Cleaning Your Computer Case

If your PC's insides are dirty, that could make for a sluggish system. if your PC overheats (the motherboard monitor beeps) toward the end of the evening, even though your home or office temperature is cool, odds are that your computer's case is full of dirt, dust, and other crud. If you have a pet, the system is likely to be loaded with hair, too. Here's what to do to clean out your case:

 1. Before opening the case, unplug everything including power cord,
    phone line, cable modem, and Ethernet cables. After opening the
    case, touch the power supply to discharge any static and to ensure
    that you and the inside of your PC are at the same voltage.

 2. Start by removing the foam filters, if your PC has any, on the fan
    vents. Gently clean the filters in a mild solution of dish soap and
    cool water, and let them dry before putting them back into place.

 3. Remove large clots of dust by vacuuming the fan vents from the
    outside of the case. However,be very cautious about vacuuming
    inside the case. Don't touch the motherboard or any add-in cards.
    At most, just suck away the dust that is lying on the base of your
    tower and on the bottoms of the system's empty drive bays. And avoid
    using brushes on components. Alternatively, if the weather is dry
    and not too cold, carry the PC outdoors, and bring along a can of
    compressed air.

 4. You may be tempted to spin the fan blades of the CPU's heat sink
    with a gust of air to clean them, but don't. The fan can't take
    the high RPM's. Your best bet is to hold the fan and then blow with
    the air. Next, use a cotton swab with a weak alcohol solution to
    finish cleaning each blade. Carefully blowing the dust from between
    the blades of the heat sinks is even more important than cleaning
    the fan. Place the nozzle between the fan blades and along the open
    sides of the heat sink until no more dust flies out.

 5. Finally, if your computer sits on the floor, put it on rollers.
    Raising your computer off the floor, even just 6 inches, will
    reduce the amount of dust that gets sucked into the fan vents.
    You can use a small furniture dolly, available at hardware and
    home appliance stores.