To explain the dust, we need to explain the heating/cooling aspect of your desktop computer. Because computers generate heat in use, the heat is removed through several means. The computer’s CPU has a heatsink clamped on top of it. This is typically a block of copper, aluminum, or a combination of both, and usually has numerous fins topped by a fan. Copper and aluminum, very good heat conductors, pull the heat away from the CPU and the fins radiate the heat to the surrounding air. At this point, the fan keeps cool air moving over the fins and pushes the warm air away. The computer may also have additional fans to pull cold air in and push the hot air out. As the CPU gets hotter, the fan will spin faster to move more air. The noise of the fan also increases as it spins faster.
Over time dust will collect on the fan blades and heatsink. This dust acts like a blanket that prevents the heat from escaping. Since the computer isn't cooling as well, the fans spin faster, bringing in more dust. This happens continuously as your fan runs whenever your computer is on. As dust collects on the blades, the fan will get out of balance, placing more strain on the motor and the bearings. This causes overheating, and the computer will shut down to prevent damage. However, the dust can cause the fan to eventually fail.
So, how do you stop this from happening to your computer? You clean it out. There is a catch; you will need to open your computer case first. Many people are afraid of doing this, but it really is quite simple. However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then let us take care of it for you! We routinely clean dust from customer computers while performing other maintenance and repairs at no charge!
If you are ready for the challenge, you’ll want to have a few tools handy. First, you will need a screwdriver to remove the case screws holding the side panel in place. Most cases use Phillips screws, but occasionally you’ll need a Torx bit. Second, you will need a can of compressed air. Third, you will want a microfiber cloth to wipe the panels down.
To begin, shut down the computer and unplug the cables. The cables are shape and color coded, but feel free to label them. You will then want to take the computer outside or to a workbench for cleaning since this can be messy. Proceed by removing the screws that hold the panel in place, then slide it to the rear, it should now pop free. Now use your compressed air to blow the dust out of all the nooks and crannies paying special attention to the fans and heatsinks. Once the dust is blown out take the microfiber cloth and wipe down the inside of the panel you removed, as well as the outside of the case. Slide the panel back into position and reinstall the screws. Plug everything back in and power on the system. Congratulations, you have successfully cleaned your computer!
Do you have a question or topic you’d like us to address? Email and let us know!