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Updated on April 7, 2009


Over time, the system unit collects dust — even in a clean environment. Built up dust can block airflow in the computer, which can cause it to overheat, corrode, or even stop working. By cleaning your computer once or twice a year, you can help extend its life. This preventive maintenance task requires a few basic products

•  can of compressed air — removes dust and lint from difficult-to-reach areas

•  lint-free antistatic wipes and swabs

•  bottle of rubbing alcohol

•  small computer vacuum (or small attachments on your house vacuum)

•  antistatic wristband — to avoid damaging interna] components with static electricity

•  small screwdriver (may be required to open the case or remove adapter cards)

Before cleaning the computer, turn it off, unplug it from the electrical outlet, and unplug all cables from the ports. Blow away any dust from all openings on the computer case, such as drives, slots, and ports. Vacuum the power supply fan on the back of the computer case to remove any dust that has accumulated on it. Next, release short blasts of compressed air on the power supply fan. Then, use an antistatic wipe to clean the exterior of the case.

If you need assistance opening the computer case, refer to the instructions that came with the computer. Once the case is open, put the antistatic wristband on your wrist and attach its clip to the case of the computer. Use the antistatic wipes to clean dust and grime inside the walls of the computer case. Vacuum as much dust as possible from the interior of the case, including the wires, chips, adapter cards, and fan blades. Next, release short blasts of compressed air in areas the vacuum cannot reach. If the motherboard and adapter cards still look dirty, gently clean them with lint-free wipes or swabs lightly dampened with alcohol. When finished, be sure all

adapter cards are tightly in their   expansion slots. Then close the    case, plug in all cables, and attach the power cord. Write down the date you cleaned the  computer so you have a record    for your next cleaning.

If you do not feel comfortable   cleaning the system unit yourself,    have a local computer company clean it for you.


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