Caked on Dust

December 11, 2010


You know what’s gross? Opening your computer to find it with tons of dust bunnies breeding like mad. Ok, that’s not a very accurate way to describe it, but it’s pretty messed up. Most of us don’t see the inside of our computer case often, if at all, unless we’re installing something new into it. Realistically, that’s the better part of a year or two. When we do, we’re are exposed to the dusty caked-on nasties that have grown and developed since the last time we opened up our beastie (maybe even from the time before). I had a new hard drive to install today, so I thought it was a good chance to spray the insides.

Oh, this is by no means a guide to cleaning your computer. Take it as just friendly advice.

Suit up
Wear a face mask and maybe gloves, it’s dirty inside and things will definitely go flying. You don’t want the crud on you and you’ll most definitely won’t want to be sucking the gunk into your lungs either.

Blast that foo!
Seriously, disconnect your cables, drag the big guy (your computer) out into your garage or yard (don’t do it in your house), and blast that sucker with some compressed air. Remember, short bursts do the trick or else you’ll soon find yourself with a wet computer that won’t be happy when it comes time to power up. Hit the major hotspots first: Fans and heat sinks.

That can is going to get cold fast as the result of a chemical reaction, so either have patience as you wait for it to get back to room temperature and continue or else have a secondary can so you can switch off.

Spray your cards, drives, and cables. Heck, give a blast of your mobo, it’ll start snowing dust. Finally, blast the case inside and out.

If you think you’re done, go again.
The thing with dust is that it’ll creep everywhere in your case. Every crevice, crack, or gap will be a hiding spot for these critters. If you’ve blasted every visible area, it’s time to get creative. Grab a flashlight and start probing around inside. You may have to grab a screwdriver and pull out some hard drives or a sound card, but really, check everywhere. You’ll be surprised to see that dust gathers in the smallest of places, kind of like how sand at the beach gets everywhere.

Feel proud it’s clean, prepare for next time
A clean computer will only stay clean for so long. After a year, you’re going to be in the same situation. It’s ok, that’s normal. If you place your computer on the floor, on the carpet, or have pets, this caked-on accumulation takes no time to form. Make it at least a yearly habit to clean your computer. You’ll thank yourself the next time you go to install that new video card. And, with less dust inside your computer and clearer airways and heatsinks, it’ll allow your computer to breathe easier and be less prone to overheating.

It took me about 30 minutes to clean my computer. I had two cans of compressed air so I could switch off and I was wearing a facemask. It’s actually pretty fun blasting air from the can, that little nozzle makes it feel powerful. Just remember, keep it to short bursts. I actually did a prolonged spray on a piece of cardboard (about a full second) and it got wet, so remember, SHORT BURSTS. Rick knows this firsthand, he ruined some of his own computer stuff a few years ago Smile.


One comment

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