All computers, whether desktops or laptops, contain cooling systems for their processors and internal components. Computer processors handle millions of calculations per second, each requiring electrical charges to work. After a while, the processor will overheat if not properly cooled. Manufacturers often install a series of heat sinks and a cooling fan to draw heat from the processor.
However, if the fan becomes clogged with dust, the processor might not cool properly and malfunction. For a small business with limited resources and tight deadlines, malfunctioning laptops could be disastrous. An easy way to clean your fan in your laptop is to remove the cover, blow away loose dust, and wipe the fan blades with a soft cloth.
The air inside a can of compressed air is dust-free, making it ideal for cleaning the dust from a keyboard or inside a laptop, including its fan. These cans are usually inexpensive and available at most stores that sell computers and, in some cases, even pharmacies or dollar stores.
On the other hand, a can of compressed air is not exactly environmentally friendly. Each can is made of metal and plastic that are fused together and can’t always be easily recycled. Moreover, compressed air isn’t always available when you need it. It’s not wise to let a computer overheat due to a dirty fan just because you don’t have access to a can of air. If you’re careful, you can clean the laptop without compressed air.
Dusting Computer Without Compressed Air
Unplug your laptop from any power source and place it upside-down, preferably on an anti-static mat.
Remove the bottom panel of your laptop. Different manufacturers construct different types of laptop enclosures, but most employ screws that can be removed with a small Philips-head screw driver. If the screws are particularly small, a pair of tweezers, electronics forceps or needle-nose pliers are useful to remove the screws from the casing. Put the screws in small cup or dish and, if they are different lengths or sizes, make a note of each screw’s location. The cooling fan should be plainly visible once the inside of the laptop is exposed.
Hold the fan in place with your finger, so that it does not rotate. Never remove the fan, because removing parts without advanced knowledge of the hardware could damage the processor or its heat dissipaters.
Clean the face of the fan with the cloth, gently rubbing dust and dirt away from the center. As the cloth gets dirty, clean it off or use a different part of the cloth to continue cleaning. Having a clump of dust fall inside the fan could defeat the purpose of cleaning it.
Wipe the vents on the inside of the laptop with the cloth, as well as any other open area where dust has accumulated.
Gently blow into the fan to dislodge dust that may have fallen into the fan. Repeat the process until the fan is clean. When finished, replace the laptop’s bottom cover. Items you will need are Static-Free Mat and Lint-Free Cloth.
Never remove hardware from the computer unless you have knowledge of the computer’s working parts. Also, never use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust; the machine could cause static discharge that could damage sensitive hardware, even if the laptop is not connected to a power source.