The one thing they never put in the user manual: keeping it clean

You’ll probably need to unscrew two of these

Something that never fails to amaze me is the total lack of basic maintenance advice that comes with computer equipment. The manual will give you little pictures that don’t quite correspond to the model you bought, showing where you’re supposed to plug (nearly) everything in. It will tell you about shielding and voltage. It will do this in a good dozen languages.

It may tell you not to eat sandwiches over your keyboard, for reasons of hygiene. Same goes for one-handed surfing, guys.

What it will not tell you is how to open the box to clear all the fluff, dust and animal hair out of the vents where it collects at a frightening rate. It is vitally important that you do this regularly, especially if you have animals in the house or office (Veterinary practices, are you listening to me?), since:

clogged-up vents => overheating => slow-running computers liable to crash

Not to mention the danger of components burning out.

Generally, all that’s required to open the casing is a medium Philips screwdriver and a bit of patience if it’s the first time, as some manufacturers make their cases harder to open than others, or change the system with every new case (DEEEEEEEEEEELL). Use  a soft brush to clear vents (away from the hardware, please); then a good wipe down of surfaces with a clean, soft cloth; and maybe use one of those canisters that blows compressed air to clear the circuitry if it’s started to get dusty.


Check out this gallery of horrors assembled by The Register for more on what can happen to an insanitary PC.

So let’s all sing along, to the tune of that Foo Fighters song:

Keep It Clean

Keep it clean, the PC tech said keep it clean
Keep it clean, the PC tech said keep it clean
Surfing all night, got a hankering for something
Better sit at table if I’m gonna eat some muffins
Mmmm, Sounds so fine, yes indeed

Keep it clean, once a month you better keep it clean
Keep it clean, once a month you better keep it clean
Ain’t looking for a crash, ain’t looking for trouble
Let’s get the vents all clear before they fill up with gubble
Hey, compressed air, ain’t she sweet.

Rubbin’ and a-puffin’ and a-scrubbin’ and a-dustin’
Maybe if we’re lucky there won’t be nothin’
Know what I mean, Keep it clean


Go on, bother me. You know you want to.

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