Dust! Your (Computer’s) Hidden Enemy

You keep your house or apartment fairly clean regularly, don’t you?

Maybe not every day, but at least you keep the dust from accumulating and wipe up spills, right?

You most probably keep check on everything beneath the hood of your vehicle or have someone do it for you on a regular basis, just to keep it running well?

Of course! you say. The place where you live and the vehicle you depend on are important to you. Outside of where you work, they are also where you spend a lot of time.

So, how much attention do you give to your computer?

Sure, you use it fairly frequently if not everyday, though you probably only call someone when it has a problem you can’t fix. Maintenance? What for? It’s working, you say!

But you probably depend on it as heavily as the vehicle and the roof over your head.

But when was the last time you cleaned out the dust from inside it?

Or cleaned out the keyboard from all the soda spills and cookie crumbs and, yes, dust that has been accumulating in between the keys? Have you noticed that some of the keys don’t seem to press and release as quickly as they did when you first got it?

Dust in your house may cause you to sneeze or just look unsightly after a while (especially when the ‘dust bunnies’ become more like tumbleweeds rolling across your floors), but it can cause overheating in your computer (both desktops and laptops) which can either shutdown (the least effect) when you’re in the middle of work or corrupt your operating system while abruptly shutting down.

Depending on how bad the corruption, the age of your hard drive, and the type and ‘newness’ of your operating system, will all depend on how easily you can recover and get back to work.

Sure, you can always go out and buy a new keyboard, but can you get one late at night or on a holiday when the keys are sticking or not working on your current one and you have something due TODAY? What about the keyboard on your laptop? Think you can just go down to your local (if you have one) computer store and get a replacement and install it just as easily as one for a desktop?

Quick tip:

When you vacuum your place, do the same for your computer. Be certain to shut it down first!

Let’s take the simple one first – keyboards.

Stick the dusting brush (sometimes called upholstery tool) on the end of the vacuum cleaner hose and go over the whole keyboard slowly. You’re trying to loosen any granules and dust that are sticking to the sides of the keys and the area beneath. Natural oils from your hands stick to the keys and so does the dust and other matter. Keep moving the brush from one side to the other, also up and down, in a sweeping motion for a couple of minutes. You can also use compressed air, in this case, to dislodge any stubborn particles, followed by the vacuum.

If it’s a desktop, remove the cover and using the wand (the narrow extension tool that is used for corners and edges in a room), carefully go across all the surfaces including any cooling fans (Make certain not to touch any electronics!).

If it’s a laptop, using the vacuum hose without the wand, carefully press the open hose end against each of the air slots on the sides and/or bottom to suction out any dust. Using compressed air in those areas only breaks up dust accumulations and pushes the dust further inside to the other components.