News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon

We're community supported and proud of it!

  • Clean up your act.

    Home Forums Outside the box The Junk Drawer Clean up your act.

    Viewing 11 reply threads
    • Author
      Posts
      • #2360771
        Steve
        AskWoody Plus

        I’ll slot this here.

        People, I had a(n) harrowing episode a fortnight ago. My Windows 7 X64 computer had an incident when while running a duplicate image detector program, it crashed completely without even a BSoD. 🙁

        I thought it might be the program’s doing. But successive reboots soon moved into a state where the computer would not boot at all. Yes, F12 – Delete key – they didn’t help. (I could not even boot into Safe Mode.)

        I even went out of the abode here to investigate potential computer repair shops (using this Windows 8.1 X64 laptop).

        The next-to-last step I opted was to open up the computer tower and check for loose connections.

        It was not a loose connection.

        It was years of dust built up inside the tower which was impeding the flow of air through it, and thus compelling the system to abend.

        If you are similar to me – you have a desktop with a tower; have you looked inside the tower for dust? Maybe, maybe not?

        Unplug your desktop and open up the case. Sweep, or vacuum, or do something to get the excessive dust out of the tower.

        Yes – that was it. Nonetheless, I used the episode to create another backup point for the desktop, including four CD-ROMs of repair disks. Maybe you should also do that?

        The desktop has run well since then. (It is updated with the ESU updates monthly.)

        Important links you can use, without all the fluff or sales pitch = https://v.gd/sdr34
        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2360785
        Sky
        AskWoody Plus

        Cleaning your computer is always important, but it’s also important that you don’t vacuum it. Use compressed air, use a non-static brush, use rubbing alcohol, any of those are good, just don’t vacuum. Vacuums create static around the nozzle and this can discharge into components and kill them.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2360840
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        The “don’t vacuum” proponents don’t seem to provide evidence for their stance and I can’t see why you would want to force dust into tiny spaces, so I recommend you vacuum your PC to remove the dust from those little spaces.

        My anecdotal evidence from having always done this for my PCs, is that there are no issues, just a cleaner PC.

        cheers, Paul

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2360844
          Sky
          AskWoody Plus

          Might you get away with it? Sure. But a quick Google comes up with sites such as How-To Geek recommending strongly against it, as well as anecdotes from users on Reddit and Superuser claiming that they had computer components killed while vacuuming them.

          I don’t know if it’s evidence per se, but the logic behind it makes sense: you shouldn’t go near computer components with anything that can carry a static charge, and that includes vacuums, which can build one up from the movement of dust. Compressed air, on the other hand, is used with a distance between itself and the components, and comes out at such a rate that it cleans everything right up. Similarly, this is why you should always ground yourself when messing around inside your computer.

          Sorry to contradict you, it just doesn’t seem worth the risk to vacuum given the risks and the cost of the alternatives.

        • #2360860
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          You could definately vacuum the fan for power supply, not too aggresively and from outside – that is the best. When you make fans rotate too quickly, it could break the blades of the fan. Inside, I do not vacuum the MB, just carefully the bottom of the case after I blowed the dust from MB with compressed air.
          The worst case I have seen so far was, when my case was lying on the floor and I had dog back then. The fur was EVERYWHERE. Since then, I always put my case up from the floor.
          Dust is conductive, right?

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2360925
            Sky
            AskWoody Plus

            Personally, I hold the fan with a grounded hand and use compressed air on it like that. I was advised to do it like this many years ago and there’ no risk of rotation this way. You’re right that you can break a fan if it rotates the wrong way, though, an important warning.

            As for your question: yes, dust is conductive. Dust, not very pleasantly, is mostly made of dead human skin, and skin is conductive (as you probably found out playing with balloons as a child).

          • #2360988
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            doriel: “Dust is conductive, right? ” Dust is not, if it is diamond dust. If it is mainly your dog’s, or someone else’s in the house, dander, I would not like to assume it isn’t.

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • #2360981
          wavy
          AskWoody Plus

          And it is possible to find conductive attachments (I just keep a finger in the air stream.)
          The vacs I was furnished at work were in latter years equipped with these conductive attachments.
          High pressure air will put particles in places they never were before. Use with caution.

          I try to avoid the problem by applying positive air pressure to the case thru filters.

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2360846
        Pepsiboy
        AskWoody Lounger

        MY anecdotal evidence is that I take my desktop tower outside after opening it up (to keep the dust from being spread throughout the house) and use m small air compressor (set at 30 p.s.i.) to blow all the dust out of the inside of the case and off of the components about once a month. During the shutdown process I create a restore point and do a full disc backup (just to cover my butt). Having done this since the beginning with my Win 7 x64 SP1 box, it works for me so why change.

        Dave

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2360861
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Are you aware, that from compressor you can get very humid air? It can also contain oil from the engine lubrication. I would definatelly not use compressor. Just the can of compressed air is better.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          • #2360915
            Pepsiboy
            AskWoody Lounger

            doriel,

            NOT if you have an airline drier on the outlet of the reserve tank. As a retired truck driver, auto mechanic, and diver, ALL of my compressors have driers on them.  No moisture,oil, or particulates get into the air line.

            Dave

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2361044
              doriel
              AskWoody Lounger

              I agree, good solution. Good that you gave this information for AskWoody readers here, so they know, that they cant use any compressor they want.

              Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

              HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        • #2360878
          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          to blow all the dust out of the inside of the case and off of the components about once a month

          Is the PC situated in a saw mill? If not, that’s OCC! (obsessive compulsive cleaning) 🙂

          W10, the itch you simply cannot scratch!
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2360916
            Pepsiboy
            AskWoody Lounger

            Microfix,
            OCD ? ? I think not. Just avoiding the excessive amount of natural occurring dust around here.
            Dave

      • #2360859
        Biiljoy
        AskWoody Lounger

        I leave it on the desk and shut it down unplug everything, take the case off, and use a can of compressed air.  I do it about 4 times a year there are always dust clouds inside.  The space inside the case fan I can’t get it out without detaching the power supply and I have been too lazy / don’t know where my small screwdrivers are, so that unfortunately never gets 100% dust free.  It’s the front of the case and gets dust thick enough to wipe off in between these airing outs.  It makes sense you clean the air filters in your car and house why not clean the desktop?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2360862
        CraigS26
        AskWoody Plus

        Someone posted here previously to tape the — cardboard tube from a paper towel roll (maybe flatten round end) — to Vac to prevent Static Electricity issues. I’d prefer Vac to Blow-at …..

        W10 Pro 20H2 / Hm-Stdnt Ofce '16 C2R / HP Envy Desktop-Ethernet/ 12 GB / 256G SSD + 1 TB HDD / i5-8400 CoffeeLake-S / GP=2 + FtrU=Semi-Annual + Feature Defer = 1 + QU=0

        • #2360863
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Good thought, but actually paper can store static electricity. Imagine the situation, when paper is “sticky” – two papers are attracted to each other or even the paper sticks to your hand and you cant shake it off. Vacuum cleaner hose is not conductive too (its plastic most of the times) and still it can electricaly charge. I would say I blow gently 😁😁 can with compressed air has small and long outlet, that allows you to reach areas, that are usually difficult to clean or vac.

          Oh, now I see you mean the roll from paper towels. OK, now I get it.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2360865
        Ascaris
        AskWoody MVP

        My desktop PC uses a Corsair computer case (760T) with a dust filter built into the grille for the fan intake on the front. It has a latching mechanism where a quick press unlocks it, and it can then be blown out or rinsed off.

        Filters on fans reduce airflow, and the better they clean, the more they reduce the airflow, so this filter isn’t able to stop dust particles, but it does prevent cat (and human) hair and other fibrous debris from passing, and it is these longer strands that allow dust to build up over heat sinks and create what looks like a little felt pad that blocks airflow. The case is dusty inside, but it doesn’t build to the point of blocking heat sinks or airflow. It’s been years since I blew out the dust, and it’s a very dusty environment (cat present, on the floor, in an area with low humidity and a lot of dust naturally), but the heat sinks are clear of obstruction and the temperatures are well within normal limits.

        There are add-on filters for cases that don’t have them available from various vendors. Some are nylon mesh screens (the type mine uses) that stick on with small magnets, while others are thin bits of foam. You could try adding these and see what happens with the temps… if they are okay with the filter in place, it should work well to keep the dust from building up inside. Without the fibers from hair, clothing, carpet, etc., the dust doesn’t really build up.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

      • #2360870
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        @Steve, your not the first, and you certainly won’t be the last!
        Posted back in February about this and my methodology for keeping a lean machine clean.
        That tower is also on Win7 Pro ESU and breezing along nicely with Windows Update killed off 🙂
        Note: Ours is situated on a desk, not on the floor where it actually attracts more dust over time.

        W10, the itch you simply cannot scratch!
      • #2360929
        ClearThunder
        AskWoody Plus

        I have cats.  And computer inlets love cats.  Cat hair and dander, to be precise.  I have to remove the cover of my desktop and shoot it with canned air once a month.

        Meow.

        "Censorship is thought control" ----- Ronald Reagan

      • #2360987
        anonymous
        Guest

        My school got me a MetroVac DataVac about 12 years ago and can recommend it for this type cleaning.  Our PCs get blown out at least every summer.  If they’re really bad, I take them outside, like someone else suggested.  It’s also great for blowing paper clips and Dorito chip bits out of keyboards.

      • #2360994
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Here is something else for you:

        I have a Mac laptop (MacBook Pro, of a recent, but not too recent, model) and the fans inside very, very, very rarely can be heard running. At all. Most of the time, they are like the light inside the fridge: what happens when the door closes? What happens when, for weeks and weeks, I don’t hear them? Are they ever running? They are a real mystery to me.

        In any case, opening the box of this laptop to clean up its insides, fans included, is way beyond my tool-using skills, with a large number of these really tiny pentalobe screws to remove (and not lose) if one wants to get it open. Am I going to buy myself a pentalobe screwdriver and a box of magnetic points for it, to see if I can get one of the right size? No, I am not.

        So I just ignore them. Not the first time I do this.

        I have had four computers at home, three running Windows and now this Mac, in succession, each for at least seven years before replacing it and buying the next one, and I have never, ever cleaned their fans. Not once. And have never noticed anything being amiss with these computers, thermally speaking. I had to replace the first three, eventually, because they were no longer adequate for what I needed to do with them. The fans had nothing to do with that.

        Am I an extremely clean person? Does my own place sparkles with spotless cleanliness? Do I live in a place where the air is of pristine quality? No, I am not. No, it does not. And no, it isn’t.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • #2361027
          Ascaris
          AskWoody MVP

          Do you have pets?

          Pet hair loves to clog heat sinks and fans. While I’ve solved that issue in my desktop by using a case that has a built-in filter, my laptops still get clogged fairly easily. I’ve had my Dell G3 a little over two years and I’ve pulled wads of junk out of the fans at least 3-4 times by now. I just clean them each time I have the case open, which is fairly often, for one reason or another. The amount of junk I pulled out was significant each time.

          I also had to replace one of the fans a while ago in the G3, as they apparently used really cheap (poor quality) fans. The old one still worked, but had gotten noisy. On the good side, a replacement fan cost something like $8, so it wasn’t a big deal. It only takes a few minutes to swap it out.

          If I were to buy a Macbook, I’d have the pentalobe screwdriver on hand before the computer even got here, probably. That was how it was for my Dell XPS, which uses a Torx T5 (very tiny) screwdriver to fasten the outer case. I bought a screwdriver set that had the correct Torx bit before the PC got here. Then I got another screwdriver of the correct size as a freebie with the replacement G3 battery I bought, even though the G3 just uses standard Phillips screws for the outer case.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

      • #2361040
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Ascaris: “Do you have pets?

        Aha!

        No, no pets, and maybe this deserves an explanation. I live in an apartment and, unlike most people living like that, don’t like the idea of keeping smart creatures such as cats, dogs, cockatoos, that have evolved roaming in large open spaces, confined inside mine most of the day. Particularly canis lupus familiaris, the people-friendly and often part of the family, wolf. I do love  dogs and cats, and they usually love me back, each in their own canine and feline way. I have a way with dogs in particular, it is easy for me to make friends with them, even those that are not friendly to people generally. As a boy and a teenager I lived in houses with significant backyards and some of my blood relatives had fair-size places out in the country. It was OK to have dogs there. But no, I don’t keep them, or cats, with me now, although I sometimes really miss not having one around.

        So, OK, maybe that’s why. And maybe, who knows, I also have a knack for buying computers with good quality fans? But those fans in my Mac are really something else.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • #2362102
          wavy
          AskWoody Plus

          I live in an apartment and, unlike most people living like that, don’t like the idea of keeping smart creatures such as cats, dogs, cockatoos, that have evolved roaming in large open spaces, confined inside mine most of the day. Particularly canis lupus familiaris, the people-friendly and often part of the family, wolf

          Gotta second that Oscar. My last 3 next door neighbors have had big dogs in a 2 b/r apt. Its a dogs life for them. At least the current one gets walked for a while, the previous maybe 2-3 minutes tops. Cats seem to do ok in an apt IMHO.

          My computers are in a combo kitchen/ living room and are subject to a fog of cooking oil dust tens to stick to surfaces. My solution is to build my boxes with filtered air entering the box and the box under pressure so that the only ingress for air is via filters.

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    Viewing 11 reply threads

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, no politics or religion.

    Reply To: Clean up your act.

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.