Clean Your Computer

To Keep Your System Up And Running

Information on cleaning your computer from True Blue Assist

Clean Your Computer Like Any Other Asset

Just like your home, car, dishes, or anything else you own, your computer requires proper and thorough cleaning periodically. If you neglect this relatively easy procedure your computer may overheat from dust build up and this overheating can ruin internal parts. Cleaning isn't a huge procedure, however it will take half an hour to an hour. This article discusses some of the procedures we use to clean your desktop computer. We'll discuss how we clean the inside area of the computer, where all those important and delicate components are located. If your computer needs cleaning right now, you can contact us at 360-823-8880 to set up an appointment.

How Often Does A Need Cleaning?

Ideally, your computer should be cleaned once or twice a year. Depending on where your computer is located, you may need to clean your computer more than once or twice a year. Many industrial locations are very dusty and dirty; without some kind of ventilation a computer can become dirty inside very rapily. If your computer is located on the floor it is in a very unclean environment. A floor location allows more dust, skin cells, hair, carpet dust, and debris to lodge inside your computer. However, if you locate your computer above the floor, on a desk or table, these particles have less opportunity lodge inside your computer. Cigarette, cigar, pipe, and other recreation smoking is terrible for your computer (and your lungs). The chemicals and ashes and chemicals accumulate in your computer's fans on the other components of your computer. In a workplace environment, there may be more opportunity for contaminants to lodge inside a computer if doors to the exterior are opening and closing, people are coming and going, or computers are close to other industrial equipment or noxious material in the air.

Pets, Food, And Your Computer

Do you have pets, or other animals in your computer area? If you ever see pet fur anywhere in same room as your computer it's certain that your computer fan has been working hard and actually pulling those tiny fur particles into your computer. Fur can clog and foul a computer fan very rapidly because it is so fine and twists once it gets onto the fan blades. Once inside your computer animal fur can cause overheating rapidly, so you should be very diligent in makking certain your computer is properly cleaned if you have lots of pet fur, or other animals, near your computer area.

It's also not uncommon to eat or drink next to your computer, but be aware that you should have your computer and its peripherals cleaned more often if you do. With all this being said, if you found yourself guilty of anything mentioned above, we recommend a computer cleaning every 3 to 6 months. As always, if your computer starts getting hotter than usual, we recommend turning it off. Then call us at 360-823-8880 so we can help you determine why your computer is overheating. There are a number of causes for overheating; for example the fan in your computer may be malfunctioning and various computer components including your hard drive. Cleaning often stops this problem, however, it may not, so you should always have a thorough inspection of all computer parts when they are cleaned.

Steps We Take To Clean Your Computer

Preparation

First we turn off all electrical power and remove all power cable, video cable, and printer cables. We make certain no cables are attached to your computer before proceeding to the next step.

Cleaning a computer is not particularly dangerous, however, we prefer to perform this procedure in a well ventilated area and with good lighting. Often, in industrial businesses, computers are located in very dusty surroundings. Sometimes we need to use ventilation masks if the conditions are particularly dirty. We frequently advise clients to provide a clean location for computers even if they must build a separate room. Occassionally, we turn on a vacuum to pull dust from the room environment, but not from the computer itself, because this can cause damage to the computer components.

Tools

We don't need a huge number of tools for cleaning, but we do use some very fine tools for maniuplating wires. We rarely use a vacuum cleaner in the area around a computer. If a work location is quite dirty we will remove the computer and place it in a clean location. Also, we never use a vacuum cleaner directly to clean the interior of the computer. Vacuum cleaners of any size create static electricity that can potentially burn out important electrical components on your computer motherboard, video card, and other places. A much better tool is compressed air to blow dust and debris off the computer; it is far less dangerous.

We use a full set of screw drivers plus our special compressed air that is designed specifically for computers, and a cleaning cloth for cleaning your computer. Additionally we sometimes use zip ties, scissors, cotton swabs, and termal paste. We also use small paint brushes to sweep away dust where compressed air just can’t reach. There are occassions when innovation and creativity are very useful. The computer cases and component packaging can be exceptionally tight and oddly shaped making accessibility difficult.

One mistake we encounter when we go on-site following a do-it-yourself cleaning disaster is the removal of the central processing unit (CPU). This is rarely necessary in a routine cleaning. The problem occurs when replacing the CPU. There is a thermal paste that is used to transfer heat from the top of the processor to the CPU fan that must be replaced each time the fan is removed. When we follow up on the DIY situations we often see that the thermal paste has not been replaced and this causes overheating or the computer simply will not work at all. If the CPU is undamaged, we can re-install with a new layer of thermal paste and get your computer running again. When we perform routine cleanings we typically do not remove the CPU and CPU fan during cleaning because almost no dust ever lodges into the CPU socket.

Cleaning

To start the cleaning process, we begin with all the peripherals that we remove from the computer. We use the can of compressed air and spray a burst of compressed of air onto any area with a large amount of dust buildup. When we are cleaning a video card that has a fan, we'll often use pencil or pen between the blades to stop any spinning when blowing the air onto the fan.

Next we clean inside the computer case. We will remove anny dust particles that are lodged inside RAM slots. We make certain to repeat this procedure for each RAM slot inside the computer case.

After we finish with the RAM slots we will clean the larger pieces of equipment inside like the power supply unit and the CPU fan. We keep the fan blades from spinning with a stick, pencil, or screw driver when we first blow compressed air onto the fans for cleaning. These pieces of equipment are sometimes very dirty and sometimes amazingly clean, we will make certain to clean and inspect them as we go through your machine. It has been our experience that even small amounts of dust can have a negative impact on a computer's performance so we don't want to overlook anything.

Occasionally dust just does not blow out, so we use a cotton swab to lift dust particles from the fan by rubbing the swab against the blades. Dust particles can become very sticky over time and the cotton will attract the dust when the compressed air sometimes will not loosen the dust. The computer case may still have dust clinging to it, so we clean it again with cloth to wipe any remaining dust particles. Dust can become electrostatic, so it may take more than one wipe down to remove all the dust material. And, finally, we'll tak a look around the case and inside the box to make certain we cleaned all the fans, enclosures, and ports.

Uncluttering Those Cables

We like to make certain your cabling is uncluttered. Large manufacturers use assembly lines to construct computers and they like to use as little material as possible. Your typical PC sytle computer comes with just enough cabling to do the job and those cables are tightly wrapped. Custom built computers however do not come with tightly wrapped cables; they have cabling designed for easy access for installation and repair. So, there are often lots of loose wires inside the box. Also, if you've had upgrades added to your computer, it may have a considerable amount of extra wiring dangling about. We can clean up any wiring mess at this time with zip ties and wrap the wiring for you. This will keep CPU fans, other fans, and other hot elements of the computer from scraping or touching the cables.

When it's time to clean your computers, call True Blue Assist at 360-823-8880.

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