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Keep It Clean

Keep It Clean

When it comes to our computers, all we tend to think about is the stuff we see on the screen — the software. Most of us tend to neglect the computer itself.

What can you do with your computer to make it run longer? As I just mentioned above, keep it clean.

I can’t tell you the number of computers I’ve opened that have been clogged with dust. In fact, I’ve seen computers fail and have intermediate problems due to excessive dust build up. In addition, a lot of dust in your computer can cause it to run hotter than it should, shortening its life.

So, what can you do?

If you are brave, you can open your computer’s case (unplug it first) about once every 6 months or so and blow it out with that canned air stuff (you can get it at any office supply store). Of course, be careful not to disconnect or damage anything. Make sure you blow out the power supply ( DO NOT open up the power supply unit) and the CPU fan too. Since all this dusting can make a mess, you may want to do it outside.

Here’s a shot of one of my dirty old PCs. This one uses a Pentium III processor, so its CPU fan is vertical in orientation. Your CPU fan may be flat on the board.


Also, make sure you keep your can of compressed air upright. The propellant inside those things tends to come out when the can is inverted or at an angle, so be careful.

Oh, if you can get some kind of good “mini-vacuum” that would be OK too. In fact, some would argue vacuums are better because compressed air can force dust deeper into the cracks and crevices of your computer.

That said, I still like canned air better for a several reasons.

1. I’ve yet to find a little vacuum that was any good. They all seem to leave a ton of dirt behind on the boards. In my opinion, if you can’t get all the dirt off, what’s the point?

2. In addition, there are a lot of places that even small attachments just can’t get to. Again, what’s the point of cleaning if you can’t get it all?

3. I’ve been cleaning computers since before DOS, and have yet to actually see a problem with using canned air. In my opinion, compressed air simply removes the most dust. So, I’ll stick to my little cans, you can still vacuum if you like :-)

Finally, no matter how tempting it is, washing your computer with the help of a garden hose is always a bad idea :-)

~ Steve