How To: Properly Clean Your PC

37

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

srt1

hay man this post is very nice and informative...

have a look at this

 

Laptops

 

 

avatar

DBsantos77

 Dust is the biggest killer for me. My frickin rug grows dust like I do hair.

-Santos

Teh Rig:

AMD Phenom 720 (Unlocked to Quad, Stable @ 3.4 Ghz 1.4v)

Gigabyte Micro ATX 785gx Motherboard

G.Skill 4GB 1333 DDR3 8-8-8-21 @ 1.6v

HIS ATI Radeon HD4670 (CCC OC'd)

Logitech G500

avatar

faith

I totally agree with you . Dust are the main reason for the damage of the computer fan. And also it make the computer look dirty from the inside.I always had a problem in cleaning the dust, but now by reading this aticle, this job is as simple as cleaning the  
<a href="http://www.fanimation.com/">Ceiling Fans</a>

avatar

JohnP

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/13/ventblockers/

avatar

mdkplus

This is the last place I want to see spam! I come here to enjoy some insightful comments on a good article and I have to see this crap. items2002 go advertise your junk somewhere else, you are desecrating a hallowed ground here.

avatar

JoeBlow

Between the article and comments, this was a useful read. The article itself was alright, although judging by the comments, it could have been more thorough.

Re: compressed air in a can. See this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canned_air

Besides having the liquid (we're dealing with electronics here so obviously it's not water, if you read the label) come out because of not holding the can upright, that liquid can can lower the temp. of components it touches enough to cause damage.

A lot of commenters have suggested using a vacuum, which seems logical. However, a lot of sites advise against this because of the potential of static discharge. The article doesn't mention vacuums, but neither does it warn people to steer clear of potentially damaging their machines. I'm sure it can be done w/o causing problems, like I work on machines w/o a grounding strap, but it could have been mentioned.

The part about throwing your keyboard in the dishwasher is lame. I mean, I could mix cement in my washing machine, which doesn't mean I should do it. The best way, better than fussing with q-tips, or risking your keyboard in the dishwasher is to pry the keys off. Most regular keys (the plain old square ones) on keyboards pop off very easily. You just need something to pry them off. You don't pry off the wider keys like the shift, crtl, enter, backspace keys, space bar because these have wire springs lodged in the plastic so be careful. Soak them in soapy water, let them dry and replace. You now have great access to the other keys that don't pry off and and all the filth otherwise trapped under the keys.

avatar

JohnP

 Dust filters are NOT used to prevent dust from getting into the computer. Their sole purpose is to CLOG THE FAN so that no air can get by. That takes your nice case and turns it into an easy bake oven, good for killing most components in just months. Which is worse, dust in the case or a forgotten clogged filter causing computer meltdown? REMOVE ALL FILTERS!

When using any sort of blowing, air compressor, vacuum exhaust, or canned air, DO NOT let the fans spin when cleaning. They can spin so fast that they break or spike a voltage into the computer. Extra caution is needed for those small fans for chipsets, graphics cards, etc. STICK SOMETHING INTO THE FAN TO  PREVENT SPINNING BEFORE BLOWING IT.

Notice that optical drives were not mentioned. Been a long time since I had one go bad but dust can build up on the R/W head so I usually LIGHTLY blow into the drive with the tray out. I skip the slot drives ones.

Last thing is wire management. As  LOOONG time repairman for HP, one of the worst things for repairs is having all the damn wires wire-tied every six inches. Even pulling the power cord out was sometimes difficult. Troubleshooting or upgrading with tightly wrapped cables is a pain. If you have to use something, use a velcro strap and even those sparingly. Shoot, I am inside my computers 2-3 times a month as it is. I certainly do not need to cut wire ties every time I go inside.

avatar

DRAGONWEEZEL

/agree w/ the fans spinning, but usually it just ends up screwing up the fan, in a hurry.

 Dust filters in an unmanaged environment may = bad.  Dust filters in a PC that will be looked at every 6mo to a year = good.   I understand where you are coming from, I've done a fair bit of repair too.  The users on MPC however, most of us do get into our cases every now and then at least.  (though I'm about every 8 months or so).  The worst computers I ever saw were in smoker's environments.  UGGH, not only do they stink, but they have a film of crap on them.  It stains your cloths, and haunts you.

Interestingly enough, my wife, who strives to allways look and smell good, had a very thin coat of sweet smelling dust in her PC.  It was really weird to smell her perfume in the dust!

 I have to say a note on wiremanagement, if you must uze zip ties, don't tie too tightly, but done properly,  (last tie should be > 12 inches from the point of plug in)  it is a boon for repairs.  My workbench and my gaming rig both are "Pretty Tied Up, hanging Upside Down"  (sorry, I'm an old GnR fan.)

THERE ARE ONLY 11 TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. Those that think binary jokes are funny, those that don't, and those that don't know binary

avatar

trayszee

Why don't you guys ever include laptops in these articles?  I know power users don't have any trouble figuring this out for themselves but the average laptop user has enough trouble removing the battery let alone figuring out how to clean the fan or the keyboard for a laptop.

avatar

JohnP

 Laptops are about as simple as you can get. They usually have only one small, externally accessible fan, so cleaning it is just blowing on it with your mouth and a pen holding the fan from spinning. Could use a straw I guess. Try not to spit! Keyboard and screen cleaning is the same as this article. Would NOT recommend tearing down a laptop just for cleaning. Most of the cables and components are not meant to be unplugged more than a few times so a serious chance of breaking the laptop.

 Game consoles should be cleaned pretty much the same way. Externally only and not opened up.

avatar

wk

O.K.

i know that most power user prefer desktop PC.

but most people prefer notebooks or netbooks (for mysterious reasons)

i, for example have 4 laptops in my house and not a single desktop.

so please consider more review, how to, news for laptops.

MPC is my home page

avatar

fry

Vacuums aren't nearly powerful enough and don't have the right attachments to really clean a PC. Those little cans of compressed air tend to spray spraying moisture, and they're a waste.

I bought this awhile back: http://www.amazon.com/Metro-Vacuum-ED500-500-Watt-Electric/dp/B001J4ZOAW

Muhahahah.. the power! I love the thing. My full tower is factory fresh in seconds.

Just be sure to use it outside. :)

avatar

DRAGONWEEZEL

a 1/2 inch rubber hose.  Not great for the vacume, but cleans the computer fast, and can be (sorry for the upcoming spaceballs reference) switched from Suck to Blow! 

 

THERE ARE ONLY 11 TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. Those that think binary jokes are funny, those that don't, and those that don't know binary

avatar

JohnP

http://www.amazon.com/Hoover-CH3000-CLEANER-CANISTER-8PCS/dp/B001DCYRH6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1256841068&sr=8-1

The Hoover PortaPower commercial Vac is a GREAT tool for cleaning computers, keyboards, etc. The hose will fit the BACK exhaust of the vac and does a great job of blowing things clean.  (Stick your finger in the fans to keep them from autorotating). And yes, it does create a lot of dust bunnies! It is also a great vac for the car, spider webs, dusting whatever.

avatar

SEALBoy

AFAIK, most compressed air isn't compressed air at all. It's some other compressed organic compound, and even though it feels like it's spraying moisture, that's not H20. It's just a condensed form of the organic compound - completely harmless to computers.

avatar

fn_tool

In their comments here, people have mentioned that a cat makes the PC extra dirty, maybe they MaxPC can test putting a kitty in the dishwasher w/ the keyboard.  I wonder what the benchmarks would be....

Does anyone think this would help?  (Note: I don't have a cat, but can I try it with a fish from my Koi Pond?)

avatar

lunchbox73

When my computer gets dirty I just buy a new one. Who has time for cleaning?

avatar

Jesterace

I usually will clean my rig out once a month, although I'm usually upgrading a component to something better. But that swiffer idea is great for filtering, wish I thought about that sooner. Though my thermaltake case already has filters installed.

avatar

aheintz

Aww they didn't list the best part Using a air compresser with an air gun. That's the fastest way to clean out one. I know plenty of tech's that in thier shop near the back door have one takes 10 seconds at the most. Why waste money on compressed air. that reminds me my rid is due for her bi-annul "cleaning"

avatar

JohnP

 Heh. I bring my computers down to the shop for cleaning and builds/rebuilds. The air compressor is THE way to really get the computer clean. Even the power supply has plenty of dust inside when the compressor is used. Hardly have to clean the fan blades with a blast of 90 PSI! And the fins of these honking CPU coolers are easy to clean.

avatar

Yusonice

haven clean mine in 2 years.. on another comp. over 6 years!

avatar

MRrelabled

Yeah, blast some cold compressed air on some electronics and blast some on the fan and get that thing spinning like crazy, it was too darn quiet anyway. Then after cleaning spray on some wax to get it nice and shinny. 

avatar

alanmc76

 I don't mean to wave the smart-ass flag here, but you should never
allow a fan to spin while cleaning your PC.  Remember a fan is
essentially a power generator when it spins backwards.  If you allow
the fan to spin it can create a back-charge and could damage
components.  Just a word of caution.

 _________________________________

-- "What am I, MacGyver? Fix it with what?"--

 

avatar

Reliant

Knowing that everyone has their own way of cleaning a computer, but I think that if you are using a can of compressed air is risky.  They always have a habit of spraying out water instead of air.  I use a small Craftsman shop vacuum.  It has a blower option.  I take out all of the components in my customers desktops then take it outside and blow all the dust away.  One tech guy I know even uses a leaf blower, but that's overkill. :)   As for the cable tie ups I do almost the same thing it's a good idea to keep them organized.

 

There are always options, never failers.

avatar

DRAGONWEEZEL

The problem w/ compressed air is that it's moderate preassure and low volume.  A vacume is moderate to high volume and low preasure from more than "ON" the target.  An aircompressor is VERY HIGH preassures w/ moderate volume if not set right.  But a Leafblower, it's exactly what you want!  A leafblower is high preassure and Very High volume!  It isn't the overkill of 90+psi, but still has great preassure, and Tons of volume to carry the dust far away from the PC so it doesn't "resettle" on the components.

THERE ARE ONLY 11 TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. Those that think binary jokes are funny, those that don't, and those that don't know binary

avatar

DJFresh

The only thing you need to clean is the dust, etc from the fans and heat-sink fins. Thats's purely logical. Granted MPC talks about zip tying cords, but really? Maximum P.C. reminding the other 5% of it's readers how to clean their 3-4 y.o. Dell and HP machines? Given the diversity and frequency of our upgrade paths the majority of MPC readers choose to follow, I really think this article belongs on pc world's website. Just the frequency of our upgrades (4-10 months) really negates the need for this.

 

 

avatar

fry

This is less and less true for me.

I haven't done a major upgrade (mobo, CPU, video card) since Aug. 2007. Why bother? The last game to challenge my current setup was Crysis. PC gaming graphical innovation is essentially in stasis.

avatar

TheMurph

Wow.  Unless you're building a brand-new system every 4 months, things still get a wee dusty.  Especially if you have a cat, oof.

But I digress.  What's so bad about cleaning?

avatar

bikerbub

Agreed with Murph. I have a cat, and i think it's about time for me to clean out my case, and i keep it pretty regularly maintained. I have an Antec900, so i'll have to try that swiffer filter thing. i would imagine that cuts airflow pretty significantly though.

btw, i like the PCWorld bash.

avatar

filip007

We are not cleaning company so just use vacuum cleaner hose close to vents and will suck up all the dust that's the magic trick.

 

And yes maybe you will need some purple glows to don't get dirty....HAHA  

avatar

Vegan

I'd love to see a gallery of the filthiest computers you guys can find.

avatar

DRAGONWEEZEL

makes me want to hurl. Oh shit, gotta go.

 

THERE ARE ONLY 11 TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. Those that think binary jokes are funny, those that don't, and those that don't know binary

avatar

DJO33

@Dragonweezel's sig.  Dude that was good.  I almost missed it.  very funny

avatar

JohnP

 25 years with HP doing repairs. There were two computers being used for controllers for test equipment that were memorable. One was in a cardboard box factory. There was literally FOUR inches of cardboard fluff in the bottom of the case! It poured out when I took the case side off. Funny thing was that the computer was working fine as the fans were still blowing air and cardboard pieces inside. It was like watching a shaken snow globe when the dust was flying around!

  The other computer was not dirty but EATEN. EPRI tests electric stuff that holds up power lines (glass insulators, etc). They had this large building two stories tall with hundreds of UV lamps lining the v ceiling. There are giant fans and mists of corrosive salt water sprayed every once in a while. The test equipment was in a small control room next to the chamber. Their monitor quit working. I opened it up and most of the wires had LOST THIER INSULATION. I mean we are talking bare wires here. The insulation was in hard, broken pieces in the bottom. I had to get them to create an "airlock" before I could fix stuff anymore.

avatar

wolf17

Agreed, that would make for an interesting article.  The what not to do pc maintenance article! lol 

"Life is about living, not stressing" - a very smart girl :)

avatar

V-mateika

i needed to clean mine for so long. I use an old pc for streaming tv to my giant monitor, and the clutter of cables is a mess... I found a cobweb in the case of the pc to:P. I need an article on laptop cleaning. like how to get grim out from deep under your keys. It's to hard to remove the keys or shell. I shouldn't eat food by my laptop anymore lol

avatar

AleceHelix

Finally. My PC hasn't been opened in 4 months for cleaning. I've been getting lazy. 

 

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.