How to Clean the Inside of a Computer

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How to Clean the Inside of a Computer

Post  THE GIVEAWAY BLOG!! on Wed May 29, 2013 11:40 am

Is your computer making noises or humming? Is dust collecting visibly on the external fan surface? Have you gone more than two months without cleaning the inside properly? Dust inside your computer can lead to component failure, fan failure, and slow performance. Keep your machine running smoothly and safely by taking the time to dust the interior. Don't wait until a fan dies and your machine overheats!
EditSteps

1Retrieve necessary tools. You will need to have a can of compressed air or a small air compressor, plus a screwdriver if you must remove screws to open your machine. A small vacuum might come in handy for cleaning up the mess you make around the computer, but should never be used inside it. Wearing a dust mask is optional, but can save you a bit of sneezing if your machine is over due for cleaning.

2Shut down your machine. Turn off your computer and any surge protectors or alternate power sources it may be connected to. Most computers also have a "master power switch" on the back. Although the majority of users simply leave this switch on, flip it to the off position for extra safety.


3Disconnect all peripherals. After your machine is shut down, unplug all cables connecting it to external components and power sources. Do not leave any cables connected to your computer while cleaning it, especially the power cord and the monitor cable.


4Move to a suitable work area. If you have not cleaned your computer in a while (or ever), it would be a good idea to move to a suitable workspace. While you can clean your computer where it sits, this usually isn't ideal. Despite what you might assume, the job can be very messy and you'll want to work somewhere where you can adequately ventilate dust.


5Open your machine. Once you have a suitable workplace, open your computer. This will vary greatly depending on your machine. If you have a user's manual, consulting it would be a good idea. Most machines have screws holding a side panel down. After removing these, you can then slip the side off your machine.


6Prepare to clean. After opening the computer, get your can of compressed air, or ready your air compressor. Additionally, you might want to wear a dust mask. Never touch the inside of your computer unless it is absolutely necessary. You may discharge a static shock to vital internal components and damage them. If you must touch the inside of your machine, discharge any static by tapping your finger to the computers metal case before unplugging it.


7Begin dusting. Use your compressed air to blow out the inside of the your machine. It is usually a good idea to start on the upper region of the computer, then work your way down. In this manner you can sweep out all the dust that settles on lower components in one run. Do not worry if you cause the blades of internal fans to spin. This is expected and it is important to keep these components clean. Be thorough, but do not press on cords or components. Also keep your air source a moderate distance from the component you're working on.
NOTE: Always hold your can of compressed air upright. If inverted, it can be let out as a liquid which can cause severe damage to your computer.


Compressed air is freezing cold when it leaves the can; don't let frost form on your chips.


A lot of dust can be raised; try not to breathe it. If the PC is very dusty, take it out of doors before using the compressed air.


8Make sure the Heat Sink fan is clean. The heat sink sits over the Processor, and it is a collection of metal ridges that stick up away from the Motherboard. If this fan does not function properly, the processor will overheat, resulting in degraded performance or permanent damage.


9Look around the entire inside and outside for any dust you may have missed. Once you are sure it is cleaned thoroughly, carefully replace the sides. Do not try to force them into place.


10Clean up your work space. The initial run will churn up a lot of particulates. Depending on your workspace, you may need to get a small vacuum and clean the area around the computer. Do not use a vacuum on the inside of the computer. You might want to consider leaving your machine open while you do this. Airborne dust inside the computer will begin to settle and you can make your effort exceptionally productive if you make a second run.
11Close your machine. After you've finished dusting, replace the side of your machine and any screws. Once the machine is tightly shut, return it to its usual spot and reattach the power cord and other cables. (You might consider cleaning this entire area to remove excess materials that can contribute to dust intake.) If you flipped the master power switch on the back of your machine off, be sure to turn it on again or your machine will not start. A clean computer will run significantly cooler and last much longer than a computer clogged up with dust and debris.

Tips

Wearing a dust mask can save you a good deal of irritation and sneezing, especially if you have breathing or lung conditions.
Cleaning your machine outside can save you a lot of clean-up, IF you can ensure a stable and clean spot. An open garage and clean work table would be an excellent cleaning environment. However, be sure that there are no extraneous materials (wood chips or twigs) that can enter your machine. Particles such as this can cause major damage. Also, as a tip, if you deal with a lot of dust or smoke near your computer purchase floor vent filters. They cost only a few dollars for 10 or more of them and you can cover the vents to your computer with them so that dust is filtered out.

Warnings

Always hold the can of compressed air upright. An inverted can of compressed air can let out bursts of liquid which can damage electronic components.
Blowing on the inside of your computer is not recommended. This does very little and you run the risk of accidentally spitting on internal components. You might also churn dust up into your face.
Although the process above is very safe, dusting can still lead to anomalous errors. While rare, dusting can sometimes cause just the wrong particle to settle in just the wrong place. However, the benefits of cleaning out your computer far outweigh the risks. In addition, NOT cleaning your computer can eventually lead to overheating and component failure.
Never touch internal components. It is not necessary to touch anything inside your computer while cleaning it. The less contact you make the better.
Warning: depending on the manufacturer, opening the case may void the computer's warranty.
Never use a feather duster, Swiffer-type product, or vacuum inside your computer. Such tools can generate static charges which have the ability to fry internal components. (Using latex gloves is another way of making sure that you don't fry the computer, also do not work in an area where static charges are frequent such as the carpet or Styrofoam mats)
EditThings You'll Need

Canister of compressed air or small air compressor.
Suitable workspace with adequate ventilation for dust.
Screw driver and any other tools necessary to open your computer. This will vary according to the machine you have. Some computers do not need to be unscrewed to open.
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