Knowledgebase: Misc. Tech Tips
Keeping Your Computer Clean
Posted by Clarke M on 03 April 2006 08:33 PM
When most people think of computers, all they tend to think about is the stuff we see on the screen, or the software. Most tend to forget about the computer itself.

Have you ever thought to yourself, what can I do with my computer to make it last longer? Just like the title states, Keep it Clean.

The amount of computers I've opened that were clogged with dust would make you cough just thinking about it. I haven't actually seen it happen, but have heard of computers failing or having immediate problems due to excessive dust buildup inside the CPU. On top of that, dust can cause the computer to run hotter than normal, as a result, shortening its life.

So now you're wondering, what can you do?

Well if you're up to the challenge, you can open your computer's case about once every six or so months, making sure to unplug it first) and clean it out with a can of compressed air. You can pick that up at any office supply store for a few dollars. Be careful not to disconnect or damage anything! Also, make sure you also blow out the Power supply fan on the back of the computer, as well as the fan on the processor. Don't open it! Simply just blow it out from outside the unit. Since this can be a messy process, you may want to take it outside.

If you are brave, you can open your computer's case (unplug it first) about once every 6 months or so and blow it out with that canned air stuff (you can get it at any office supply store). Of course, be careful not to disconnect or damage anything. Make sure you blow out the power supply (DO NOT open up the power supply unit) and the CPU fan too. Since all this dusting can make a mess, you may want to do it outside.

Here's a picture of the inside of a computer case. I've place arrows to show fans you should blow off with the can of compressed air.



Another option besides compressed air would be a mini-vacuum, or a "dust-buster." In fact, some people say vacuums are better because compressed air can force the dust deeper into the nooks and cracks of your computer.

That being said, I still like compressed air for a few reasons.

1. I've yet to come across a little vacuum that did a good job. They all seem to leave a little dirt behind. What good is a cleaning if you can't get all the dirt?

2. There are a lot of places that even small attachments just can't get to. Like I just said, what’s the point if you can't finish the job?

3. I've been cleaning my own computer, as well as others in my home, and have yet to have a problem with compressed air (other than the dust exiting my computer, and on to my shirt). Compressed air just eliminates the most dust. So I'll stick with the little cans, but a vacuum WILL suffice.

On a final note, keep this in mind while you're cleaning. No matter how tempting it is, washing your computer with the help of a garden hose is always a bad idea.

Until next time!
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