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Monitors are different from most other PC system components because they are outside the main system box. They are in many ways more similar to your television set than they are to your PC, because in both cases the key component, the CRT, is the same. The CRT makes up most of the cost of the monitor, and as it goes, so goes the monitor itself.
The monitor is certainly not the same as a TV in terms of operation, but it is similar enough that the care of the two devices is basically the same. I recommend the following be done on a regular basis to keep the monitor serving you well:
Warning: Be very careful about
what you use to clean the screen of your CRT. Using the wrong cleaner can damage the
special and delicate coatings used on many newer screens to reduce glare and improve image
quality. In particular, never use any sort of abrasive cleaner on the screen. A
slightly damp, soft cloth is safest.
There really isn't too much to do for the monitor, much as you don't do very much preventive maintenance on your television. Note that the use of a screen saver is conspicuously absent from the list; these really are not necessary with modern PCs. There is one more matter to be considered: the age-old question of when to turn off the monitor, as opposed to leaving it on. There are several tradeoffs and considerations in making the decision of when to turn off equipment as opposed to leaving it running.
Due to the factors of convenience and reduction of thermal stress, I often leave my PC running 24 hours a day; however I never do this with my monitor. The reason is simple: the PC and the monitor are very different pieces of equipment. In terms of the various factors used in making the "on vs. off" decision:
There is one further issue: safety. When PCs fail, they generally lock up or shut down, and that is bad, but there is no safety concern. The reason is that there are generally low DC voltages inside the PC box. Monitors have high voltages and can, in rare circumstances, fail catastrophically. It's unusual, but a CRT can end up in flames, and you don't want this to happen when nobody is in the building (or worse--when you and your family are at home asleep).
For all these reasons (lifespan, power consumption, safety), I recommend strongly that monitors not be left on for extended periods of time, and certainly not overnight. There really isn't much of a convenience issue, so the only reason to leave it on is concern over thermal stress, but this is traded off against the wearout issue. In fact, the real reason monitors are usually left on is just laziness. While I only turn off my PC if I expect it to be unused for more than 24 hours, I turn off the monitor if I expect it to be unused for more than about one or two hours.
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