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Urzu 7 2012-01-11 22:59

Cleaning a PC
 
My PC case has some openings for venting (on one side, and on part of the top). I see dust on top of my desktop PC, so there is probably dust in there. Should I clean it out? How do I go about cleaning it out well? How often should I clean it out?

sa547 2012-01-11 23:18

Yes, you have to, as dust tends to clog up the heatsink fans and ventilation ports, and causes the PC temperature to rise (in a worst-case scenario, too much heat could kill the CPU or the video card).

For casual, day-to-day cleaning, you use a moist cloth to wipe the casing, followed on with a fine brush.

For serious cleaning, you can start by bringing out the CPU outside (so that dust doesn't fly around at home), take off the side panels. Begin cleaning with a vacuum cleaner (if it has a blower feature, use it), or better yet, a can of compressed air (the kind technicians use often), and if you want more detailed cleaning, a paintbrush (about 1/2" wide) or even a toothbrush (for some tight spots).

Concentrate on cleaning the heatsink fans, the power supply fan port, ventilation fans, etc. but if you have disassembled the PC you'll have to remember where you have unplugged.

Urzu 7 2012-01-11 23:29

So it is really recommended that sometime soon I should unplug everything from my PC, set it on a nice big surface, and clean various components? I guess it would be highly recommended. I have had this computer for 2 years now, and never cleaned it once.

So I think I'll unplug everything and then set it on a kitchen table. I'll open it up and clean the various parts you recommended. I'll use compressed air from a can, and I'll use a 1/2" paintbrush and toothbrush.

People would definitely say clean this PC soon, as I'm running a considerable risk after not cleaning it once in the two years I've owned it?

I'm gonna back up some files before I do this, though. Purchased iTunes music, game saves, and some other files.

Important question, do I have to worry about grounding myself?

One last thing...

Quote:

...but if you have disassembled the PC you'll have to remember where you have unplugged.
What do you mean by this?

sa547 2012-01-11 23:35

If you have the manual for your motherboard (if it's assembled by hand), they have directions where to plug the front panel wires. Otherwise if it's a branded rig (i.e. Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.) you'll have to get the manual from their sites.

As long as the PC isn't plugged in, there's no danger of being grounded although be careful of static electricity if you live in a house with carpets.

2 years... that'll be a very long time, which enough time for dust to accumulate, and thus also means thorough cleaning.

Here are two more detailed guides:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tuto...de-of-your-pc/
http://www.computerhope.com/cleaning.htm

Urzu 7 2012-01-12 00:26

I didn't click on the links yet, but I'll just open the case. I won't have to take things apart, will I? Like take the GPU out, the CPU out, the power supply, etc.

Also, I hardly ever crack open PCs. I'm afraid of screwing up a component. Should I not be so worried? Will this stuff be just fine? I didn't build my PC. I bought it from ibuypower.com.

sa547 2012-01-12 00:54

If in doubt (as with most people whom I fix their PCs), you don't have to take the whole rig apart; you just take off the side panel, aim the vacuum nozzle and blast the dust out till there's no speck of it is left.

Urzu 7 2012-01-12 01:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by sa547 (Post 3944109)
If in doubt (as with most people whom I fix their PCs), you don't have to take the whole rig apart; you just take off the side panel, aim the vacuum nozzle and blast the dust out till there's no speck of it is left.

Use a vacuum as opposed to canned air, in that case??

sa547 2012-01-12 01:15

Yeah, but if you wish for a little more detail (say, tight corners) after blasting with a vac, you can also use canned air.

Urzu 7 2012-01-12 01:40

And with this less thorough method of cleaning, it should be sufficient? Should I use a 1/2" paintbrush on some areas, too, to make it a little more thorough of a clean?

How do I ground? With the computer off, touch bare metal (like the unpainted metal at the rear of the computer case), hit the power switch to off, and then unplug, and then I can remove my hand touching the bare metal from the bare metal and then...that'll do it? I successfully grounded the computer properly?

Would it be a good idea to get an anti-static wrist band and then go through the grounding procedure?

Thank you for all your help, btw.

sa547 2012-01-12 02:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by Urzu 7 (Post 3944165)
And with this less thorough method of cleaning, it should be sufficient? Should I use a 1/2" paintbrush on some areas, too, to make it a little more thorough of a clean?

That'll be more than enough.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Urzu 7 (Post 3944165)
How do I ground? With the computer off, touch bare metal (like the unpainted metal at the rear of the computer case), hit the power switch to off, and then unplug, and then I can remove my hand touching the bare metal from the bare metal and then...that'll do it? I successfully grounded the computer properly?

Since my style is different, I usually unplug (read: no plug to the power socket) the PC before working on it, all the while I wear a pair of sandals or shoes and not standing on the carpet just to be sure. But as your PC is far more valuable, I'd say you follow standard procedure as you open the rig.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Urzu 7 (Post 3944165)
Would it be a good idea to get an anti-static wrist band and then go through the grounding procedure?

If possible, then yes, it'll be necessary. Hard to find those things here in my country, though.

Urzu 7 2012-01-12 02:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by sa547 (Post 3944222)

Since my style is different, I usually unplug the PC before working on it, all the while I wear a pair of sandals or shoes and not standing on the carpet just to be sure. But as your PC is far more valuable, I'd say you follow standard procedure as you open the rig.

You mean to say you should keep the PC plugged in when working on it? Someone here posted grounding guidelines before, from a site, but that was two years ago or so. I googled grounding guidelines, but after a few minutes came up with no good tutorials. I just looked again and haven't found what I'm looking for.

blaze0041 2012-01-12 03:19

To be absolutely safe, you should unplug your computer and discharge any excess static electricity in your body before you open your computer up. That should minimise the risk of potential electrical damage to your computer components as you clean them. The method you yourself described earlier should be good enough.

-KarumA- 2012-01-12 03:59

Turn of the power, get a wooden chopstick or thin stick. I keep the cable in but I flip the power switch so the mobo is down.
Get your vacuum cleaner and can of air.
Open the side of the case, if you have case fans just put the chopstick in between so it doesn't turn and vacuum clean it.
No need to unplug all the cables, just gently vacuum clean over it, I never touch the mobo itself while doing so. Clean the bottom and edges.
If you never cleaned the cpu then use the can of air, be sure to not hold it upside down or anything, and afterward vacuum it.
I clean my PC about once every month, every day is a little paranoid.
Just don't clean it while it is still running obviously. Some people are also paranoid about vacuum cleaners thinking it will suck things out or off, I have been doing this for years without problems. The only time I actually take it apart is when I upgrade hardware.
About static, no need to do it naked or anything, if one hand is touching the case before touching your mobo you are fine. If you really wanna be sure just touch heating unit before touching your mobo.
People are very paranoid about static, I remember a guy laying out his gear on a carpet when something didn't work and everyone claiming static killed it, just one guy figured out he only forgot to flip a switch and carpet didn't kill anything. Now unless you are wearing woolen sweaters, on a woolen carpet and keep on jittering your feet and then touch the mobo then I'd be worried. Just make sure one hand touches the case. Putting the case on the side gives better gpu van access.

Urzu 7 2012-01-23 01:11

I didn't want to make a new topic just for this.

I had a full day to do nothing and I own Skyrim, so of course, I played Skyrim all day. So after many hours of playing, a fan, and I'm guessing it was the GPU fan, started to become really loud. Kind of sounded like a jet taking off. So I stopped playing, and then today, I've been on the computer, haven't played any Skyrim or any other games, and everything is fine.

Should I be worried about this? Or was the GPU just really heated up and the fan was doing its job? Was the fan just accelerating to cool down the GPU, or is that not normal, and I should be concerned if that happens again after some time playing a PC game? I don't want my GPU croaking on me.

It definitely wasn't the disc drive making the sound, either. No disc was in the drive.

sa547 2012-01-23 01:49

It's just the GPU fan sometimes gets a bit loose, so it makes this very annoying racket; happened to mine, so I replaced it with a new one (which fit over the mounting holes of the original fan).

Urzu 7 2012-01-23 02:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by sa547 (Post 3963567)
It's just the GPU fan sometimes gets a bit loose, so it makes this very annoying racket; happened to mine, so I replaced it with a new one (which fit over the mounting holes of the original fan).

So the "plane taking off at an airport sound" is just the fan being loose? If this happens to me a couple more times, I should tighten the fan into place? Or just replace it, like you did?

Kyuu 2012-01-23 04:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by Urzu 7 (Post 3943954)
My PC case has some openings for venting (on one side, and on part of the top). I see dust on top of my desktop PC, so there is probably dust in there. Should I clean it out? How do I go about cleaning it out well? How often should I clean it out?

I take mine outside - open the case - and use compressed air. Like hell am I gonna allow the dust to fly inside the house.

sa547 2012-01-23 04:47

Quote:

Originally Posted by Urzu 7 (Post 3963592)
So the "plane taking off at an airport sound" is just the fan being loose? If this happens to me a couple more times, I should tighten the fan into place? Or just replace it, like you did?

The fan/heatsink should be tightly bolted to the GPU board. Otherwise the fan's motor, especially cheaper ones using sleeve bearings, tend to whine over time, especially in an upside-down position.

Rereading your problem, the fan speed does kick in higher while it's being used for a longer period of time to dissipate the heat off the GPU. Usually, as you say, the problem goes away after you let the PC cool down.

If the screeching persists, especially when booting up first and you hear that ear-piercing racket, the solution is to find a matching fan/heatsink that uses non-contact bearings. Depending on your GPU card's model, you have to make sure the mounting holes match up with the fan/heatsink (called HSFs).

For simpler GPUs, here's a guide (I bought a replacement fan from a scrap supplier for less than a dollar; the best ones seem to be encased in a mounting spider):
http://www.technibble.com/replacing-...-card-gpu-fan/

More recent GPUs may have to use aftermarket replacement HSFs, which can be easily fitted on most cards, uses non-contact bearings, and dissipate heat much faster, thus giving the GPU more performance and last longer. You can find the one that is compatible with your card (as they use different plugs).

-KarumA- 2012-01-23 05:20

Just wondering but gpu do you have?

Urzu 7 2012-01-23 12:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kyuu (Post 3963723)
I take mine outside - open the case - and use compressed air. Like hell am I gonna allow the dust to fly inside the house.

Might be a stupid question, but why specifically is dust flying around in the house so bad? Just because of extra cleaning? It could get into other electronics? I don't really know what the reasons are, and why you'd be so against it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by -KarumA- (Post 3963763)
Just wondering but gpu do you have?

Radeon HD 5750


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