Although I'm a Mac person, I've almost always had a Windows PC in the house—partly to stay current on the competing OS, but mostly because I enjoy many PC games that never make it to the Mac. I tend to keep these machines much longer than I do my Macs, though—my 2008 PC lasted until the 2017 Frankenmac, and that one lasted until a few months ago, when I decided it was finally time to replace it (as it couldn't run Windows 11).
Long story short, I bought an assemblage of parts and built a new PC, which I love except for one niggling issue that was bugging me. The new machine has very quiet water cooling, a higher-end video card, super-fast SSD, and (most importantly for me) a nearly-silent case. But it's that case that was causing the niggling issue: The power button design was absolutely horrid, leading me to accidentally turn the machine on and off more than once.
For a case, I chose the Fractal Design Define 7 (Amazon link) with a solid metal side cover. I really love this case—the design is incredibly modular with nice cable routing solutions and support for water cooling. But the one thing that concerned me was the power button…
I was hoping it was a button that required a firm press to activate, but that turned out not to be true—while not touch sensitive, it doesn't take much pressure at all to trigger. And as I keep various accessories (joystick, gamepad, etc.) on top of my PC under the desk, I found myself accidentally turning the machine on or off way too often.
I wasn't sure what to do about this, until one day while at Home Depot for some other stuff, I spotted some large washers, as seen at right.
In particular, that's a 3/4" Zinc Flat Washer (ASC)—the link is for a bag of 25, but they sold them loose for $0.56 each. I hadn't done any measuring at all, but the size looked just about right to fit around the power switch without interfering with the other ports on top of the case. So I bought two and took them home—and found they fit perfectly!
So, after a bit of "redneck engineering" that involved Dremeling the washers, gluing them together, and then painting them…
…my PC now has a protected power switch that can no longer be accidentally bumped:
I've secured my contraption with double-sided tape, so it can be easily removed, but it works perfectly—I can still use the other ports, but the power button is now safe from accidental activation. It may not be pretty, but it works!