Scanner and printer computer maintenance can be among the most annoying of all computer maintenance tasks. Not only do you often need to get your hands dirty, but each different device requires different computer maintenance. The first step is to make sure your scanner printer is installed correctly. After that, it is now time to see a few simple things you can do to make your life easier.
The Absolute First Computer Maintenance You Should Do
Right now, before you do anything else—even before you continue reading this article—stop and make a reference printout and reference scan.
I’ll tell you how to make these reference documents in a moment—first let me tell you why you need to make them.
A year or two from now, you may start to think that your device isn’t working as well as it used to. Your scans aren’t as crisp; your printouts don’t have the right colors. When that happens you’re going to need a reference document for comparison to see if quality really has gone down or if you’re just imagining things.
To create a reference printout, use the sample sheet your printer probably prints automatically when you press a particular button. (Consult your manual if you don’t know what button to press.) Or, and I prefer this option, print out a nice photo of a family member such as the baby in the family. Save this printout in a climate-controlled location such as your file cabinet.
To create a reference scan, scan a colorful document or photo. You can even scan your reference printout. Save the resulting file somewhere on your computer where you can find it again. Also save the document you scanned so that you can re-scan it later.
Computer Maintenance With Reference Documents
If you reprint or rescan your reference document and identify problems, then it’s time to perform actual computer maintenance on your printer or scanner.
Scanner maintenance is usually the more difficult—cheap scanners have few or no user-serviceable parts except the glass document bed which you can usually clean with ordinary glass cleaner. (If the surface is plastic, check your manual to make sure glass cleaner is ok—otherwise you could ruin the plastic.)
For this reason, I highly recommend buying a scanner that isn’t part of your printer. Multi-function devices are convenient and they save space, but when one device fails you either have to replace both devices or use even more space for the partial replacement. Of course most come together now so you might not have much choice.
Computer Maintenance For Printers
Many printers, even some of the ultra-cheap ones, can be maintained at home. The basic maintenance is simply replacing the ink or toner—I assume you know how to do this; if not, consult your user manual.
There are other parts in your printer which can be replaced. Every printer is different, so I don’t know what parts are in your printer, but your print manual probably lists them. The manual probably also tells you how often they should be replaced.
For best performance, you should replace printer parts when your manual says to replace them—but I’ll tell you a little secret: printer manufactures want you to buy replacement parts. It means more money for them. So if you think you can delay buying a new part, I suggest you do so. Instead of buying the unnecessary part, buy yourself a treat instead.
This is another reason I highly recommend using quality reference printouts—you can use a printout comparison to see if your printer is still performing well. If it is, then there’s probably no reason to waste computer maintenance time and money replacing still-useful parts.
Performing regular computer maintenance is something that everyday computer users often neglect. I have had thousands of customers that do not perform any computer maintenance and sometimes wait until they see a black screen with a blinking cursor , before they finally realize that looking after your computer is IMPORTANT! This goes for your external hardware and peripherals connected to your computer. My name is Mitz Pantic and I’ve been working with computers for over 25 years and love to teach people how to use their computers. Be sure to visit me at my computer tips website and say hello in the comments section. Also do not forget to sign-up for my free computer tips newsletter and receive a free 59 page Computer Terms Dictionary!
If you have any tips for computer or printer maintenance please share them with us by leaving your comment below.