As I stressed in my last post, dust (and pet hair) are problems that need to be addressed. Since almost all computers have fans which draw in room air and circulate it over the computer components to cool them, these same fans suck in all the loose pet hair and dust into your machine. It is good computer hygiene to periodically remove this material from your fans, vents, and heat sinks in the computer.

If you have a vacuum with a hose (and brush attachment), the first thing to do is vacuum the front, back and sides of the machine, clearing as much accumulated dust as possible. Before you ask, no, it is not the same to use a can of compressed air to blow out the fans and vents. This simply forces the detritus into the computer! Next, if you feel comfortable opening the case, you should use the hose with a crevice tool to remove as much caked on and loose dust as you can without pressing against any fan blades or heat sinks.

After the majority has been removed you can use a jet of compressed air to clean out the fans and heat sinks. It is advisable to gently hold the fan blades while blowing them out rather than spinning them at excessive speeds with the compressed air. Any clumps of dust loosed by the compressed air can be vacuumed out now. Reassemble the case cover.

For monitor cleaning, you should always follow the manufacturers recommendations and use the recommended cleaning method. If there is excessive dust on the screen, loosen it with compressed air or GENTLY wipe with a damp cloth before final cleaning. For many years, I have simply used a good streak-free glass cleaner (like regular Windex) on a lint-free cloth (like a diaper) or a good paper towel (DO NOT SPRAY ANYTHING DIRECTLY ON THE MONITOR!)

Desktop keyboard keys can be cleaned the same way as the screen, and if there is stuff (technical term) inside the keyboard like crumbs, the keyboard can be turned upside-down and shaken or gently blown with compressed air. Do NOT use compressed air on laptop keyboards because you can dislodge the keys and on most keyboards, this is irreversible. They just don’t go back on.

Next time we will look at scheduled maintenance to keep your machine in top running condition.