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Computer monitor

A monitor or display (sometimes called a visual display unit) is an electronic visual display for
computers. The monitor comprises the display device, circuitry, and an enclosure. The
display device in modern monitors is typically a thin film transistor liquid crystal display
(TFT-LCD) thin panel, while older monitors use a cathode ray tube about as deep as the screen
size.Originally computer monitors were used for data processing and television receivers for
entertainment; increasingly computers are being used both for data processing and
entertainment and TVs implement some typical computer functionality. Displays exclusively
for data use tend to have an aspect ratio of 4:3; those used also (or solely) for entertainment
are usually 16:9 widescreen, Sometimes a compromise is used, for example, 16:10

Thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) is a variant of liquid crystal display
(LCD) which uses thin-film transistor (TFT) technology to improve image quality (e.g.,
addressability, contrast). TFT LCD is one type of active matrix LCD, though all LCD-screens are
based on TFT active matrix addressing. TFT LCDs are used in television sets, computer monitors,
mobile phones, handheld video game systems, personal digital assistants, navigation systems,
projectors, etc.

Performance measurements
The performance of a monitor is measured by the following parameters:

Luminance is measured in candelas per square meter (cd/m2 also called a Nit).
Viewable image size is measured diagonally. For CRTs, the viewable size is typically 1 in
(25 mm) smaller than the tube itself.
Aspect ratios is the ratio of the horizontal length to the vertical length. 4:3 is the standard
aspect ratio, for example, so that a screen with a width of 1024 pixels will have a height of
768 pixels. If a widescreen display has an aspect ratio of 16:9, a display that is 1024 pixels
wide will have a height of 576 pixels.
Display resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed.
Maximum resolution is limited by dot pitch.
Dot pitch is the distance between subpixels of the same color in millimeters. In general, the
smaller the dot pitch, the sharper the picture will appear.
Refresh rate is the number of times in a second that a display is illuminated. Maximum
refresh rate is limited by response time.
Response time is the time a pixel in a monitor takes to go from active (black) to inactive
(white) and back to active (black) again, measured in milliseconds. Lower numbers mean
faster transitions and therefore fewer visible image artifacts.
Contrast ratio is the ratio of the luminosity of the brightest color (white) to that of the
darkest color (black) that the monitor is capable of producing.
Power consumption is measured in watts.

Viewing angle is the maximum angle at which images on the monitor can be viewed,
without excessive degradation to the image. It is measured in degrees horizontally and



High dynamic range (up to around 15,000:1),[2] excellent color, wide gamut and low black
level. The color range of CRTs is unmatched by any display type except OLED.
Can display natively in almost any resolution and refresh rate
No input lag
Sub-millisecond response times
Near zero color, saturation, contrast or brightness distortion. Excellent viewing angle.
Usually much cheaper than LCD or Plasma screens.
Allows the use of light guns/pens


Large size and weight, especially for bigger screens (a 20-inch unit weighs about 50 lb
(23 kg))
High power consumption
Generates a considerable amount of heat when running
Geometric distortion caused by variable beam travel distances
Can suffer screen burn-in
Produces noticeable flicker at low refresh rates
Normally only produced in 4:3 aspect ratio (though some widescreen ones, notably Sony's
FW900, do exist)
Hazardous to repair/service
Effective vertical resolution limited to 1024 scan lines.
Color displays cannot be made in sizes smaller than 7 inches (5 inches for monochrome).
Maximum size is around 24 inches (for computer monitors; televisions run up to
60 inches).


Very compact and light

Low power consumption
No geometric distortion
Little or no flicker depending on backlight technology
Not affected by screen burn-in

No high voltage or other hazards present during repair/service

More reliable than CRTs
Can be made in almost any size or shape
No theoretical resolution limit


Limited viewing angle, causing color, saturation, contrast and brightness to vary, even
within the intended viewing angle, by variations in posture.
Bleeding and uneven backlighting in some monitors, causing brightness distortion,
especially toward the edges.
Slow response times, which cause smearing and ghosting artifacts. However, this is mainly
a problem with passive-matrix displays. Current generation active-matrix LCDs have
response times of 6 ms for TFT panels and 8 ms for S-IPS.
Only one native resolution. Displaying resolutions either requires a video scaler, lowering
perceptual quality, or display at 1:1 pixel mapping, in which images will be physically too
large or won't fill the whole screen.
Fixed bit depth, many cheaper LCDs are only able to display 262,000 colors. 8-bit S-IPS
panels can display 16 million colors and have significantly better black level, but are
expensive and have slower response time
Input lag
Dead pixels may occur either during manufacturing or through use.
In a constant on situation, thermalization may occur, which is when only part of the screen
has overheated and therefore looks discolored compared to the rest of the screen.
Not all LCD displays are designed to allow easy replacement of the backlight
Cannot be used with light guns/pens

Main article: Plasma display

High contrast ratios (10,000:1 or greater,) excellent color, and low black level.
Virtually no response time
Near zero color, saturation, contrast or brightness distortion. Excellent viewing angle.
No geometric distortion.
Softer and less blocky-looking picture than LCDs
Highly scalable, with less weight gain per increase in size (from less than 30 in (760 mm)
wide to the world's largest at 150 in (3,800 mm)).


Large pixel pitch, meaning either low resolution or a large screen. As such, color plasma
displays are only produced in sizes over 32 inches.
Image flicker due to being phosphor-based

Heavy weight
Glass screen can induce glare and reflections
High operating temperature and power consumption
Only has one native resolution. Displaying other resolutions requires a video scaler, which
degrades image quality at lower resolutions.
Fixed bit depth. Plasma cells can only be on or off, resulting in a more limited color range
than LCDs or CRTs.
Can suffer image burn-in. This was a severe problem on early plasma displays, but much
less on newer ones
Cannot be used with light guns/pens
Dead pixels are possible during manufacturing

Phosphor burn-in
Phosphor burn-in is localized aging of the phosphor layer of a CRT screen where it has displayed a
static image for long periods of time. This results in a faint permanent image on the screen, even
when turned off. In severe cases, it can even be possible to read some of the text, though this only
occurs where the displayed text remained the same for years.
Burn-in is most commonly seen in the following applications:

Point-of-service applications
Arcade games
Security monitors

Screensavers were developed as a means to avoid burn-in, which was a widespread problem on
IBM Personal Computer monochrome monitors in the 1980s. Monochrome displays are generally
more vulnerable to burn-in because the phosphor is directly exposed to the electron beam while in
colour displays, the shadow mask provides some protection. Although still found on newer
computers, screen savers are not necessary on LCD monitors.
Phosphor burn-in can be "fixed" by running a CRT with the brightness at 100% for several hours,
but this merely hides the damage by burning all the phosphor evenly. CRT rebuilders can repair
monochrome displays by cutting the front of the picture tube off, scraping out the damaged
phosphor, replacing it, and resealing the tube. Colour displays can theoretically be repaired, but it
is a difficult, expensive process and is normally only done on professional broadcasting monitors
(which can cost up to $10,000).

Plasma burn-in
Burn-in re-emerged as an issue with early plasma displays, which are more vulnerable to this than
CRTs. Screen savers with moving images may be used with these to minimize localized burn.
Periodic change of the color scheme in use also helps.

Glare is a problem caused by the relationship between lighting and screen or by using monitors in
bright sunlight. Matte finish LCDs and flat screen CRTs are less prone to reflected glare than
conventional curved CRTs or glossy LCDs, and aperture grille CRTs, which are curved on one axis
only and are less prone to it than other CRTs curved on both axes.
If the problem persists despite moving the monitor or adjusting lighting, a filter using a mesh of
very fine black wires may be placed on the screen to reduce glare and improve contrast. These
filters were popular in the late 1980s[citation needed]. They do also reduce light output.
A filter above will only work against reflective glare; direct glare (such as sunlight) will
completely wash out most monitors' internal lighting, and can only be dealt with by use of a hood
or transreflective LCD.

Colour misregistration
With exceptions of correctly aligned video projectors and stacked LEDs, most display
technologies, especially LCD, have an inherent misregistration of the color channels, that is, the
centers of the red, green, and blue dots do not line up perfectly. Sub-pixel rendering depends on
this misalignment; technologies making use of this include the Apple II from 1976,[3] and more
recently Microsoft (ClearType, 1998) and XFree86 (X Rendering Extension).

Incomplete spectrum
RGB displays produce most of the visible colour spectrum, but not all. This can be a problem
where good colour matching to non-RGB images is needed. This issue is common to all monitor
technologies that use the RGB model. Recently, Sharp introduced a four-colour TV (red, green,
blue, and yellow) to improve on this.

Display interfaces
Computer terminals
Early CRT-based VDUs (Visual Display Units) such as the DEC VT05 without graphics
capabilities gained the label glass teletypes, because of the functional similarity to their
electromechanical predecessors.
Some historic computers had no screen display, using a teletype, modified electric typewriter, or
printer instead.

Composite signal
Early home computers such as the Apple II and the Commodore 64 used a composite signal output
to drive a TV or color composite monitor (a TV with no tuner). This resulted in degraded
resolution due to compromises in the broadcast TV standards used. This method is still used with

video game consoles. The Commodore monitor had S-Video input to improve resolution, but this
was not common on televisions until the advent of HDTV.

Digital displays
Early digital monitors are sometimes known as TTLs because the voltages on the red, green, and
blue inputs are compatible with TTL logic chips. Later digital monitors support LVDS, or TMDS

TTL monitors

IBM PC with green monochrome display.

Monitors used with the MDA, Hercules, CGA, and EGA graphics adapters used in early IBM PC's
(Personal Computer) and clones were controlled via TTL logic. Such monitors can usually be
identified by a male DE-9 (often incorrectly called DB-9) connector used on the video cable. The
disadvantage of TTL monitors was the limited number of colors available due to the low number
of digital bits used for video signaling.
Modern monochrome monitors use the same 15-pin SVGA connector as standard color monitors.
They are capable of displaying 32-bit grayscale at 1024x768 resolution, making them able to
interface with modern computers.
TTL Monochrome monitors only made use of five out of the nine pins. One pin was used as a
ground, and two pins were used for horizontal/vertical synchronization. The electron gun was
controlled by two separate digital signals, a video bit, and an intensity bit to control the brightness
of the drawn pixels. Only four shades were possible; black, dim, medium or bright.
CGA monitors used four digital signals to control the three electron guns used in color CRTs, in a
signaling method known as RGBI, or Red Green and Blue, plus Intensity. Each of the three RGB
colors can be switched on or off independently. The intensity bit increases the brightness of all
guns that are switched on, or if no colors are switched on the intensity bit will switch on all guns at
a very low brightness to produce a dark grey. A CGA monitor is only capable of rendering 16
colors. The CGA monitor was not exclusively used by PC based hardware. The Commodore 128
could also utilize CGA monitors. Many CGA monitors were capable of displaying composite video
via a separate jack.

EGA monitors used six digital signals to control the three electron guns in a signaling method
known as RrGgBb. Unlike CGA, each gun is allocated its own intensity bit. This allowed each of
the three primary colors to have four different states (off, soft, medium, and bright) resulting in 64
Although not supported in the original IBM specification, many vendors of clone graphics adapters
have implemented backwards monitor compatibility and auto detection. For example, EGA cards
produced by Paradise could operate as an MDA, or CGA adapter if a monochrome or CGA
monitor was used in place of an EGA monitor. Many CGA cards were also capable of operating as
MDA or Hercules card if a monochrome monitor was used.

Single color screens

Green and amber phosphors were used on most monochrome displays in the 1970s and 1980s.
White was uncommon because it was more expensive to manufacture, although Apple used it on
the Lisa and early Macintoshes.

Modern technology
Analog monitors
Most modern computer displays can show the various colors of the RGB color space by changing
red, green, and blue analog video signals in continuously variable intensities. These are almost
exclusively progressive scan. Although televisions used an interlaced picture, this was too flickery
for computer use. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, some VGA-compatible video cards in PCs
used interlacing to achieve higher resolution, but the event of SVGA quickly put an end to them.
While many early plasma and liquid crystal displays have exclusively analog connections, all
signals in such monitors pass through a completely digital section prior to display.
While many similar connectors (13W3, BNC, and so on.) were used on other platforms, the IBM
PC and compatible systems standardized on the VGA connector in 1987.
CRTs remained the standard for computer monitors through the 1990s. The first standalone LCD
displays appeared in the early 2000s and over the next few years, they gradually displaced CRTs
for most applications. First-generation LCD monitors were only produced in 4:3 aspect ratios, but
current models are generally 16:9. The older 4:3 monitors have been largely relegated to point-ofservice and some other applications where widescreen is not preferred.

Digital and analog combination

The first popular external digital monitor connectors, such as DVI-I and the various breakout
connectors based on it, included both analog signals compatible with VGA and digital signals
compatible with new flat-screen displays in the same connector. Low end older LCD monitors had
only VGA inputs with higher end monitors having DVI (once it became available) though LCD
monitors without a digital input are uncommon now.

Digital monitors
Monitors are being made which have only a digital video interface. Some digital display standards,
such as HDMI and DisplayPort, also specify integrated audio and data connections. Many of these
standards enforce DRM, a system intended to deter copying of entertainment content.

Configuration and usage

Multiple monitors
More than one monitor can be attached to the same device. Each display can operate in two basic

The simpler of the two is mirroring (sometimes cloning,) in which at least two displays
are showing the same image. It is commonly used for presentations. Hardware with only
one video output can be tricked into doing this with an external splitter device, commonly
built into many video projectors as a pass through connection.
The more sophisticated of the two, extension allows each monitor to display a different
image, so as to form a contiguous area of arbitrary shape. This requires software support
and extra hardware, and may be locked out on "low end" products by crippleware.
Primitive software is incapable of recognizing multiple displays, so spanning must be
used, in which case a very large virtual display is created, and then pieces are split into
multiple video outputs for separate monitors. Hardware with only one video output can be
made to do this with an expensive external splitter device, this is most often used for very
large composite displays made from many smaller monitors placed edge to edge.

Multiple video sources

Multiple devices can be connected to the same monitor using a video switch. In the case of
computers, this usually takes the form of a "Keyboard Video Mouse switch" (KVM) switch, which
is designed to switch all of the user interface devices for a workstation between different
computers at once.

Virtual displays

Screenshot of workspaces laid out by Compiz

Much software and video hardware supports the ability to create additional, virtual pieces of
desktop, commonly known as workspaces. Spaces is Apple's implementation of virtual displays.

Additional features
Power saving
Most modern monitors will switch to a power-saving mode if no video-input signal is received.
This allows modern operating systems to turn off a monitor after a specified period of inactivity.
This also extends the monitor's service life.
Some monitors will also switch themselves off after a time period on standby.
Most modern laptops provide a method of screen dimming after periods of inactivity or when the
battery is in use. This extends battery life and reduces wear.

Integrated accessories
Many monitors have other accessories (or connections for them) integrated. This places standard
ports within easy reach and eliminates the need for another separate hub, camera, microphone, or
set of speakers. These monitors have advanced microprocessors which contain codec information,
Windows Interface drivers and other small software which help in proper functioning of these

Glossy screen
Some displays, especially newer LCD monitors, replace the traditional anti-glare matte finish with
a glossy one. This increases saturation and sharpness but reflections from lights and windows are
very visible.

Directional screen
Narrow viewing angle screens are used in some security conscious applications.

Autopolyscopic screen
A directional screen which generates 3D images without headgear.

Touch screen
These monitors use touching of the screen as an input method. Items can be selected or moved
with a finger, and finger gestures may be used to convey commands. The screen will need frequent
cleaning due to image degradation from fingerprints.

Tablet screens
A combination of a monitor with a graphics tablet. Such devices are typically unresponsive to
touch without the use of one or more special tools' pressure. Newer models however are now able
to detect touch from any pressure and often have the ability to detect tilt and rotation as well.
Touch and tablet screens are used on LCD displays as a substitute for the light pen, which can only
work on CRTs.

Care and Maintenance

One of the most expensive components of a computer system or laptop is the LCD monitor or
screen. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens are easily susceptible to damage and scratches, so
it's a good idea to make sure that you dont touch the display surface and that you clean the screen
Not all types of cleaning solutions are acceptable for LCD screens. Using alcohol or ammonia based cleaners repeatedly may cause permanent damage to the LCD. Over time, using these types
of cleaners could cause the surface of the screen to yellow. It can also make the screen brittle and
eventually cause cracking on the screen surface.
The following cleaners should NOT be used:
Ethyl alcohol
Ethyl acid
Methyl chloride
The following types of cleaners are acceptable:
Vinegar (mixed with water)
Isopropyl Alcohol
Petroleum Benzene
Some basic supplies needed to clean an LCD screen include:
A soft cotton cloth. When cleaning the LCD screen it is important to use a soft cotton cloth,
rather than an old rag. Some materials, such as paper towels, could cause scratches and
damage the LCD screen.
Solution of water and isopropyl alcohol. This solution can be used along with the soft
cotton cloth.
Computer wipes. Only use these if they specifically state on the package they are designed
for LCD laptop screens. Computer wipes can come in handy for fast clean-ups or when you
want to avoid mixing up a cleaning solution yourself.
To clean the LCD surface properly:

Do not spray any liquids on the LCD screen directly, and do not use paper towels, this can
cause the LCD screen to become scratched.

Always apply the solution to your cloth first, not directly to the parts you are cleaning. You
want to avoid dripping the solution directly into your computer or laptop.
Stroke the cloth across the display in one direction, moving from the top of the display to
the bottom.

Occasionally clean your computer as follows:

Use a soft cloth moistened with non-alkaline detergent to wipe the exterior of the computer.
Avoid spraying cleaner directly on the display or the keyboard.
Gently wipe the display with a dry, soft cloth.
Laptop users: If you see a scratch like mark on your display, it might be a stain transferred
from the keyboard, or the TrackPoint (R) pointer, when the cover was pressed from the
outside. Wipe or dust the stain gently with a soft, dry cloth. If the stain remains, moisten a
soft, lint-free cloth with water that does not contain impurities, wring out as much of the
water as you can, and then gently wipe the display again. Be sure to dry the display before
closing the laptop.
Prior to the use of any chemical agents, be sure to read and understand the manufacturer label for
warnings, toxicity, handling, and directions for proper use.
Avoiding all LCD screen contact and proper cleaning of the LCD screen will be rewarded with
years of service, best picture quality, and insurance against costly damage.
Cleaning your computer and your computer components and peripherals helps keep the
components and computer in good working condition and helps keep the computers from
spreading germs. To the right is an example image of how dirty the inside of your computer case
can get. This example is a dirty computer case fan.
Depending on the environment that your computer operates in determines how often you should
clean your computer case. The below list is our recommendation and may change depending upon
your computer's environment.
How often should I clean my computer?
The frequency of how often you should clean your computer varies on several different factors. To
help you determine how often you need to clean your computer we've created the below chart.
Check each of the boxes below that apply to your computers environment to determine how often
it should be cleaned.
Where is computer located?
In a home environment
In a clean office environment

In construction / industry environment

In school environment
Computer environment
Have cat / dog in same building as computer
Smoke in same building as computer
Smoke next to computer
Computer is on floor
Room that the computer is in has carpet
Eat or drink by computer
Who uses it?
Adult (18 and older)
Young adults (ages 10-18) use computer
Pre-teen (younger than 10) use computer
More than one person uses computer

General cleaning Tips

Below is a listing of general tips that should be taken when cleaning any of the components or
peripherals of a computer as well as tips to help keep a computer clean.
1. Never spray or squirt any liquid onto any computer component. If a spray is needed, spray
the liquid onto a cloth and then use that cloth to rub down the component.
2. You can use a vacuum to suck up dirt, dust, or hair around the computer on the outside
case. However, do not use a vacuum for the inside of your computer as it generates a lot of
static electricity that can damage the internal components of your computer. If you need to
use a vacuum to clean the inside of your computer, use a portable battery powered vacuum
designed to do this job or try using compressed air.
3. When cleaning a component or the computer, turn it off before cleaning.
4. Be cautious when using any cleaning solvents; some individuals may have allergic
reactions to chemicals in cleaning solvents and some solvents can even damage the case.
Try to always use water or a highly diluted solvent.

5. When cleaning, be careful not to accidentally adjust any knobs or controls. In addition,
when cleaning the back of the computer, if anything is plugged in, make sure not to
disconnect any of the plugs.
6. When cleaning fans, especially the smaller fans within a portable computer or laptop it's
suggested that you either hold the fan or place something in-between the fan blades to
prevent it from spinning. Spraying compressed air into a fan or cleaning a fan with a
vacuum may cause damage or back voltage to be generated.
7. Never eat or drink around the computer.
8. Limit smoking around the computer.
Cleaning tools
Although many companies have created products to help improve the process of cleaning your
computer and peripherals, users can also use household items to clean their computers and
peripherals. Below is a listing of items you may need or want to use while cleaning your computer
or computer peripherals.
Keep in mind that some components in your computer may only be able to be cleaned using a
product designed for cleaning that component; if this is the case, it will be mentioned in the
cleaning tips.

Cloth - A cloth is the best tool used when rubbing down a component; although paper
towels can be used with most hardware, we recommend using a cloth when ever possible.
Caution: We only suggest you use a cloth when cleaning components such as the outside
of the case, a drive, mouse, etc. You should not use a cloth to clean any circuitry such as the
RAM or motherboard since they can generate ESD that can damage electronics.
Water or rubbing alcohol - When moistening a cloth, it is best to use water or rubbing
alcohol. Other solvents may be bad for the plastics used with your computer.
Portable Vacuum - Sucking the dust, dirt, hair, cigarette particles, and other particles out
of a computer can be one of the best methods of cleaning a computer. Over time, these
items can restrict the airflow in a computer and cause circuitry to corrode. Do not use a
standard vacuum as it can generate a lot of static electricity that can damage your computer.
Cotton swabs - Cotton swaps moistened with rubbing alcohol or water are excellent tools
for wiping hard to reach areas in your keyboard, mouse, and other locations.
Foam swabs - Whenever possible, it is better to use lint-free swabs such as foam swabs.

Case cleaning
Why? Keeps the appearance of the computer looking new. During cleaning, if ventilation locations
are found, these can be cleaned helping the case keep a steady airflow to the computer, keeping
components cool and in good working condition.
Procedure: The plastic case that houses the PC components can be cleaned with a lint-free cloth
that has been slightly dampened with water. For stubborn stains, add a little household detergent to
the cloth. It is recommended that you never use a solvent cleaner on plastics.

Make sure all vents and air holes are hair and lint free by rubbing a cloth over the holes and vents.
It is also helpful to take a vacuum around each of the hole, vents, and crevices on the computer. It
is safe to use a standard vacuum when cleaning the outside vents of a computer; however, if you
need to clean the inside of the computer, use a portable battery powered vacuum to prevent static
If you are looking for steps on cleaning the inside of the computer, see the motherboard cleaning
CD-ROM, DVD, and other disc drive cleaning
Why? A dirty CD-ROM drive or other disc drives can cause read errors when reading discs. These
read errors could cause software installation issues or issues while running the program.
Procedure: To clean the CD-ROM drive we recommend purchasing a CD-ROM cleaner from
your local retailer such as a local Radio Shack. Using a CD-ROM cleaner should sufficiently clean
the CD-ROM laser from dust, dirt, and hair.
In addition to cleaning the drive with a special disc designed to clean drives users can also use a
cloth dampened with water to clean the tray that ejects from the drive. Make sure however that
after the tray has been cleaned that it completely dry before putting the tray back into the drive.
See the CD cleaning recommendation for further steps on cleaning each of your CDs.
CD and DVD disc cleaning
Why? Dirty CDs can cause read errors or cause CDs to not work at all.
Procedure: Cleaning CDs and DVDs should be done with a cleaning kit but can also be done with
a normal clean cotton cloth or shirt. When doing this with a clean cotton cloth or shirt, wipe
against the tracks, starting from the middle of the CD or DVD and wiping towards the outer side as
shown in the below picture. Never wipe with the tracks; doing so may put more scratches on the

It is recommended when cleaning a CD that water is used. However, if the substance on a CD

cannot be removed using water, pure alcohol can also be used.

Hard disk drive cleaning

Why? While hard drives cannot be cleaned physically, they can be cleaned with various utilities on
the computer to help it run fast and more efficiently. Utilizing these utilities will prevent the hard
drive from slowing down.
Procedure: Refer to our basic troubleshooting section for your operating system for steps that can
be done to help improve the performance of your computer.
Headphones cleaning
Why? Headphones that are used by multiple people may need to be cleaned frequently to help
prevent the spreading of germs and head lice.
Procedure: If the headphones being used are plastic or vinyl, moisten a cloth with warm water and
rub the head and earpieces of the headphones. As mentioned earlier in our cleaning tips, it is
recommended that if your headphones are being used for a library or school that you do not use
any disinfectant or cleaning solvent as users may have allergic reactions to the chemicals they
Headphones that have cushions also have the availability of having the cushions replaced.
Replacing these cushions can also help keep the headphones clean.
Finally, in regards to headphones and the spreading of head lice, if multiple students are using your
headphones, you should consider having the students use their own headphones, using bags that
are placed over the headphones, or having headphones that can be wiped with warm water after
each student has used the headphones.
Keyboard cleaning
Dust, dirt, and bacteria
The computer keyboard is often the most germ infected items in your home or office, often it will
contain more bacteria than your toilet seat. Cleaning it can help remove any dangerous bacteria.
Dirt, dust and hair can also build up causing the keyboard to not function properly.
Procedure: Before cleaning the keyboard first turn off the computer or if you're using a USB
keyboard unplug it. Not unplugging the keyboard can result in causing other computer problems as
you may press keys that cause the computer to perform a task you don't want it to do.
Many people clean the keyboard by turning it upside down and shaking. A more effective method
is to use compressed air. Compressed air is pressurized air contained in a can with a very long
nozzle. aim the air between the keys and blow away all of the dust and debris that has gathered
there. A vacuum cleaner can also be used, but make sure the keyboard doesn't have loose "pop off"
keys that could possibly be sucked up by the vacuum.

If you wish to clean the keyboard more extensively you'll need to remove the keys from the
After the dust, dirt, and hair has been removed. Spray a disinfectant onto a cloth or use disinfectant
cloths and rub each of the keys on the keyboard. As mentioned in our general cleaning tips, never
spray any liquid onto the keyboard.
Substance spilt into the keyboard
If the keyboard has anything spilt into it (e.g. pop, cola, Pepsi, Coke, beer, wine, coffee, milk, etc.),
not taking the proper steps can cause the keyboard to be destroyed.
Procedure: Below are a few recommendations to help prevent a keyboard from becoming bad
once a substance has been spilt within it.
If anything is spilt onto the keyboard turn the computer off immediately or at the very least
disconnect it from the computer. Once done quickly flip the keyboard over helping to prevent the
substance from penetrating circuits. While the keyboard is upside down, shake the keyboard over a
surface that can be cleaned later. While still upside down, use a cloth to help clean out what can be
reached. After cleaned to the best of your ability leave the keyboard upside down for at least one
night allowing it to dry. Once dry, continue cleaning the keyboard with any remaining substance.
If after cleaning the keyboard you have keys that stick remove the keys and clean below the keys
and the bottom portion of the key.
Finally, if the keyboard still works but remains dirty or sticky before discarding the keyboard as a
last resort try washing the keyboard in the dishwasher.
If after doing all the above steps the keyboard does not function properly or at all it's
recommended you buy a new keyboard.
LCD cleaning
Why? Dirt, dust, and finger prints can cause the computer screen to be difficult to read.
Procedure: Unlike a computer monitor, the LCD / flat-panel display is not made of glass,
therefore requires special cleaning procedures.
When cleaning the LCD screen it is important to remember to not spray any liquids onto the LCD
directly, press gently while cleaning, and do not use a paper towel as it may cause the LCD to
become scratched.
To clean the LCD screen we recommend that you use a non-rugged microfiber cloth, soft cotton
cloth, or Swiffer duster. If a dry cloth does not completely clean the screen, you can apply rubbing
alcohol to the cloth and wipe the screen with the damp cloth. Rubbing alcohol is used to clean the
LCD before it leaves the factory.

Monitor cleaning
Why? Dirt, dust, and fingerprints can cause the computer screen to be difficult to read.
Procedure: The glass monitor screen can be cleaned with ordinary household glass cleaner*. Be
sure to remove power from the monitor and spray the cleaner onto a lint free-cloth so the fluid
doesn't leak into the electrical components inside the monitor. Vacuum off any dust that has settled
on top of the monitor, and make sure no books or papers have been placed on the air vents.
Obstructed monitor vents can cause the monitor to overheat or even catch on fire.
We suggest using a cloth dampened with water when cleaning monitor on a screen that is not
made of glass or has any anti-glare protection on the screen. Using ordinary household glass
cleaner on special screens, especially cleaners with ammonia can remove anti-glare protection or
other special surfaces.
Other good cleaning solutions

Microfiber Towels
Swiffer Dusters

Motherboard cleaning
Why? Dust and especially particles of cigarette smoke can build up and corrode circuitry causing
various problems such as computer lockups
When inside the computer take the necessary ESD precautions and try to avoid unplugging any
cables or other connections.
Procedure: Our recommendation when cleaning the motherboard from dust, dirt, or hair is to use
compressed air. When using compressed air, hold it in the up-right position; otherwise, it is
possible chemicals may come out of the container that could damage or corrode the Motherboard
or other component within the computer. Also, ensure when using compressed air that you always
blow the dust or dirt away from the motherboard, or out of the case.
Another good alternative to compressed air is to use a portable battery powered vacuum that can
effectively remove the dust, dirt, and hair from the motherboard completely and prevent it from
getting trapped within the case. However, do not use a standard electricity powered vacuum as it
can cause a lot of static electricity that can damage the computer. When using the vacuum it is vital
that you stay a couple inches away from the motherboard and all other components to help prevent
contact as well as to help prevent anything from being sucked into the vacuum. Ensure that you do
not remove any small components with the vacuum such as jumpers.
When cleaning the inside of the case also look at any fans or heat sinks. Dust, dirt, and hair
collects around these components the most.
Mouse cleaning

Why? A dirty optical-mechanical mouse (mouse with a ball) can cause the mouse to be difficult to
move as well as cause strange mouse movement.
Procedure: To clean the rollers of an optical-mechanical mouse, you must first remove the bottom
cover of the mouse. To do this, examine the bottom of the mouse to see what direction the mouse
cover should be rotated. As you can see in the below illustration, the mouse cover must be moved
counter clockwise. Place two fingers on the mouse cover and push the direction of the arrows.

Once the cover has rotated about an inch, rotate the mouse into its normal position, covering the
bottom of the mouse with one hand and the bottom should fall off including the mouse ball. If this
does not occur, attempt to shake the mouse gently.
Once the bottom cover and the ball are removed, you should be able to see three rollers located
within the mouse. Use a cotton swab, finger, or fingernail to remove any substance. Usually, there
will be a small line of hair and dirt in the middle of the roller, remove as much as this substance as
Once you have removed as much dirt and hair as possible, place the ball back within the mouse
and place the cover back on.
If the mouse still appears to be having the same issue, repeat the above process; if after several
attempts the mouse is still having the same issues, it's likely that your mouse has other hardware
issues and we recommend that it be replaced.
Note: Cleaning your mouse pad with a damp cloth can also help improve a computer's mouse
Why? To help keep a mouse clean and germ free it can be helpful to clean the mouse.
Procedure: Use a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol or warm water and rub the surface of the
mouse and each of its buttons.
Printer cleaning
Why? Cleaning the outside of a printer can help keep the printer's appearance looking good; and in
the case of a printer that is used by many different people, keep the printer clean of germs.
Procedure: First, make sure to turn off the printer before cleaning it. Dampen a cloth with water or
rubbing alcohol and wipe the case and each of the buttons or knobs on the printer. As mentioned
earlier, never spray any liquid directly onto the printer.

Why? With some printers it may be necessary to clean the inside of the printer to help keep the
printer running smoothly.
Procedure: Because of how many different printers there are, steps in cleaning printers, and
printer manufacturer policies on cleaning the inside of the printer, we recommend you obtain the
printer cleaning steps from your printer manufacturer.
Scanner cleaning
Why? Flatbed scanners commonly become dirty with dust, fingerprints, and hair. When a scanner
is dirty, the images may have distortions.
Procedure: Clean a flatbed scanner's surface by spraying a window cleaner onto a paper towel or
cotton cloth and wipe the glass until clean. As mentioned earlier, never spray a liquid directly onto
the component.
To clean the outside of the scanner, the same towel or cotton cloth can be used.
Floppy drive cleaning
Why? Dirty read/write heads on the floppy drive can cause errors during the reading or writing
Procedures: The floppy drive can be cleaned two different ways. The first method of cleaning a
floppy drive, and our recommended method, is to purchase a kit at your local retail store designed
to clean the read/write heads on your floppy drive.
The second method of cleaning the floppy drive is only recommended for experienced computer
users. Open the floppy drive casing and physically swab the read/write heads with a lint-free foam
swab soaked in pure alcohol, free-on, or trichloroethane. When performing these steps, be
extremely careful when cleaning the heads to ensure that you do not lock them out of alignment
causing the floppy drive to not work. To help prevent the heads from becoming out of alignment,
use a dabbing motion lightly putting the swab on the head and removing it, do not perform a sideto-side motion with the swab.
Palm pilot cleaning
Why? Dirty touch screens can cause difficult navigation.
Procedure: To clean the Palm Pilot Screen, use a soft cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol and
rub the screen and the casing of the palm pilot. It is not recommended to use glass cleaner as it
could damage plastics over time.
SuperDisk / LS120 cleaning

Why? It is recommended that the SuperDisk / LS120 drive be cleaned regularly to prevent drive
heads from becoming dirty.
Procedure: Purchase the SuperDisk cleaning kit available through Imation. Using any other
method will void the warranty on your drive.