Sep 18, 2014

How to clean extremely dirty PC?

I was asked to look at a relatives desktop because of a very noisy fan. When I opened it up, the case was full of dust and...stuff. To a degree, it is normal for a computer to get dirty/dusty over time. I’m not talking about that kind of dirty; I mean that you can’t see the individual components because the dirt/dust/hair/smoke etc. is packed in so tightly. A can of air is not going to do it...maybe a case of canned air will. Any tips on how to address this?

You're a dirty, dirty, dusty PC

"Plenty of physical hardware problems crop up on computers after extended use. Dust, dirt, hair, and other debris can build up on fans and heatsinks. Components can come loose or become unseated. Thermal paste can break down and becomes ineffective.

With a little cleaning and basic maintenance—and perhaps a bit of elbow grease—getting your PC back in top condition is easy. Just don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. You may be surprised at the amount of gunk that accumulates in a PC whose hygiene has been neglected for a while."

I have a friend that uses, and I kid you not, an electric leaf blower for computers that are next level filthy. I personally would not suggest this because (1) the air flow might be strong enough to cause damage, and (2) the air is unfiltered to you could be blasting the motherboard with grit and dirt. On the other hand, it’s it is an old PC with little value and it wouldn’t be a big loss, I might give it a try. I’ve seen a PC that was full of roaches before - if there had been a leaf blower handy that day I would have put it to the test. 


Realistically, I would say just remove as much as you can of the dirt by hand, then used canned air to clean up the remainder. You might want to do it outside, because there is probably going to be dust everywhere by the time you are done. You also might want to wear some safety glasses to keep it from getting in your eyes. 

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