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Spring Cleaning Tech Tips: Getting Down And Dirty With Dust

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Dust, clogging computer vents like those pictured here, can cause serious problems. (Credit: Timothy McLaughlin)

Dust, clogging computer vents like those pictured here, can cause serious problems. (Credit: Timothy McLaughlin)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On this, the first day of spring — and all this week — we’re taking a look at spring cleaning for your computers and other electronics.

If the vents on your desktop look like a science project, it’s likely all that dust is really affecting your machine’s innards.

“After this happens, the fan speed is reduced, which in turns raises the temperature inside the computer,” and that can lead to big problems with fried components, says Josh Perri, the head tech at SATA Computer Repair in Norwood.

Get a can of compressed air from an office supply store. Unplug the desktop, unscrew the cover, and spray the power supply box, disc drives, and ports.

“The fans are the most important, because that’s what keeps the computer cool.”

Perri says to hold the can about six inches from the electronics and use short bursts of air, aiming the flow so dust is blown out, not in.

Laptops are trickier; newer models have panel access to the heatsink, where dust buildup can be fatal to a system.

Experts at Microsoft recommend setting the (powered down) computer upside down on a table, removing the battery, and unscrewing the panel that groups together the vents.  Carefully spray compressed air inside.

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