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By Amy Lynn

Average computer users don't often think about cleaning the inner workings of a computer or laptop. But it is the most common issue with users throwing away computers, or laptops. Why? Because if a computer or laptop is running all the time, and the CPU fan is never cleaned, you can burn up your processor and your motherboard. A dirty computer CPU fan can choke cooling and slow down the hard drive resulting in a dead computer or laptop.

Don't be afraid of opening up your tower or laptop to clean the CPU fan, but you will need to be cautious, as you don't want to lose the screws. You also don't want to have any liquid near by when you decide to undertake this challenge. Be sure all pets and children are away as well.

Cleaning the CPU fan in a desktop computer tower is a lot easier than you would think. Before starting this project you will need a screw driver, either a can of compressed air, or loads of q-tips or maybe even both.

Be sure to unplug your computer desktop tower before you begin.

As soon as you take your cover off the tower, looking in you will be able to see the CPU fan right away. Before reaching in your computer's tower you need to prevent static damage to the inside of your computer, discharge static electricity from your body before you begin.

Be careful when scooping out the dust out of the CPU fan to not spread it to other areas. If you with to remove the CPU fan, it will have 4 screws. It's wired into the motherboard so you won't be able to pull it out fully unless you unplug it.

Several older computers say that the processor is null and void if you remove the heatsink from the CPU. So compressed air comes in handy in that case. The heatsink is the metal base under the fan that contains about 10 - 20 rows in it. That is usually always full of dust as well, which is why I take the fan off. If I'm going to jump into taking something apart I want to do a full job. Not leaving it half way clean only to clean it again in 6 months time. I do not recommend removing the heatsink from the CPU. If you do so you may be very sorry, as there is a cushion on the bottom of the heatsink that sticks to the CPU. It's also very hard to get the stupid latch to go back in place through the heatsink. So, do so at your own risk.

Once you have cleaned out the CPU fan, both sides of each blade, and the heat sink you are ready to put the cover back on, but before putting the cover back on your tower, be sure to check that all the vents both sides are free and clear of dust and debris. When you place your tower back where ever you had it, be sure it's not placed directly against the wall covering your vents to the fan you just cleaned.

Be sure to unplug your laptop and perhaps remove its battery.

Before reaching into your inner workings of your laptop you need to prevent static damage to the inside of your laptop, discharge static electricity from your body before you begin.

When dealing with a laptop, you must be extremely careful with the screws, as they are very tiny and can often go places you can not even see. Besides that, a laptop is a bit easier as everything is so easy to get to when you open it up. Much like the tower, you will want to make sure the cover you just took off, both sides of the vents are free and clear of dust and debris.

Usually on laptops there are only 2 tiny screws and a latch holding the CPU fan cover in place. Then you can easily clean the fan and the vent in front of it. Be sure to clean both sides of the fan's cover that you removed to access the fan.

If you don't have compressed air you can blow hard through the vents to get out any stuck dust. You will have to get your mouth very close though. Be sure that the debris doesn't go into the other areas of the laptop.

When your CPU fan sounds like it's about to take off like a plane, it's time to clean the fan. When you start with a clean fan and listen to the tones day in and day out you will learn when it's time. An early sign of your fan needing replaced is clunking sounds when you first boot up your desktop. I've worn out many fans in my time. So don't be too surprised if only after a year or two you have to get a new one.

If you have any pets and carpet in your house you may have to clean your CPU fan at least once a year.


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