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Cleaning a Desktop Computer

Every computer needs to be cleaned periodically, especially if you use the computer in an office and around a lot of paper. The inside of all computers sucks in dust, which gets trapped in the processor heat sink and fan. This can slow down the processor and eventually cause the processor to overheat. Therefore, it's necessary to clean the inside of your computer to remove dust to keep the computer running longer.

Total Time: 1 Hour





  1. Unplug the cables from the back of your computer and place the computer tower on a flat surface.
  2. Lay the computer tower flat on the table and turn the computer around so you can see the connector panel and screws on the cover.
  3. Remove the two screws on the top cover. The top cover is the cover that is above the cable connectors on the motherboard. Afterwards, remove the cover from the tower. You will need to pull the cover towards you.
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  5. Locate your memory chips. The memory needs to be removed first from the motherboard. Gently press down on the two white tabs located on both sides of the memory. Lift the memory up when the tabs have been pushed and the memory is unlocked from the motherboard.
  6. Next, remove the heat sink and processor fan. There is a black latch on the heat sink unit. Lift the latch up to release the heat sink. You might need to use a flat head screwdriver to gently wedge the heat sink away from the tabs it is attached to.
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  8. Once the memory and the heat sink unit is removed you can now use a small brush or paint brush to gently glean the motherboard. You just want to remove the dust from the motherboard. Do not press hard when cleaning the motherboard. You can damage the motherboard or break some of the smaller components located on the board.
  9. Use the brush to clean the processor fan. If you can't remove all the dust from the fan and heat sink, youll need to remove the 4 screws holding the fan in place. Make sure to remove all the dust that is embedded in the heat sink.
  10. Replace the fan on the heat sink unit. Hold the heat sink unit so you can look through the unit. You should be able to see through the unit with no dust blocking the inside of the unit.
  11. To replace the heat sink unit you'll need to start from the back. Move the medal bar to the back of the unit and locate the small plastic pin on the back of the motherboard. Hook the square on the medal bar over the plastic square on the motherboard. Push the medal bar forward and press gently down to attach the unit to the motherboard. Once in place you will move the level to the left to secure the heat sink to the motherboard.
  12. Align up the memory chips on the motherboard. The memory needs to slide into the posts. Once in place gently press down on the left and right side of the chip until you hear it click into place.
  13. Make sure all the dust is out of the inside of your computer before closing the lid and replacing the screws.
  14. The computer I am cleaning hasn't been cleaned in 6 years. The computer started to overheat and shuts off. The extent of dust inside this computer can easily burn up the computer, start a fire, or destroy your processor.
  15. I normally clean the dust out of my computers every two to three months. This ensures the processor doesn't overheat and the computer functions as new.


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