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Dust and computers

Computers, or any form of electronics for that matter, and dust are not friends. Unfortunately, they seem to be in a “love hate” relationship, as electronics will always end up attracting dust.

At work, I’ve slowly started cleaning out various computers, mostly old Compaq Deskpro flatbeds. They have never been cleaned to my knowledge, and it shows. They are absolutely filthy inside, it’s just not funny šŸ˜•

I’ve discovered that thereĀ are 2 “kinds” of dust, one which is a fine brown/grey powder type dust, and one which is gray and fluffy. The grey one coats all the internal parts, and is a pain to remove, it nevers seems to clean off except with a wet cloth, which you cannot use on sensitive electronics. That leaves me using a soft paint brush, and when I get it, a can of compressed air.

I’ve heard that using a vaccum inside a computer is a risky thing, unless it’s a specially designed computer vaccum. I have one of those as well, but unfortunately it’s not too effective.

The grey fluffy dust can usually be carefully picked up and thrown into the bin, but sometimes it breaks apart on you as you are lifting it up. giving you a little dust cloud of joy lol. Oh well, back to the paintbrush then.

Getting to the point of this post, the main things that I’ve seen dust do are as follws: heat your computer up, and make it more noisy. I recently cleaned out a Pentium D 3GHZ that was hitting 60+ degrees, even while idle, and causing it’s operator to get numerousĀ alerts. This made no sense, as there are other ones at my work that do not do that. I opened it up, and I discovered enough dust to last forever. Gross šŸ˜”

Eventually, after giving it a super cleaning, I put the system back on. Temps dropped by 20 degrees to hover around 40 when idling, which was far better. The area the computer is in used to get a lot of foot traffic, which was not helpful when you had a horrible carpet nearby. Since it’s the reception area of a school, that area gets a lot of traffic, so it’s understandable that so much dust can form.

Of the Compaq’s I’ve cleaned out, most have gone very quiet afterwards. So quiet I can hardly hear them in fact. Dust clogs up the CPU heatsink, causing less efficient cooling. It also coats the blades of the fans(s), which again also causes a reduction in performance. When you are running small fans like those computers are, every little bit counts.

Anyway, my battle with dust is just starting, as I have plenty of targets to dust this coming week. Time to get a face mask when dusting lol.

Categories: Computer Hardware
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