Spring Cleaning for your Computer

Dust in your computer can cause it to be loud and hot. Follow these steps to clean computer hardware and speed up performance.
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Written by Staff Writer • Posted on May 12, 2011

Mmmm, smell that? It's that time of year again for flowers, freshly cut grass, and a clean house. Spring cleaning is on everyone's mind, but have you considered adding "clean my computer" to your "to do" list?

If you've had your computer more than a year or two, chances are dust has been taking over your hard drive and attaching itself to your computer's fan and motherboard. This is not a good thing. Dust in your computer can cause it to be loud and hot. We're going to show you different ways to make your computer stick around longer.

Before you crack open the computer tower, make sure to visit a supplies or electronics store. Here's what you'll need:

  • A Phillips head screwdriver
  • Mechanical oil with a dropper
  • A can of compressed air

*Do not use a vacuum to remove dust from your computer. It generates a lot of static and may damage the components on the boards or weaken the solder.

1. Getting started:

  • We suggest that you backup all of your computer files before starting, just in case.
  • Disconnect the power cord, monitor, keyboard, mouse and any other peripherals.
  • Take the computer to a well lit area like your front porch or the garage. (Do not skip this step because the compressed air will create a cloud of dust that you don't want in your home).
  • Open the case to your tower. (Tower's may open differently; read the owner's manual for directions on how to properly open yours).

2. Remove the dust:

  • Use the can of compressed air to to dust off all components in your tower.
  • Make sure the can stays upright to avoid liquid coming out of the can.
  • Make sure to spray in all of the cracks and crevices.

3. Clean the fan:

  • There are two fans in your computer. One is inside the power supply and the other is over the processor.
  • Pet hair, airborne dust, smoke and particles can build up over time and slowly break down the fan over the processor and eventually overheat your computer.
  • The processor fan is covered by a green hood that flips up and snaps off.
  • Unscrew the fan from the inside of the machine without disconnecting any cords.
  • Wipe down the blades with a damp cloth.

4. Lube the fan:

  • Pull up the sticker on the fan. Some computers may have a rubber plug over the bearing inside, if yours does, pull up the plug with a fingernail or screwdriver.
  • Place one single drop of oil over the axle part which turns the fan.
  • Replace the sticker and remount the fan, hood and anything else that you have removed.

5. Close up your case:

  • Before closing, make sure all connections are tight and no wires are hanging loose.
  • Return the computer to its location and reconnect all wires.
  • Place the tower on your desk instead of the floor to reduce dust exposure.