When Should I Clean My Laptop (Internally)September 5th, 2009 by James | This article was viewed 14,075 times.
Have you ever wondered how much dust could be stuck inside your laptop? Dusts collect and grow, and can be damaging when it completely blocked your laptop’s air ventilation. Dust is laptop cooling system’s worst enemy, but how would you know how much dust has been collected and when should you clean your laptop?
What can dust do?
First, let’s talk about how heat is dissipated from laptops. An effective heat dissipation system would be a fan blowing on a lot of copper plates called “Heat Sink”. If you increase the number of copper plates, you have a better cooling system.
However, there is a pitfall if you introduce too many copper plates. If a clump of dust is bigger than the ventilation hole (the distance between copper plates), then dust will stuck and accumulate. It is just a matter of time before a sponge of dust emerges and blocks the ventilation holes.
When that happens, air blown out from the fan can never reach the heatsink. And your laptop overheats, as the temperature reaches its maximum threshold, your computer will shut itself down to avoid damaging the electronic components.
Dust collecting around the fan would also damage the fan, resulting in an extremely loud and inefficient laptop fan.
Symptoms of a Dirty Laptop
Laptop gets very hot earlier than expected
If last year your laptop wasn’t hot at all when you are using word processing software and now you can feel the heat while doing the same thing, there could be dust accumulating inside your laptop.
No Air coming out from the heatsink
Occasionally feel for released air coming out from the heatsink (usually located at the back) of your laptop. The air could be very little, but enough for your hands to feel it.
If you can’t feel anything coming out, chances are the air ventilation is blocked.
A very good method to check for dust is to test your laptop with your favourite 3D game that sucks up a lot of resources from the laptop. Then compare it with the performance when your laptop was still new.
Play the game for 30 minutes, if the game lags and your laptop gets extremely hot, it is time to clean your laptop. This is how I determine when to clean my laptop
Clean your laptop once a year
A rule of thumb I often use before was to clean my laptop once a year. I’m not talking about wiping the screen and keyboards. I am talking about disassembling the laptop and cleaning it from the inside.
Would Cooler Pads Help?
This is one of the most popular questions asked by anybody before disassembling their own laptop. Since disassembling your laptop comes with a little risk, seeking an alternative way could be a solution for some people.
The answer for the question is of course yes, it helps. It’s just that the downside is if your laptop rely on cooler pads to cooldown, it has lost its portability.
So here’s a suggestion, if you are afraid of risking your laptop due to the disassemble operations, get a cooler pad. Otherwise, disassemble the laptop yourself.
I have compiled some laptop disassembling guides at the Laptop Disassembly page. I am doing my best to expand the guide, so if you live in Sydney, don’t want to buy a cooler pad and want somebody to disassemble your laptop, I can volunteer to help.
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