents you can do what you want.


8. Don't Expose Your Laptop or PC to Direct Sunlight

What destroys your Computer?

Sunlight is not good for your laptop and computer. Obviously, this can cause overheating issues and its rays can slowly but surely kill your screen. So if you place your devices near a window or in direct sunlight then it may be affecting your computer's screen and the result you will be lost a bright and saturated image in the near future.

This is a common mistake most people do while using their laptops is using them outdoor on a sunny day. It is okay to use your laptop outdoor but don't expose it direct to sunlight too often. If you are an outdoor guy and use your laptop outdoor in direct sunlight then avoid using a laptop during a sunny day because this can damage your laptop screen over time.

One big piece of advice never keeps your laptop in your car. If your car is parked outside then the extreme temperature inside the car can damage your laptop.


9. Don’t Cover The Airflow

What destroys your Computer?

Don't keep your laptop flat on the surface and keeping some object next to the laptop fans. It is not a good idea to keep your laptop flat on the surface because you are disturbing the airflow of your laptop. Most of the laptops have 2 air vents on the bottom and outlet air vents on the side. So you should never block those areas because this will cause overheat on your laptop and then it may cause too many problems.

If you play games or do video editing on any kind of high-intensity works on your laptop then you can buy some kind of aftermarket air cooler stands for your laptop. This will help to keep your laptop cool most of the time. If you don't want to spend any money then you can also use some kind of book underneath the laptop so the air can pass through the vents easily. But make sure you don't block any of the bottom sides of the air vents.


10. Don’t Open The Laptop By The Side

What destroys your Computer?

Do not lift your laptop screen panel from the corner side. Do notice, This is the one mistake most of us do. This may cause your screen to bend or damage over time. So always make sure that you open your laptop from the center. Never try to lift the laptop screen panels from the sides. Also, don't bend your laptop screen more than 120 degrees.

Always try to use in between 90 degrees to 120-degree angle. If you push the screen too far then you might end up damaging the laptop hinges that hold your screen. Keep in mind, always hold the top center of the screen panel to adjust the screen.


11. You Don't Turn off or Shut Down Your Laptop Regularly

What destroys your Computer?

This is the most common mistake most people do while using a laptop is they don't turn off their laptop very often. Most of the time when we finish using the laptop we close the screen and keep the laptop on the side and we forgot to shut down the laptop. If you're using a laptop on a daily basis then shut down your laptop at least once a day. 

Sleep and Hibernation are good only when you are using a laptop at home or if don't like to constantly wait for the system to boot up completely. However, it is worth doing it from time to time. Sleep and hibernation modes are not recommended for carrying laptops as laptops do not handle active motion well.




12. Don’t Keep The Charging ON All The Time

What destroys your Computer?

If you're doing video editing or playing games on your laptop then it is okay to keep the charging an adaptor plugged into that laptop because these things require more power. If you're using a laptop to just watch videos or just doing some basic blocks then you have to remove the charging adaptor once your laptop is fully charged. Charge your laptop when it comes to 20 percent.

Overcharging can damage your laptop battery, and after a certain time, the battery drains very quickly. If you use your laptop frequently while it's plugged in, it's a good idea to remove the battery after it's 50 or 60 percent charged. If you leave it indoors, it will become less productive over time.




13. Not Connecting a Laptop to a Power Supply In The Right Way

What destroys your Computer?

Many people have a habit of either keeping their laptops plugged into the charger all the time or connecting the charger when the battery is critically low. Always remember that both of these habits will reduce the lifetime of a battery and you'll need to replace it earlier than required. The general rule of thumb is you should always connect the charger when the battery is at 20 percent and disconnect it immediately once the battery is completely charged.

You should never plug it into a power outlet first without connecting something to the other end, if you do this the power supply may simply burn out, or in the worst case, it may kill the motherboard. Always start by connecting the laptop to the charger, then the plug to the outlet, and only then turn on the laptop.



14. Not Cleaning The Screen In Right Way

What destroys your Computer?

Ammonia-based alcohol-containing substances can seriously damage the anti-reflective coating of your screen. Use a microfiber or soft fabrics. You suppose there is a speck of dust on your laptop and you are trying to rub the dashed away with a microfiber cloth. So what microfiber cloth does is lifts off the dust from your laptop or your screen. But if you do it with a normal cloth, the dust gets dropped on the surface of the laptop.

So it might end up scratching the surface of the laptop or the screen. Along with the microfiber cloth, you can also use a cleaning liquid. Don't spray the liquid directly on the laptop because it might end up entering the laptop parts. Spray the liquid on the cloth and slowly rub the surface of the laptop.

Rub the surface of the laptop also the screen and make sure to not apply much pressure on the screen. Do it very lightly clean the surface of the screen and the laptop properly then turn the cloth around and clean the surface with the dry part.


15. Don't Let Your Laptop Be Too Hot

What destroys your Computer?

Working on a laptop in excessive temperatures is not only harmful to the processor but also harmful to the battery. A hot battery will deteriorate its health much faster than a cold battery. It's best to stay out of the heat when using your laptop but it's also equally important when it comes to storing your laptop.

If you work on the laptop at temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees and use it every day, the battery will lose only 4 percent of its total charge after 3 months. If you store your laptop at temperatures up to 50 degrees the battery will lose between 20 to 30 percent of the total charge.

Studies have shown that using the laptop at high temperatures leads to the battery draining faster and excessive use at high temperatures will inevitably lead to damage to the battery. So make sure to use your laptop in situations where the ambient temperature is not hot.




16. Not Charing The Laptop Before Battery Dies

What destroys your Computer?

Many users prefer to charge the batteries when they reach 0 and this is a very big mistake and it will lead to the loss of the battery and its destruction quickly. Studies have shown that charges up to 50 percent are better for long-term battery life compared to a large discharge of 0 percent.

The best thing is to start charging the battery when it reaches 20 percent because this extends the battery life because using a low charge puts pressure on the battery itself and ultimately reduces its ability to charge. Remember, never let your computer battery drop to zero percent.

Have you ever heard of the 80/40 rule? Experts advise charging nickel-based batteries between 40 and 80 percent and although this rule is said not to be geared towards newer lithium-ion batteries, it is still a great guide.

If the charge reaches 100, do not leave it connected to the current because leaving it connected will definitely affect the health of the battery. If you need to charge it overnight use programs that cut off the power when the charge reaches 100 percent.



17. Unplugged Unused Peripherals and Plug-In Too Many Gadgets

What destroys your Computer?

Experts and laptop manufacturers recommend unplugging any peripherals, for example, an external hard drive, or webcam while using battery power. As well as transferring data between your device and the laptop as connecting these devices draws power to the peripheral device itself even when not in use.

This is an obvious drain on your laptop's battery. If you're working offline you might want to turn off wi-fi. As the laptop battery tends to drain more rapidly while connected to the internet. Also if you haven't connected any Bluetooth devices to the laptop make sure you turn off Bluetooth as well.


18. You Don't Make Sure You Have Enough RAM

What destroys your Computer?

Dell laptop manufacturer made this suggestion to extend the battery life of the laptop. As if the computer can store the information in your RAM instead of the hard disk, it will do so this is a faster way to recover data. It also prevents the hard drive from working as much which leads to massive battery drainage. So make sure you have enough RAM to keep your laptop battery.

If you don't have enough RAM, close unnecessary background processes. Too many background processes are most likely to consume more battery. Running too many happy applications at the same time making the laptop consume more battery. Connecting your laptop to too many peripherals that are consuming its power and finally a faulty drive may also cause a battery to drain quickly.


19. Don't Increase Screen Brightness Too Much

What destroys your Computer?

I guess you won't need your screen to be super bright all the time. So lower the screen brightness. Because the lower screen brightness helps save laptop battery power and thus the battery life is better. The screen is a big drain on most devices. Also, change your display settings so that the screen turns off after a shorter period of inactivity. Switch off for keyboard backlights.

If your laptop has a backlit keyboard, it will consume more battery than a regular keypad. But it's worth noting that you don't need the backlights on the keyboard all the time. So as long as you're not sitting in a dark room, make sure you turn off the keyboard backlight. You can do this by pressing a dedicated button on your keyboard or by navigating to the control panel mouse and keyboard and turning it off there.



20. Being Impatient and Force the Computer

What destroys your Computer?

Computers can boot up in less than 30 to 90 seconds and sometimes 120 seconds. Once you turn on or restart your PC wait for the computer to be prepared to do tasks flawlessly. Your PC takes some time to fully turn on. So don't be impatient. Don't give your computer too much pressure. If you do that it won't handle the pressure, especially, as your PC gets old. So this causes the operating system to freeze and the data gets corrupted. If the computer still works slowly after a few minutes, look at the list of startup programs and sort them.

So if you're doing any one of these mistakes then you should definitely stop doing these mistakes so that you can keep your laptop held for a long time. How many of these mistakes you are doing now? Do you know of any other things that seem harmless but actually damage your PC spread the word in the comments below?

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