PC Maintenance Tip: Clean Out The Trapped Dust Bunnies in your Case

Any idea what a major contributing factor is to the failure of the electronics in your desktop computer case?

Heat, Heat and more Heat.

The build up of heat can cause the computer boards, connections and other elements in your computer system to fail early.

That is why you see so much focus on good ventilation, not only as part of a computer case itself along with the fans to move air in and out, but also where you place your CPU case when setting up a new PC.

You want to make sure there is plenty of room for your case fans to draw in fresh air to blow over the electronics in your system.

Naturally, pulling air in and out of a case also allows dust particles to be drawn into it because none of our homes are clean rooms and dust is simply a fact of life for the majority of us.

That means you need to take the time every month or so and pull your case out of its dark and confined home and open it up to expel those trapped Dust Bunnies.

Dust Bunnies want to be free so you are actually doing them a favor by regularly clearing out your case.

To do this and not trash the area around your computer desk completely unhook the CPU case from all of your peripherals and connections and take it outside or in your garage with the door open. Remove both side covers with a screwdriver and then using an inexpensive can of compressed air blow out all the vents and the inside crevices of your case.

Once you have freed all the Dust Bunnies you can put the covers back on and take it back inside to plug all of the peripherals back in and start your computer back up.

If you do this process on a regular basis your PC will run much cooler and it will be less likely that your components will experience early failure due to heat build up.

These pictures show the inside of a computer case I recently worked on and what it looked like before and after I cleared out the dusty inhabitants.

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That is four years worth of build up and you should have heard those Dust Bunnies squealing for joy as I let them out of the case!

12 thoughts on “PC Maintenance Tip: Clean Out The Trapped Dust Bunnies in your Case

  1. I’ve come across hard drives with some type of rubber boot completely covering the hard drive. Is it really necessary for anything as I’ve had a few die an early death (From heat build up?) I’m really temped to pull that cover off as I don’t really see that much purpose for it. Thanks . . . .

    • Dale – I have never seen a boot like that but suspect they were used for some type of additional protection. If you are not using that device in a harsh environment then it might be OK to remove it.

  2. I have a Compaq CQ60 that runs very hot. How do I remover the back cover? and which one? There seems to be several back panels. Thanks

    • With a laptop it is not that easy. Disassembly can be challenging without experience. I still recommend that you blow out those vents regularly and make sure the fans are running . Try to angle the air so it does not just blow the dirt further inside.

  3. I prop my Dell Vostro laptop up with one of those sturdy cardboard corners that you find on the crate appliances come in, such as window ACs and washing machines. I easily sawed it to size and keep a spare in my computer case.

    I also bought a mini tower fan that I lay on its side next to the laptop. I saved the box it came in for traveling purposes if I will be using my laptop for extended periods of time away from home. The combination of prop and tower fan keeps my laptop cool. I quickly notice the difference when I don’t have the fan on (if I’m recording my voice, for instance).

  4. I had hoped the author would expand further on the placement of the CPU to improve circulation and airflow. Many computer desks are *not* CPU friendly, in that they provide a closed cabinet with little-to-no ventilation. (My own has just a small cutout area in the back for ventilation for the cpu cabinet.) My CPU is on the desktop itself – I’d much rather have the neat appearance of having it hidden away, but I’d also rather not have to replace it when it dies from overheating in the enclosed cabinet!

    • Excellent point about where the CPU is located. It should have an open area to sit in so it can get fresh air to circulate through the case. In fact, I remove the door to that CPU area on my computer desks to help with that.

  5. The same thing goes for external hard drives that have fans in the cases.I recently lost a network hard drive due to the fan being completely filled with dust and it over heated

    • You are right on the mark as anything with a cooling fan pulls in dust from its surroundings and has the potential to create heat issues.