There isn’t much to the physical maintenance of a computer. It’s not like the constant attention windows and your files need. It really isn’t very hard to clean the inside of your computer either. However if you don’t do this little task every now and then it can cause big problems. Under normal conditions once a year is enough. If your computer is in a dusty environment or you have pets, you may want to do it more often. I like to do mine in spring. It’s an easy way for me to remember when to do it. I call it my spring computer cleaning. The other reason I like to do it in spring is the fact that warmer weather is coming, and this is when the computers need cooling the most. We normally get a rush of computers into our shop from overheating in spring when the weather gets warm as well as in summer when the weather gets really hot. A little bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way here. Ten minutes of cleaning can prevent a few hundred dollar repair bill.
So pull out a screw driver and pick up a can of compressed air at your local computer shop and let’s clean your computer. First take off the side panel. Normally held on by 2 screws in the back, but there are lots of different cases that open different ways. If you have one of those “easy open” cases you may have to “Google” your computer make and model to see how the case opens.
Once you have the case open, take the computer somewhere where you can let the dust bunnies loose. Outside on a nice day would be a good choice. Now blow out the inside making sure not to touch any inside cards and other parts. Pay special attention to the fans and the metal fins under these fans. These fins are there to pull away heat from chips and work best when they are nice and clean. When blowing out fans make sure to not make them spin too fast. I usually keep the fan from spinning all together by holding them with my finger.
Make sure that you don’t spray any liquid from the compressed air can. This can happen if you shake the can or tilt it too far. Spray a little away from the computer first to see how it works. Now that your computer is all nice and clean inside, spray clean the back plugs, power supply and fans as well. Give it a final blow inside and then hook it back up without the case back together. Turn the clean computer back on and have a look to make sure all the fans are properly working. If all is well, close the case back up and you’re done.
If you want you can also spray out your keyboard at this time then wipe it with a damp cloth. Never spray onto the keyboard, always spray onto the cloth. You don’t want liquid inside the keys. You can also pickup some screen cleaner while you’re at the store and wipe off those finger prints.
There you go. Good for another thousand miles or one year, whichever comes first.