Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Clean Computer is a Happy Computer

Recently, I was asked to troubleshoot some issues a friend was facing with his home computer.  The symptoms were as follows: after using the computer for a while, his internet connection would seem to stop working for no apparent reason.  He would go through some steps to reset the connection, such as power-cycling his DSL modem and rebooting his computer.  This would bring the connection back up for a while, but it would soon fail again.  Not too long after this starting happening, his computer started to spontaneously turn off.  We’re not talking a blue-screen-of-death, or even just a natural shutdown.  We’re talking one moment it’s running fine, the next it’s turned off.

He brought his tower in to my office to have me take a look at it.  The first thing I suspected, with the sudden loss of power, was either a bad power supply or heat issues.  Knowing he had just replaced his power supply not long ago, I decided to crack the machine open, turn it on with the case opened, and see if he’d lost any fans.  What I saw when I opened it shocked, appalled, and frankly sort of impressed me.

I had not seen dust like that in a long, long time.  It looked like someone had emptied their vacuum cleaner bag into his computer case.  Half an hour and three air cans later (I’m only slightly exaggerating), I finally started to recognize some of the internal components.

I’m still working on his computer, but I’m going to guess that most of his issues stem from the amount of dirt and dusty he had allowed to accumulate under the hood of his computer.  Many computer problems can be avoided entirely by ten free minutes every month and a can of compressed “air” from your local Walmart.  Take it from someone who has seen all sorts of failures: it’s a small hassle that will prevent huge failures in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tux,

    I had opened my desktop the other day and I saw a jungle in there of dust that had taken up huge swirly shapes... just like with your friend's computer...
    I eventually cleaned it out, but it was funny and weird too...