Daily Archives: July 18, 2012

You may or may not know it but your PC is a dust magnet. Desktop machines have it worse but laptops are far from immune to this problem. Consider that your PC naturally creates an electric field. You have cooling fans for the power supply, CPU and the video card (if applicable) which serve to push out hot air and bring in cooler air from outside the machine. Finally, your desktop is usually a tower or mini-tower which is quite often on the floor beside or under your desk. No matter how well you keep your house clean, there’s still going to be dust down there; fodder for a hot and hungry PC.

Laptops are not nearly as bad since they usually sit on top of your desk rather than the floor but the same principle applies. Unless you live in a totally clean house, there’s going to be dust in the air.

Tech Republic has a slide show illustrating what can happen when a PC is left uncleaned. So, what do you do about it?

  1. Call a PC professional like Dr. Data and let him – or her – sort this out for you.
  2. Take care of the problem yourself.

If your choice is # 2, the first thing you’ll need to do is to pop in to an electronics store or a hardware store like Lowes and pick up one or two units of canned air. (If your machine is anything like those in the slide-show, you  might want to consider picking up a case!). Next, take your machine outside or into the garage and remove the cover/side panel. If you’re using the garage and your machine is as dusty as the ones in the slide show, you might want to consider cracking the garage door and using a box fan to pull the dust away from you and the PC.

Once you’re all set, take your canned air and blow the dust out of the machine and away from you. Use a liberal amount of air to clean the PC as a couple of cans cost much less than a new power supply. Depending on how many expansion cards you have, you may want to remove them and blow the dust off separately.  Here’s a tip: Be sure to use a glove  on the hand you’re using to blow the dust out as that can is going to get awfully cold awfully fast. Once you’re sure that you’ve reached every possible nook & cranny with the canned air, re-seat the expansion cards – if any – and replace the cover/side panel.

Because of the way they’re build and where they are used, laptops usually don’t have problems as extreme as the towers in the slide show. Nonetheless, dust can still accumulate around the cooling fan and vents. Take the canned air and lightly blow around the fan & vents to remove the dust. Extreme cases may require removing the cover to your laptop. Only do this if you absolutely know what you’re doing. Otherwise, call Dr. Data or somebody like him.

One final tip: Use the canned air to remove cookie crumbs and other gunk from your keyboard.

 

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