When was the last time you cleaned your computer? This task is very easy and routine, but is quite often overlooked and extremely important. When computers become full of dust, you can lose proper cooling which makes your system run hotter and in turn slower. Not only is this annoying as it increases your wait times while working, but it can also damage or ruin some of your internal components. Here are some simple guidelines for keeping your system running smooth, quiet, and efficiently.
First, begin by turning off your computer and unplugging the power cord from it. Next, remove the additional cables that are plugged into the system, but be sure to remember where each one plugs in. You might write down or draw a map of the back of the computer, or take a picture to help you remember. Next, move the system somewhere that you can blow it out and not mind getting dust all over. You will most likely need a philips screwdriver for the next step, so go ahead and grab one on your way. Once you are in an open area, you need to take off the side panel of the computer by removing the two screws from the back of the case. Be sure to put the screws in a safe place, then slide the side cover off, most often by sliding it toward the back of the system.
Now you should be able to access the inside of your computer. Depending on how much dust has accumulated, you might want to start by grabbing or carefully vacuuming large deposits from the bottom of the case. The main areas of focus are going to be the CPU fan/heatsink, power supply, graphics card, and any other fans that might be inside the system. Take a can of compressed air, or other air source, and gently blow the dust out from each fan and heatsink (the heatsink is the metal object the fan is screwed into). Be careful when using air on fans though, as too much air or too continuous air can actually damage the bearings in the fan and cause it not to spin. It is best to use short, controlled bursts. Once this is done, you may check for any other spots you notice of dust collections, and then put the side panel back on the case and screw it in. Now would be a good time to take a rag or paper towel and clean the outside of the case before you put the system away. Take your system back to it’s original spot and plug it in using your cable map or picture you took earlier, then turn on your system and enjoy your clean, happy computer!
If you have a laptop computer, this process may not be so easy as most of the times the system needs to be taken apart to clean the fan. You can always bring your laptop by Level Seven Computers and we can either show you how to clean the fan if it is an easy access, or take the system apart for you and clean it out.
-Level Seven Staff