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What Kind of Computer Dustcover should You Buy?
If you’re looking around at desktop computer covers with a view to getting one, you will have noticed that there’s no shortage of them around. Just do a search on Google products and you’ll come up with something like seven pages of results, with similar findings if you try Amazon.com. But what exactly are your requirements, and what should you be looking for?
A quick search via Google Scholar for the terms ‘desktop dustcover patent’ has brought up around ninety-two results for me, and variations on those search terms can elicit many more. On closer inspection these throw up both fine and fundamental variations on a basic dust-cover – ones to leave on while in use, to remove while in use, soft covers, hard covers, fans included, decorated, translucent, transparent etc.1,2
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What Can Happen if You don't Have a Computer Dust-Cover?
Why would you need a dust-cover? As a preventive measure you might say everyone needs a computer dust cover. It's amazing the level of dust and grime attacking a desktop PC on a daily basis, and use of a filter brings home just what it is that a cover may be protecting your machine from.2, 3 More dramatic crises can also strike your computer: if your coffee cup is resting by your mouse as you read this, then it’s just an accident waiting to happen.4
Insects may also be a problem for an unprotected machine. Exploded insects have been found inside computer casings, leading to interesting problems for a computer owner, and that's not the worst by a long way.2, 5. Still think you can do without a dust cover for your desktop computer?
In some environments the requirement for a cover is still more pronounced. In a workshop or kitchen environment it would be foolhardy not to protect your machine as far as possible6,3 and some covers are specifically designed for a harsh environment.10
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Costs and Problems Associated with Desktop Computer Dust Covers
In terms of cost there can be considerable variation between different models. A simple cover will provide change from ten U.S. dollars (and might be had for still less if you shop around), but a more advanced model could make more of a dent in your wallet.
Are there any problems with acquiring a desktop computer dust cover? Covers which are not designed to be left on while in use require effortful removal and re-application, while those left on may be annoying due to the lack of hand-to-keyboard contact.1 If this is sufficient to act as a disincentive to use then possession of a cover isn't likely to do much good without usage.
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Cleaning Your Computer and the Benefits of a Dust Cover
When you come to clean your computer you may well appreciate the virtues of having a desktop computer dust cover. Have you thought about the kind of grime and filth that may be encountered during a routine clean-up inside your computer casing or on your keyboard?8, 9 And if you encounter a horde of insects – or, as in one case, a 'small desiccated bird'2 – the next time you take to your machine with a microfibre cloth and a can of compressed air, then maybe it’s time to consider investing in a desktop computer dust cover.
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1 Stanley, D.B. “Decorative computer keyboard cover“ http://patft.uspto.gov 03/09/1996 16/08/2009 <http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN%2F5551497>
2 Charters, L.I. “Mac Security: Physical, Mental, and SpiritualPart I: Physical Security” http://www.wap.org 2005 (16/08/2009) <http://www.wap.org/journal/security/>
3 Keranen, E. “Stop Computer-killing Dust in its Tracks” http://www.articlesbase.com/technology-articles 14/03/2006 (16/08/2009) <http://www.articlesbase.com/technology-articles/stop-computerkilling-dust-in-its-tracks-18582.html>
4 Detwiler, B. “Careless user spills milk/fruit punch on computer twice” http://content.techrepublic.com.com 09/19/2007 (16/08/2009) <http://content.techrepublic.com.com/2346-10877_11-165424.html>
5 Detwiler, B. “You never know what's lurking inside that case” http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com 16/05/2008 (16/08/2009) <http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=119>
6 Husted, B. “Two home computers can be better than one “ http://www.lufkindailynews.com 24/08/2008 (16/08/2009) <http://www.lufkindailynews.com/money/content/shared/money/stories/technobuddy/column/08/0824.html>
7 Zhou, D.; Tze Yang Hin; Keat Ghee Tan; Boon Howe Oh “Design and development of thermal-mechanical solutions for a community personal computer” High Density Microsystem Design and Packaging and Component Failure Analysis. HDPapos;06. 27-28 June 2006 55 – 62
8 Sattler, G.E. “Clean your computer to run cooler, quieter, faster and happier!” http://www.diylife.com 19/07/2007 (16/08/2009) <http://www.diylife.com/2007/07/19/clean-your-computer-to-run-cooler-quieter-faster-and-happier/>
9 Maureen Schultz, MSN, CIC, Janet Gill, BSN, CIC, Sabiha Zubairi, MT, Ruth Huber, MS, CIC, Fred Gordin, MD. “Bacterial Contamination of Computer Keyboards in a Teaching Hospital.” Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2003;24:302–303
10 Cooper, D.C. “Protective dust cover for computer components” http://patft.uspto.gov 18/09/1991 (16/08/2009) <http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN%2F5163870>