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Posted: August 8, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
It's been a long time since we discussed this topic here at Tweak3D. As you may or may not be aware, your monitor is one of the most important parts of your computer. Not only is it your interface into the computer, it is also among the longest lasting parts of your computer - while the actual internals of a computer go obsolete in a few years, a good monitor can last through at least two computers before it is necessary to start thinking about replacing it - and even if it is replaced, that doesn't make it useless. Dual head and other technologies are bringing old monitors back out of the closet and back onto the desktop.
In this guide you'll find information on how to maintain and properly tune your monitor, as well as information on how to improve a video card's output to that monitor - something that at many times is even more important than the actual monitor settings.
Cleaning a Monitor
Before you clean a monitor, unplug it!
The standard process for cleaning a monitor goes as follows - take some glass cleaner, spray it on a cloth (never directly spray anything on a monitor), and wipe down the monitor carefully. I, personally, have never had a problem with this method, but the instruction manuals of most monitors warn against using ammonia-based cleansers (like most glass cleaners) due to certain chemical coatings that are put on the monitor to prevent glare and static. If you would like to follow these instructions to the letter, be careful to either use a monitor cleaning product that you have probably paid far too much for or use an ammonia-free glass cleaner (yes, they are available).
Also, take a damp cloth and wipe off the air holes on the top and sides of the monitor to eliminate any dust that could be sitting there. If you are having trouble getting rid of it with the cloth, compressed air is another option - blowing out the monitor's casing should remove most of the random debris that has settled there over time. This will stop the monitor from getting quite as hot and increase its useable lifetime. Once you have taken care of the rear vents on the monitor, I would also recommend cleaning and tending to the cabling for the monitor. Make sure that there aren't any kinks in the cables and that they are dust free. While you are at it, take some compressed air and blow off the male VGA port on the end of the video cable and the female VGA port on the back of your video card. This will help improve signal quality and will lessen any connection degradation over time.