How To Maintain Your Retro Computer: 5 Tips for Longevity

Whether you consider yourself a computer collector or are simply nostalgic for the “good old days,” having a retro computer can be quite the experience. Older computers can take you back in time—and they can also hold a fair amount of value. At the same time, retro computers tend to have a lot of delicate parts that could fail at any time. The good news? By following a few practical tips, you can keep your retro computer running like new.

1. Avoid Too Much Natural Light

Many older computers have towers, keyboards, monitors, and other major components that are made of plastic. And while it’s true that plastic is quite durable, it can also break down over time. This breakdown can be accelerated by prolonged exposure to harsh UV light. 

To avoid discoloration and deterioration of plastics, try to keep your retro computer out of direct sunlight. This means storing it away from a large window (or using shades/curtains to protect your computer from light) whenever possible.

2. Take Control of Dust

Dust is another common problem for electronics, and this is especially true for older computers. Even a small amount of dust buildup could cause a piece of hardware to break down completely or cause a bad connection on the motherboard. Being diligent about dusting in rooms where retro computers are kept can make all the difference, as can using a high-efficiency air filter in your home.

3. Protect Against Power Surges

Unfortunately, an unexpected power surge can cause serious damage to a retro computer that’s been left plugged in. Even if your computer isn’t on at the time of a power surge, its hardware and other components could be damaged. The good news? Avoiding this is as simple as either unplugging your retro computer when it’s not in use or plugging it into a surge protector.

4. Be Mindful of Humidity

Moisture is among the worst enemies of electronics, regardless of age. You should be especially careful when it comes to moisture and retro devices, however. Take humidity readings regularly and make sure that relative indoor humidity doesn’t surpass 50%-60%. If you live in a climate that sees higher humidity, you may want to consider running a dehumidifier in your home (or, at the very least, in the room where your retro computer is kept).

5. Stock Up on Backup Parts

Inevitably, the parts on a retro computer will fail over time. Because these parts can be difficult to come by, it’s always a good idea to keep a stock of common replacement parts on hand. This includes a motherboard, graphics card, hard drive, and similar hardware components. This way, you won’t have to scour for a replacement and wait for shipping when the time comes.

Keep Your Computer Running Like New

Taking care of a retro computer does take a little more time and effort than caring for a modern device, but by following these tips, you can keep your older computer running well for years to come!