Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Clean a Laptop?

Cleaning out a laptop computer is just as important if not more important then a desktop.  Laptops are small and often dissipating heat quickly and properly can be a problem.  As such even a small amount of dust can cause a laptop to overheat!  Unfortunately cleaning a laptop can be more difficult due to their small size and depending on how the laptop was designed (in other words how hard the manufacture made it to be taken apart).  The laptop I will be using as an example for this post is an Asus N90S.
Similar to cleaning a desktop, you will need the following supplies:
  • Laptop’s manual!
  • Damp Rag
  • Screw Driver (most likely small!)
  • Vacuum (make sure you use a non-metal end!)
  • Compressed Air
Before starting, make sure you power down the laptop and remove the battery.  Once power down, start by cleaning the outside of the laptop, including the keyboard, trackpad and screen, a vacuum and some compressed air work good for the keyboard.  Be sure to vacuum off any vents on the bottom or side of the laptop.
Once the outside is clean, consult the manual to determine how to access the cooling fans and cooling fins.  If your lucky you may be able to access them from the bottom without having to remove anything; however, more than likely you will have to remove at the minimum a cover or two.  With my laptop, there is a single cover that covers the majority of the components as well as the cooling fan.  There are six screws which require a small screw driver to remove.
bottom of laptop indicating srew locations
Once I have removed the screws, I can lift the cover up.  Be sure to place the cover and screws in a safe place!  Once the cover is off, I can use the vacuum to vacuum of the fan and as much dust as possible.  Next I will remove the fan to move to access the cooling fins, there is a screw on each side that needs to be removed.  Also make sure to remove any power cables to the fan.
bottom of laptop with cover removed indicating fan screw locations
Once the fan is removed, I can use the compressed air to blow out the fins, make sure to blow from the inside of the laptop out!  With my laptop, there are two sets of fins back to back; one for CPU and one for the video card.
laptop with cooling fan removed
Once done, simply reverse the steps, screw the fan back in, plug the fan power cable back in, and screw on bottom cover.  If the laptop had a lot of dust in it; you should notice an immediate difference once you power on the laptop!

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