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Dust inside (tm) - What's the longest period you haven't blown dust out of your computer(s)?


UCyborg
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Few days ago when I turned on PC, it took 3 extra seconds to start POST then BIOS showed only half of RAM (2 GB out of usual 4 GB). I rebooted it, still took extra 3 seconds, but remaining RAM returned. It seemed to work as usual otherwise, I said I'll worry about it next day. It occurred to me the next day it must have been 3 years since I've blown the dust out and didn't get around to it this summer despite the intentions.

Took it to garage where the family has a small and noisy air compressor, opened the case and started blowing the dust out. Quite a bit of it accumulated in many corners and the amount of dust that came out of the CPU cooler (the silver part) was a bit shocking. Thought I had it all and it still came out on the second sweep. The CPU cooler is a bit massive, it's an Akasa AK-968.

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Combined with Aerocool V-Touch Pro case with big 400 mm fan, dust has an easier time getting in, so really shouldn't forget about it the next time around. Graphics card remained the cleanest.

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When I put it back together, the POST started when it was supposed to. BIOS was reset since I removed depleted CMOS battery a while ago and didn't bother getting a new one, so set everything back like it was before.

Yesterday, I checked if jack sensing works by any chance now since it hasn't since last year, at least when it comes to standard green 3,5 mm jack for speakers/headphones at the back, so had to use software workaround to get the sound since the system thought there isn't anything plugged in. I restored EnableDynamicDevices registry setting in Windows to default, disabled and re-enabled device in Device Manager (the High Definition Audio Controller under System devices) and the sound still works. Also normally get the Not plugged in status if I unplug the headphones. So obviously don't need the equivalent setting on Linux anymore neither.

All is well in the end. :cheerleader:

So thought I'd open a thread about it for others' to post their (dusty) experiences here.

Edited by UCyborg
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I'd say My Famicom was newer disassembled and cleared, but after someone pushes me back with his oldie spectrum, Probably some dude is about to say "Mainfraime i made my bachelors on was never cleaned" ;)

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5 hours ago, NotHereToPlayGames said:

Longest without blowing dust?  Roughly 14 years!  And then ONLY because I had to replace the motherboard battery.

Maybe I have a better housekeeper than you?

Correction - 16 years!

My Compaq Presario SR1520NX with AMD Sempron 3100+ was purchased in December 2005.

It's all original and the case was only opened earlier this month only because of the BIOS battery because this computer doesn't stay plugged in all the time anymore.

I was using it for XP x86 SP2 (waste of time), then tried installing Chromium OS just to see if I could (never could), so then it went back to XP x86 SP3.

Was going to install Salix (sp?) on it but have since decided I won't waste my time with another Linux distro, tried too many over the years and were all "fun" for a week or two but never fit my needs "long term".

Though truth be told, this computer sat unused on a shelf "gathering dust" for roughly 2 of those 16 years.

But never was any dust blown out until I replaced the BIOS battery just this month and at that point why wouldn't you blow it out once you're this far in?

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Reading discussions at other places it does seem to be on the list of regular maintenance tasks for lot (not all) of folks, it ranges from really often on a monthly basis (some of those report very dusty environment), 3 - 6 months, 6 months to a year, 1 - 3 years. Some apparently even replace CPU thermal paste often, first time I hear of that phenomenon, Intel's site says it do it every few years, last time I did it was about a decade ago when I replaced stock CPU cooler, paste still functions as far as I can see.

8 hours ago, NotHereToPlayGames said:

Maybe I have a better housekeeper than you?

I'm my own housekeeper. :ph34r:

6 hours ago, Dixel said:

Did you choose this case voluntarily ?

Yes, though I was going for the version without the huge fan since it seemed a bit of an overkill, but wasn't in stock where I was shopping and didn't feel like going for entirely different case.

Edited by UCyborg
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11 years. My original trusty Pentium 4 tower with antec sonata case was last time cleaned in 2009 after antec psu blew up and I never cleaned it after that until last year when did full cleanup and rinsing (mainboard and electrics off case) to it.

Dust had gotten into fan bearings making them hard to spin so had to swap fan.

 

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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12 hours ago, UCyborg said:

Yes, though I was going for the version without the huge fan since it seemed a bit of an overkill, but wasn't in stock where I was shopping and didn't feel like going for entirely different case.

Seems like chinese manufacturers still fail to distinguish PC cases from vacuum cleaners  ...

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Most of my hardware was received used, more than 10 years old, often poorly or not maintained. As my systems get older and precious, more energy is spent refurbishing hardware. For me the 1-3 year category is ideal, these systems don't run 24/7. A sticky is placed on the tower after cleaning, noting the date and whether the processor was re-seated with fresh thermal paste.

Priority is given to systems with the most estimated runtime. My shop is indoors so a vacuum and dry brushes are used. Everything gets pulled, contacts cleaned and re-seated. Power supplies are given special attention, opened up and thoroughly cleaned. One power supply was so dirty it is doubtful there was any cooling airflow.

Congratulations on fixing your audio jack @UCyborg.
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  • 3 months later...

That reminds me, I really need to look into dust covers for external USB ports. Palouser, my daily driver workhorse, has dust covers for the X99 SABERTOOTH motherboard's own ports ... and the case, a NZXT Phantom 820, has removable dust cover for the top panel. However, the problem there is that I'm always using some of those ports ... and so dust has gotten into the ports I don't use.

Beyond that, the Phantom 820 has a lot of mesh that catches some of the dust, and the fans have their own dust covers, though over time dust still does get into the case. I usually try to dust out Palouser once a month, especially now that I've mostly switched from canned air to a DataVac. Far more expensive, but also VERY worth it for most dusting applications. (Canned air would still be better in some specific hard-to-reach detailing though.) But given I'm presently relegated to renting bedrooms, I don't always have the opportunity to take Palouser outside and do some dusting. So, often the computer goes two or three months or more without dusting.

In the past when I was living at home, my computer would go up to half a year or more without dusting though ... and whenever I would eventually go through the motions of dusting the poor girl out, so much dust would have accumulated that once I took the family's ShopVac to her, it'd be like someone set off a smoke bomb!

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Systems with standard cases (desktop, pedestal, rack) get cleaned out fairly regularly. Perhaps only because something needs to get upgraded or replaced such as fans.

Don't forget about notebooks! Those are my worst offenders for sure.

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I clean them with a strong hair dryer with the heat element removed usually once a year or when I happen to open my case for some reason I take the opportunity to clean them.

Edited by XPerceniol
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