Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How Do I Clean the Dust Bunnies Out Of My Computer?

What?  Yes, we’re serious about this one.  If you’ve had your computer for a while, the dust bunnies might be slowing down your computer or even causing it to crash.  This one is hands-on and a little bit different for every computer, but we think just about everyone can do it.  However, proceed at your own risk.  If you’re uncomfortable with the process, feel free to contact ITI!

We clean computers using compressed air.  There are a couple of options here and most people elect to use the cans of static-free compressed air that you can purchase at the office supply store.  We generally use an air compressor with the regulator set to about 40 PSI.  Regardless of your choice, here are some words of caution.

  • If you choose cans of air: Always keep the can vertical and never tilt or shake it while you’re spraying.  If you want to know why, walk outside, turn the can upside down, point the nozzle in a safe direction and give the button a little bump.  Careful, it’s cold stuff!  Most importantly, you don’t want to get that into your PC.  Also, if you seem to be losing pressure, stop for a few minutes and let the cold can come back to room temperature.
  • If you choose an air compressor: We don’t advise going over 40 PSI and even at that pressure, start gently and be careful not to get too close to any of the components.  Also, you’ll want to spray the air onto your hand for several seconds.  If your hand feels wet or you can see water droplets, stop right there!  You don’t want to blow wet air into your PC!

The first step is to shut down your computer.  You might also want to let it sit for 5-10 minutes, just to give the heat sinks time to come down to room temperature.  While you’re waiting, use your camera to take a few pictures of the various things connected to your PC.  This way, if you need to unplug the cords, you’ll have a visual reference to remind you where everything goes when you plug it back in.

If you have a standard box like a desktop or a tower computer, then we’re going to need to take the side off.  Sometimes this is accomplished by a small handle on the top or side.  On other models, there may be a couple of thumb screws on the back.  Occasionally, you’ll need a screwdriver.  If you have an all-in-one or a laptop computer, then you probably shouldn’t worry about disassembling the unit, we’ll cover that in just a few minutes!

Once the side is off, use the compressed air of your choice to carefully remove any large amounts of dust.  Pay special attention to the fans and heat sinks.  The PC doesn’t need to sparkle, but you don’t want the dust to impede airflow, nor do you want it to insulate the heatsinks or other electronic components.  When you are cleaning the around the fans, we suggest touching the fan with one finger to keep it from turning at high speeds due to the air flow.  Be very careful in there.  When you’re finished, let the computer side for about 10 minutes.  This is likely unnecessary, but just in case small amounts of condensation formed, we want to let them dry off.

Once you’re finished, put the side back on, plug in any cables you removed and power up!  If your computer had a noticeable amount of dust, it will likely run cooler, faster and with more stability.

For those of you with laptops and all-in-ones: We shouldn’t need to take anything apart.  Also, you’ll likely have better luck here with an air compressor, but static free cans may work also.  Other than that, follow the same procedure above, but instead of taking the side off of your computer, locate all of the ventilated areas and blow plenty of air into all of those areas.  You’ll likely see a significant amount of dust removed.

If you’re not comfortable with this process and would like some professional assistance, please contact us today!

Scott Johnston
Integration Technologies Inc.

No comments:

Post a Comment