Inside your computer case is a forgotten land for most people. It’s assumed that the things “inside there” run all the time, and you only need to open up the case when you want to add more memory. If you have ever opened up a computer to upgrade the memory, more than likely you were greeted by a layer of dust, dust bunnies, and even Fido’s dog hair! Not only do these particles of destruction get in your way when trying to install new memory, they can wreck havoc on your systems’ performance, reliability, and longevity.
Dust inside of your computer can cause a variety of symptoms that may be mistaken for other issues. Some symptoms of dust related issues are:
- Your computer freezing up randomly
- The computer crashing with the “blue screen of death”
- Hardware failure (including cooling fans seizing up)
- Computer over heating
Dust inside a computer can cause internal temperatures to rise 20* or more! A 20* increase in operating temperatures can be lethal to the delicate circuitry inside a computer. The dust can also cause the bearings in the cooling fans to seize, eventually making the computer over heat and die. If it gets to this stage – you could easily be faced with having to replace the whole computer.
Maintenance is the key to disaster prevention. There is more to computer maintenance than running defrag every month and downloading software updates. At minimum, you should have your PC serviced by a professional, including an internal dust cleaning once a year. A professional will ensure all of the dust is cleaned out of your system, and verify all of the cooling fans in your PC are working as expected. You can expect the annual maintenance service to cost between $100 – $200. Monthly maintenance, in the case of businesses, can vary from $25 to $100 per system, depending on the level of maintenance performed each month. The prices will vary based on what is actually done, as it can vary from service provider to service provider. Some may just clean the power supply, while others may go as far as using a q tip and alcohol inside the case (the later may be slightly overkill). You’ll want to ensure you find a happy medium, making sure that all of the cooling fans, heat sinks, power supply, and circuit boards are thoroughly cleaned off. In addition – annual maintenance should cover a thorough check and updates of your software and hardware. Coming around in a full circle, routine maintenance can also lower your overall maintenance costs.
In a business environment – you should have maintenance performed on a more frequent basis. In dust heavy environments, such as manufacturing, or a construction site, you will definitely want to ensure that your maintenance package includes internal dust cleanings on a more frequent basis. It’s best to have a qualified professional come onsite to evaluate your systems and environment, and then help you develop a plan that meets your needs. You will be rewarded with a longer lasting, and smoother running computer system. Who doesn’t want that? Please ensure that you clean where the sun doesn’t shine, at least once a year.