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Does your computer need a cleanup? All computers do now and then. This inlcudes laptops, not just desktops. Symptoms of a dirty computer can include, but are not limited to, extra noise, crashing of the computer, random freezes, slower performance (some CPU's will slow down their speed to reduce temperatures, but thermal is not usually the cause of slow performance), premature failure of components (due to overheating) - especially fans.

I would recommend you clean your computer at least every 6 months. If your house is extra dusty, you smoke, or you have pets, then you should do it more often. Your computer will get lots less dust if it is higher off the floor. If you open up your desktop and you see anything like the following pictures, it's time to clean it up.

A Very Dirty Computer
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A very dirty CPU heatsink and fan.


A very dirty fan intake.


Another dirty CPU, notice the dirt buildup on the capacitors on the motherboard as well.

To clean your computer, you will need a can or two of compressed air (about $6 at Walmart or Officemax or Cost-U-Less) or an air-compressor with an air nozzle. If you use compressed air, try to keep the can upright so the propellant doesn't come out frozen which may cause damage. If you use an air compressor, don't aim it near a fan when the PSI is over about 60 PSI unless you are very careful. Don't spin the fan blades very quickly, you can easily break a blade or damage the bearings which will make you buy a new fan. If you do damage a fan (listen for weird noises when the computer is running), I would recommend replacing it ASAP, if your computer overheats it can permanently damage it.

I would also recommend you do this outside, there may be lots of dust inside it and if you blow it out inside it will just circulate until it lands somewhere.
 




 
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