Tips for Dusting Out Your Desktop PC


An Initial Remark

You’ve probably used a desktop PC before, so you know that it consists of a screen, input devices (such as a keyboard and mouse), and a central processing unit (the “box”). But, what does the box contain? What shall we call it, by the way? Some people have been told that the container houses the central processing unit. However, the CPU actually resides within that enclosure. As a result, the term “PC” or “computer” more accurately describes the box into which all peripheral devices plug.

But what else do you have stored within your computer? Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ll be washing and dusting.

Source of Energy

System Board

Drive, Hard


More than 2 Adorers

Materials Required

An average-sized flat-bladed or Phillips-head screwdriver

Optional: Vacuum cleaner

Dust mask, no. 3

Dust Off, etc., Compressed Air Can for Cleaning

The First Step: Disconnecting All Cables

Make that the computer has been properly turned off before disconnecting any cords from it. Take a look at the rear of your machine now. Look at all those wires! Taking a photo of the rear or making a mental note of which port each cable goes into is a good idea now. Let’s cut the cords now. Except for two, they’ll all just leave. Cables for the computer screen and the internet connection.

A Note on Display Adapters and Cables There are primarily three types of monitor cables. You can choose between VGA, DVI, or HDMI. The HDMI variety can be easily detached. There are no thumb screws on an HDMI cable, so you can tell it apart easily. Two thumb screws are used to fasten the cable to the connection on both VGA and DVI cables.

Remove by rotating the screws anti-clockwise until the connector can be pulled free. If you can’t loosen these screws by hand, a flat-blade screwdriver should do the trick. Warning: when reassembling this connector, the screws should only be tightened until they click into place. They could be damaged if you try to tighten them.

A network cable can be thought of as a very long telephone cord. Squeezing the clasp will release the cord quickly and easily.

After unplugging your computer, locate a stable, level surface on which to set it. It’s preferable to clean in a well-ventilated outside space. But the table in the dining room will have to do. In case you’re allergic, you should know that there will be dust in the air. Now might be a good time to wear the dust mask, if you have one.

Second, take off the side panel.

The computer will now be laid on its side so that we may remove the cover from the top of the motherboard. Put the computer on its back so you can see the rear of the case. Now, using both hands, gently tilt the computer to the left until it is resting flat on the desk. The time has come to start taking out screws.

You’ll need a screwdriver to remove the final two screws from the side panel. Phillips-head, flat-head, or thumb screws are all fair game. (Some manufacturers, like Dell, use a different method to open the case, which may involve a lever or buttons.)

The panel may be slid toward you once the screws have been removed. About half an inch will be moved before it stops. The side panel can be removed and stored safely now.

There should be no more hiding the motherboard, power supply, or hard drive and optical drive cages from view. A case fan or two may also be present. If, however, you discover a second metal panel and what appears to be the underside of the motherboard, you should replace the first panel and discard the second.

Third, clean up the mess!

Read and follow the instructions carefully before using compressed air. To prevent frostbite and plastic damage, keep the can upright and out of direct contact with the ground. To direct airflow in the desired direction while keeping the can upright, bend the nozzle.

Make sure the motherboard doesn’t come into contact with the vacuum’s hose or attachments. The majority of the dust we collect is in the air, as it is being released by the compressed air.

The huge box with the squishy mass of wires protruding from one end is the power supply. One or two people are interested in it. Now inspect the power supply case for openings that allow air to circulate. Here is where the compressed air will be released. Cleverly, while blowing compressed air into the vents, you can operate the vacuum close to the fan. While you’re working, airborne dust will be greatly reduced. Keep an eye out for dust that has settled on the edges of any vents.

CPU Cooler and Motherboard – A huge metal block with fins and a fan attached to the top can be found on the motherboard. Here we have the central processing unit’s cooler. The next step is to clean up here. Turning the computer back upright may be necessary to maintain the correct orientation of the compressed air. Direct the airflow so that the dust is blown away from the metal block’s fins. There may still be dust on the fan, and the only way to get rid of it is to take it apart. This is to be expected and is the usual for this type of surgery.

The Final Steps and Case Fan Computer cases are built with vents that allow hot air to escape and cool air to enter. The use of an exhaust fan is commonplace. A few people might even have multiples. Check for any vents and blow them out. The fins can be cleaned with soft tissue if one is available. Last, but not least, look over the chassis and any drives. The vacuum cleaner could come in handy around here. In most circumstances, a few quick blasts of air from an air compressor should be sufficient to clean the drives. After you’ve finished reassembling your system, plug in the power cord.

Why not have a professional service clean your computer? In addition to our other services, such as updates and hard drive repair, Friedens Tech Services also offers internal PC cleaning.

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OnStar, DirecTV, and Bluetooth wireless were all projects on which Mr. Frieden worked. In the field of electrical engineering, he has worked in design, development, and technical writing. He has extensive experience with assembling, fixing, and connecting cutting-edge computer equipment.

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