It’s what’s inside that counts. You can shower three times a day and sprinkle rose petals everywhere you walk but that won’t help keep you heart from exploding from a steady diet of deep fried Twinkies and Jolt Cola. Computers need the most attention inside. If a computer is left untouched the inside becomes a condensed mess of dust, dirt, animal and people funk (yeah, it’s that gross). Add smoking into the mix and you have this congealed yellow goop on everything. This includes any type of smoking,. Cigarettes, cigars, pipes and the wacky tabacy (yeah I am looking at you hippies!) all stick to the computers insides. Now after reading our previous post on computer cleaning – Part II – you are ready to continue here.

Dirty computer video card heat sink close up.

If air can't easily pass through the computer heat sinks then the components are exposed to heat and die an early death. This video card was completely furry when we started. It should look clean like the bottom.

Wind Blows. Computers generate a good amount of heat during normal operation. The heat is generally removed from the computer with fans of varying size and speed. This constant flow of air ensures that any environmental pollutants have their shot at getting into your computer. Once things start to get dirty the airflow is reduced and the extra heat is a prime cause of hardware failure for computers.

DIY Jitters. It’s natural for most people to not want to open up their computers. On the surface it seems like a complicated mess of wires, circuits and complex doohickies better left for the computer nerds at the local shop to take care of. In reality … it is! This post is going to be covering cleaning though not open heart surgery (aka CPU replacement). This is the equivalent of opening your car’s hood to clean out some leaves not replace the engine. You don’t have to be an experienced technician to clean the inside. You do however need a steady hand and a little patience as the first time can be intimidating.

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After reading our Part 1 computer cleaning primer I am sure you are ready to get started on the process. You did read the primer right? If not, check it out, we covered all the tools you need to properly clean your computer. In this section we will cover the process to clean the outside of your computer. This includes the case, cables, keyboard, mouse and monitor(s). This process applies to both Desktop and Laptop computers.

Why worry about the outside of the computer?

Finger print covered computer.

This once gloriously shiny computer has been funk-i-fied. George Clinton would not approve of this funk.

First. The outside of the computer tends to be a reflection of the inside. If the outside is looking pretty rough then it’s a safe bet that the inside is even worse.

Having the inside really dirty is the cause of most overheating issues.  When you take the time to clean the outside you are more conscious of the computer in general. You will be more likely to notice issues that are on the horizon like clogged fans, cracked plastics, partially connected cables and so on.

Second. As with everything else in life the computer is a reflection of you. This is obviously more of a factor with laptops. Are you toting a laptop with old sticker residue, finger funk and a hospital floors worth of germs into business meetings? Probably not the best impression to make but we still see it all the time.

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Physically cleaning your computer is just as important as keeping the operating system and software up to date. Failure to properly clean your computer can lead to a variety of issues ranging from system slow down to processor failure and data loss. The primary concern with a dirty computer is heat. There are secondary concerns, like your nephew jamming quarters into your DVD slot, but heat is the number one computer killer. Some environmental  influences can’t be avoided so your best weapon against the problem is some regular maintenance.

Rather then put off cleaning until you need a professional repair, take the time to get to know your computer and how to properly keep it clean.

In this four part series we will go over how to clean your computer properly. We will cover cleaning of both Desktop and Laptop computers.

Dirty computers are a leading cause of hardware failure.  Learning how to clean your computer can help prevent costly repair.

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