September 22, 2018

Clean Your PC

My PC, which was once very quiet, has been quite noisy of late. Initially, this was worrisome, as I feared the noises, which were clearly coming from some rotating device, indicated that my hard drive was about to fail. On careful listening, however, it didn’t seem like the hard drive was making the noise.

Like many computer users, I keep my “desktop” machine on the floor under my desk. I knew that the fans in the computer tend to suck in dust, a particular problem because I have two cats who cannot seem to keep all their fur attached. Once before, I wiped off the accumulation of dust from the perforations on the side of the computer and decreased the noise made by the PC by doing so. That trick didn’t work this time. Almost certainly, the fans designed to keep everything cool were working very hard to move air through an accumulation of dust and making unusually noises in the process.

I opened the case and began a more thorough cleaning. My computer contains three fans, each of which can suck in dust. There is a small fan at the back of the power supply, a larger one below it ventilating the case generally, and a fan mounted atop the CPU heat sink. In each case, I used the suction function of my vacuum cleaner to remove dust. I also dusted other components with a soft bush, a shaving bush, actually, which comes in handy for such tasks.

When finished, I replaced the side panel of the case and turned on the machine. I now hear only the slightest hum, but I have become acutely aware of the noises made by my refrigerator.

If you are hearing loud whirring sounds from your PC, you might want to try cleaning it as I did mine. It’s a good idea to remove power from the computer first. Keep metal implements away from internal components. Oh, and be careful with that vacuum cleaner. Don’t let it get near anything other than a fan intake.  I inadvertently sucked up a USB drive that was lying nearby and had to retrieve it from the dust bag.

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