File-It-Under: Computer Life Extensions!~
Today is the beginning of a long series of Extend Your Computer Life 101,we will go over several maintenance tasks that you can apply to your computers,be it laptops or desktops that can guarantee an extra 5 years of computer life.If you are the casual computer owner who uses their system to just surf the Internet,log on Twitter or just use it for mundane tasks,then you should be able to get at least 6 good years out of your system from the first date you purchased your system.If you are a computer enthusiast, Ala power user/gamer then you will always need the latest and the greatest hardware,which would be a every six month hardware upgrade,all depending upon your financial situation,so this 101 tutorial don't apply to you,but feel free to follow along.Even computer enthusiast need to be reminded about the do's and don'ts of computer maintenance.
The Extend Your Computer Life series applies to the casual computer user,its all about the people,the one's who let so much dust accumulate in their system,its enough to put together a coat.Dust build up in a computer system is a definite system killer,blocked vents from dust and dust build up on cooling fans can obstruct airflow,heat build up can damage critical components within your computer system.
In this installment I will show you how to properly clean the dreaded dust bunnies out your system and extend life to your system.
As always,before opening up your computer system,make sure you ground yourself,its a known fact the human body can conduct enough static electricity to fry your components within your system.Simply touch any metal object,preferably a metal door knob,or the back of your computer case(don't touch the painted part).
Tools needed for this task
The beauty of working on computers is that there is not a lot of tools needed.For this DIY task,I recommend the obvious,a Phillips head screw driver,soft tip brush and a can of compressed air.Also you might want to invest in buying some safety glasses and cheap disposable filter mask,you don't want to get all that dust in your eyes and mouth.
First and foremost,make sure you unplug all components from your computer,especially the main plug that connects to your power supply,wait a couple a minutes then open up your computer.The reason why I say wait a couple of minutes is because even though the power cord is detached from your power supply,there is electrical current still running through components.Take your computer and gently lay it on its side,begin unscrewing your screws with your Phillips screw driver,slide the side panel off your desktop.Remember,you want the open the side where you can access and clean your components,your CPU fan,your motherboard etc.
Bring in the Cleaner
Now you can begin dispatching the dust bunnies off of your system,what I like to do first is start brushing the dust off the vents,which is usually located in the back of your desktop,some computer cases have vents on top of the chassis,it all depends on the structure of your computer case.Go right over to your power supply which is notorious for having dust build up on the vents and inside.Brush the dust off the vent,which is located in the back of the chassis,then hit short blasts of compressed air into the power supply,on the bottom of the power supply,do the same thing and hit short blasts so you can get the dust off of the fan.
There maybe dust film accumulated on the motherboard,remember our flat tip soft paint brush,take that brush and gently brush off the dust,and then hit short blast of compressed air.
We are coming to the critical component of this exercise,cleaning the dust off the CPU fan,this is a pretty controversial task,do we use full blast of compressed air,or do we just use the brush.Well for me,I usually carefully stick the brush through the fan and brush the dust off of the heatsink.Now if you are crafty and have balls,you can unscrew the fan off of the heatsink and begin blowing the dust off in short blasts.Dust build of on the heatsink and fan can definitely cause the processor to overheat and shut down.
If there is dust on top of your hard drives,apply the same method as you would with other components,gently brush the dust off and hit short blasts of compressed air.
The rest of the case inside may have dust film build up,apply the same method,brush off the dust film and blast it with air.
Why the short Air blasts
The air that comes out of the can is very cold,if you use full blast of air,condensation can form,which can short out and damage your components inside.
The enemy of your computer
Yes,the cat (which is my cat Amare in the pic) is a common enemy of many computer systems because of the excess fur that sheds off of their coats.The best advice I can give you here is keep your cat away from your computer,or even better,brush your cat daily like I do with Amare to get that shedding fur of their coat.
In our next installment of Extend Your Computers Life 101 series,we will talk proper airflow and cooling
Quick Note: Stupid me forgot to purchase a can of compressed air while I was out,but I wanted to post this article anyway,sorry for the mishap.
Also Noted: The computer I used for this article is a old computer I had laying around.