Why, When, and How You Should Clean Out the Inside of Your Computer

Computers… such amazing machines aren’t they?? They allow us to access and share information quickly and easily all across the world, they allow us to stay in touch with our loved ones no matter where they are, they’ve opened up a whole new world, oh… and they’re also great dust magnets. If you haven’t cracked open your computer case since the day you’ve bought it – you may be surprised at what you find inside.

Why do I need to clean out my computer?

Just like your car, furnace, your pet gold fish and his tank, computers need routine maintenance to keep them alive and running good. When dust accumulates inside your computer it can cause a number of issues including noisy fans, overheating, random shut downs, and after a prolonged time can make your fans quit completely. This is when the real issues start – if your computer does not shut down automatically when fans are not working it will overheat which leads to melted and fried components.

While this occurs everywhere, places like factories, offices, hospitals, and other high traffic work places experience an often larger accumulation of dust inside their computers.

When should I clean out my computer?

We recommend that you clean out your computer every 3 to 6 months for home computers and 1-3 months for work/business computers. This will greatly increase the lifespan of your machine and keep it in good working order.

How do I clean out my computer? 

*NOTE* You should only do this if you are familiar with the inner workings of a computer and are comfortable with fact that there are many intricate and sensitive components inside a computer that can be damaged if not handled with care. We shall not be held responsible if you break something!

Things You’ll Need

  1. Compressed Air
  2. Rubbing Alcohol
  3. Cotton Swabs
  4. Thermal Paste (Optional)
  5. A good Precision Screwdriver Set

What you need to do – simple dust out

Make sure that you have discharged any static electricity from yourself before opening anything!!

  1. Unplug everything from your computer. Power, keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor, etc..
  2. Take your computer outside or into a garage or shed. Somewhere outside of your home or work place so you do not end up getting dust everywhere that will inevitably get sucked back up into your computer.
  3. Open up your computer. Depending on the form factor, brand, style, etc, this will vary.
  4. Begin by blowing out the fans, heat sinks, and the power supply unit.
  5. Blow out the rest of the computer. Tip it upside down to empty any remaining dust balls or foreign objects that may still be lurking in there.

What you need to do in addition for a full clean

While dusting out your computer every 3-6 months will help keep your computer in great condition, we also recommend that at least once a year you tear down the fans and heat sinks and re-apply thermal paste.

  1. Remove the CPU fan and heat sink.
  2. Using cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol carefully remove the old thermal paste off the top of the CPU and the bottom of the heat sink.
  3. Apply new thermal paste to the top of the CPU or the bottom of the heat sink.
  4. Using more air, rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, and toothpicks, carefully clean out in between the fins of your heat sink(s).
  5. Re-connect your heat sink(s) and fan(s).
  6. Using a lint free cloth and rubbing alcohol wipe out the inside of the case removing any spots or residue.

What to do if you need help

Contact us! We provide these services to customers all the time. We are a fully insured and bonded IT services company that serves clients in Tioga County, PA and surrounding areas. We can perform a full clean for $15 per machine if dropped off to our location at 131 C West Main St Knoxville, PA. Have a high quantity of computers or a business? No problem – we can come to your location for a small travel fee (varies by mileage) plus $15 per machine. We can work after hours and on weekends so you have no down time.