One of the worst things for any electronic component is “heat”. Cooling is essential for electronic components! Every six months I clean the inside of my system and perform maintenance on the electrical contacts of each card. REMEMBER Grounding is essential always when performing maintenance.
Semi-Annual Hardware Cleaning
Over a period of about six months your system regardless of its location will build up dust and debris on the fan blades within the system. The heat sink atop of the processor builds up enough dirt and debris to clog the natural air flow around and over the processor.
I remove each fan first, and clean with simple green, taking note of the fan blades as to re-install correctly when finished. (I have inadvertently placed one in reverse, instead of pulling air out of the case, I was feeding ambient air into the case, because I did not pay attention to the fans orientation upon removal.)
Processor & Heat Sink Cleaning
After you clean all case fans, then turn your attention to the processor heat sink/cooling fan, remove it carefully and then separate the two components. Clean both the fan and the heat sink.
NOTE: There should never be any reason to disturb the processor, however for me I can’t resist. I re-seat carefully the processor and lock it into place. Sometimes the (heat dissipating paste) will make you think that the heat sink and the processor are glued together, because the paste becomes hardened over time. Thus the reason to NOT over use the paste. Re-assemble all components and replace. You now have a clean air circulation corridor over the major components.
Remove each card (one at a time), using an eraser preferably a (white) eraser, clean all the gold contacts front and back of every card. Using a can of air, blow out each card slot. Replace the cards and seat firmly. Remove card readers, or using air blow out all card ports. You can clean the contacts as mentioned above, but is not recommended unless you are having trouble reading your cards. Open the DVD tray, using air blow out from front to back your DVD, while the case is open. Open the door of the floppy, if it is installed and blow out dust from inside. Remove the power supply and using compressed air blow out any dust, debris from the power supply. DO NOT ATTEMPT to open the Power Supply, this will VOID the warranty, and there are components inside that could kill you, if discharged.
Replace the power supply and plug in component power cables.
Support the case open side DOWN, and using canned air blow out the entire case, removing any dust and debris. Replace case cover, after a final check of all power and data cables, card seats, processor cooling fan etc.. You now have a clean hardware system. I recommend this twice a year for a dependable system.
Now your computer is clean and can “breathe” again.