Clean a Computer Tower

Edited by Alexander Avdeev, Shelley, Eng, VisiHow

Thus dust, collected, has summoned woes,
And we, not dawdling and not raising our brows,
Take weird earthly tools that help us now
Under the tutelage of VisiHow.

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Welcome! Our VisiHow team is eager to resolve any problems you might have with your computer! The current instructional video demonstrates how to clean your desktop tower-case computer. We will be using a can of compressed air.

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If the video below does not work for you, then you can check this link.

You should clean your computer tower every 3-6 months, depending on the environment and air quality in your home. For example, if you have a lot of pets or live near industrial buildings, you might need to follow the instructions in the video once per season. Always remember that just blowing the dust out of the computer parts is fine, but a can of compressed air will assist you better since it has much more power. It is very hard, if not impossible, to reach some parts inside without a can of compressed air.

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If you have any dust allergies, wearing protective glasses and a breathing mask will fend off allergies or coughing. Furthermore, placing a big room fan to the side of the computer will prevent dust from getting into your face. The whole process should be performed outdoors, if possible.

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Things You'll Need

Prepare the following tools:

  • a can of compressed air;
    • you can buy a can of compressed air in a lot of computer stores; always remember to keep the can away from the sun and heat sources, do not drop it, and keep it in a vertical position when using.
  • a Philips-type screwdriver;
  • (optional) a clean paint brush;
  • paper tissues;
  • (optional) a vacuum cleaner that can blow.
    • If you are using this type of air blower, please remember that you have to hold the rotors (the middle round part) of any fans with your finger, as they might break under the strong jet of air. Old cylinder vacuum cleaners had that function, but there are new expensive models that can do that too.
  • A very dirty computer.
  • Unfortunately, technical dryers are too weak for cleaning computers.

Steps

Follow the steps below for a clean, dust-free computer tower.

  1. 1
    Disconnect all of the cords coming out of the computer.
    These may include:
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    • the power cord;
    • the amplifier, speakers, or headset connectors;
    • the mouse PS/2 or USB connector;
    • the keyboard PS/2 or USB connector;
    • the monitor VGA or DVI connector;
    • the Ethernet cable.
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  2. 2
    Check how the panels are fixed.
    The right and left panels may have screws or locks. There might be a big one cover with no side panels at all, as in some Hewlett-Packard or very old IBM PC AT computers.
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  3. 3
    In our case, we need to remove the left panel first.
    The left panel is at the left side if we look at the frontal side of the case, which usually has optical drives where Blu-ray discs, DVDs, and CDs are put in. We remove the panel by unlocking it.
    Please remember that opening your case may invalidate or shorten your warranty.
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  4. 4
    Clean any excessive dust from the case with a paintbrush or tissue.
    You can blow the dust out, but it may land back if you are using anything but a vacuum cleaner blower. See Step 10 to find out why using a piece of cloth may cause some problems.
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  5. 5
    Take a can of air or a vacuum cleaner that blows air instead of sucking it in.
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  6. 6
    Clean all of the surfaces covered in dust, including all of the electronic components.
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  7. 7
    Some computers may have a video card and a sound card installed.
    You can remove them so that their fans or radiators can be cleaned. To remove a card from the slot, remove the screws holding it.
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  8. 8
    Check if the slot has a lock.
    Locks need to be pulled either down or towards the motherboard to release the card.
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  9. 9
    Blow air into the radiator and the fan to clean the GPU cooling system thoroughly.
    We might make a VisiHow video on how to take the cooling system of a video card or CPU apart to replace or clean it. Please check back often!
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  10. 10
    Clean the card with a paintbrush.
    I am using a piece of cloth in the video, but the problem is that an excessively dry cloth may damage your equipment with static charge, and a wet cloth can cause shortcuts. If you want to get in detail about it, please inform us in the comment section below. If you use a piece of cloth to clean the computer, be careful with the equipment, as the cloth may get stuck in the metal pegs and break something.
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  11. 11
    Now, we can clean the disk drives.
    There is a tray that holds the hard disk drive. Remove the tray and clean the hard disk drive. The disk drive can be held by rails or just screws from both sides, so that you will need to remove the right panel too. See Step 14 and Step 15 for the instructions on how to remove the right panel.
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  12. 12
    Clean the fans.
    Clean the CPU radiator and fans by blowing air between the ribs of the radiator. The most important thing is to clean the CPU. Sometimes, CPUs slow down in order not to overheat, and cleaning the dust will even speed up your computer. Detect the points from the inside where the fans are. These are going to be the dirtiest. We might make a VisiHow video on how to renew your fans by greasing their rotors. Please check back often to see if there is such a tutorial.
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  13. 13
    Clean the back side of the computer.
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  14. 14
    Now, let us remove the right side panel.
    Remove the screws holding it.
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  15. 15
    Pull the right side to remove it.
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  16. 16
    Blow the dust out of the reachable areas inside the right-panel area.
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  17. 17
    Remove the front panel by locating the locks.
    Push them out.
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  18. 18
    Unless there are any other extra locks, just twist the panel to remove it completely.
    Be careful not to break the locks, so do it slowly and prudently! Some frontal panels might be fixed into the case. Especially those with contemporary LCD screens. Some other panels might be accessed only by removing the top panel.
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  19. 19
    Blow the air into the frontal part to clean it.
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  20. 20
    Locate the tray or basket on the frontal panel that may have a fan inside.
    It is an optional component, and it may not be in your computer case. However, if the tray is there, locate the locks for the tray and push them to remove it.
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  21. 21
    Clean the fan tray thoroughly and place it back.
    Place it back by putting the lower locks into the holes first.
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  22. 22
    Install the cleaned internal hard disk drive back by pushing its tray into the slot and placing the holding screw back.
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  23. 23
    Install the cleaned internal cards back by pushing them into the slots and placing the holding screws back.
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  24. 24
    Clean the frontal cover from the inside.
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  25. 25
    Place the frontal cover back by adjusting the right-side pegs with the holes.
    Then push on it to lock it.
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  26. 26
    Optionally, remove the power source unit by removing the screws holding it.
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  27. 27
    Unplug it from all of the devices, cards, and motherboard.
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  28. 28
    There is one screw hidden under the right side panel.
    Remove the right side panel if you placed it back. Loosen the hidden screw to remove the power source unit. Be careful and watch out for the unit. It may fall down onto the components if there is a specific configuration of holders and screws.
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  29. 29
    After you clean the power source unit, place it back and reconnect it.
    To do that, do everything in reverse from Step 28 back to Step 26.
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You can close the left side cover, plug every cord back in, and use your clean computer! If you have any questions on how to clean your computer, please leave them in the section below. Thank you for watching VisiHow!

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Video: Clean a Computer Tower

Tips and Tricks

  • Make a habit of wiping dust off the grating areas on the case before using your computer. You will note where dust collects more often. These areas are usually for sucking in colder air.
  • Try to place your computer on a firm, low stand. The stand must be firm enough to prevent your computer from shaking and low enough so that you are not subjected to its noise.
  • Some computers have built-in thermometers that show the temperature inside of the computer case. Make note of the usual idle and load temperatures at a certain room temperature and clean the computer as soon as it starts to go over the noted temperature by 2-3 degrees.
  • Clean your room using a vacuum cleaner as often as possible.
  • Never put your computer right against any objects. There should be space for free air flow. A minimum of 7 inches should suffice. Do not set objects on your computer case.
  • To clean other computer parts, please refer to another VisiHow article at Clean_Your_Computer.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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Article Info

Categories : Hardware

Recent edits by: Eng, Shelley, Alexander Avdeev

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