Heat - a way around this dilemma is to increase the cooling in the interior of your computer...
Heat is your computers worst enemy, viruses are your data's worst enemy.
In my 25+ years as a computer Tech I have never came across a virus that could damage hardware. I have read 'rumors' of such a beast but have never seen a computer that was damaged by one.
Why is it that a virus can't damage hardware? Because your Operating System will keep the virus from doing damage just as it keeps you from doing so by limiting your access to the hardware. (DOS is different, there is a virus that will format a hard drive...).
However I have seen, and yes with my experimenting have, damaged computer components especially a processor and memory modules.
How was that done?
Note: "Overclocking" the processor and / or the memory will create
more heat, more heat means the sooner a component will be destroyed!
Keeping your computer clean of dirt, dust, and viruses will lengthen the service life of your computer and protect your data.
And it is all about the data because the only thing a computer really does is manipulate data be it a document of some type, or accessing the internet, or playing a game it is all data.
What causes the failure due to heat? Dust and dirt creates an insulating
blanket on parts that keeps the heat generated by the parts from being absorbed
by the air surrounding the parts in the computer case.
By keeping the dust layer to a minimum more heat can be absorbed and moved
away from the delicate electronic parts of the computer.
Your highest priority is to protect your data that means having anti virus/trojan/spyware/malware programs (I don't recommend one of those all in one 'Security Suites" that are popular at this time) installed, kept up to date, and with a scheduled scan for each type of program.
And if you think two of those security suites will mean better protection you are mistaken. As a matter of fact they will do more harm than good, your computer will be so slow it would take forever to do anything. If you have two of them installed pick one and uninstall the other one! If you really want the computer to be faster uninstall them both and go with the single programs as suggested above.
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Note: Those all in one security suites use enormous amounts of memory, processor time, and being a 'Jack of All Trades' type of program they do not do a very good job of keeping viruses from infecting your computer nor cleaning out infections. I recommend a separate program for each type of virus,
they will be smaller, thus use less memory, do it's job faster, do a better job, and cost a lot less. (I use five programs and the total cost is less than half of one of the suites).
Then you need to clean dirt out of the computer, that is give it a good dusting!
I recommend cleaning the dust and dirt out of the computer twice a year. In the spring and at the end of summer, every six months.
How would I do it?
Desktops: Power down the computer (laptops take a different approach), disconnect all the cables, move it to an open area.
Observe ESD! Your task is to clean it not destroy it!
Remove the side/top panels to allow easy access to the interior of the computer.
If you have a vacuum cleaner it will make cleaning a lot easier, you can do a pretty good job with just compressed air in a can but a vacuum will do a better job of getting all the dust.
You will need a stiff bristle brush (a 1" paint brush works best) to get in to those nooks and crannies where the canned air or vacuum can't reach or dislodge the dirt.
Then go to work!
Note: A vacuum has a high volume of air that will suck up anything not firmly attached, be careful on how close you get the nozzle of the vacuum to the component parts on the motherboard or add on cards. I pulled a fan off of a very expensive video card with a vacuum once, cheap fasteners holding the fan to the card ...
Canned air works best for cleaning the power supply, using the extension pipe for the nozzle blow air from the interior computer side so that the dust comes out through the fan opening in the back of the power supply (I put the vacuum nozzle close to the fan opening with it on to suck up the dust that will be expelled out through the fan opening).
Use care when cleaning fans, if you allow the fan to spin up too fast with the canned air pressure you may damage the ball bearings in the fan by over heating them at a high speed. I know it sounds cool but the sound of 'kachingggg' as you spend your money for a new fan isn't. (I put a small screw driver between the blades to keep it from spinning, then the canned air will clean the blades
To clean the keyboard use the paint brush and canned air, the paint brush to loosen the dirt/dust, the canned air to blow it out of the nooks and crannies. If you use a vacuum to suck the dust and dirt keep the nozzle away from the keys or it will suck them up, 2 or 3 inches is close enough to get the dust and dirt you will be loosing up.
Once you have it all dusted and cleaned check the add on cards and all the cables to insure a solid connection then put the covers back on, place it back in its normal place, connect up the cables and power it up.
If fails to power up recheck all the add on cards and power/interface cables one is loose or misaligned.
After you have cleaned the computer a couple of times it will not take as long to do the task once every six months or so...
Now where did I put that screw driver....