Preventing Computer Thermal Issues

Dennis Foote- Systems Engineer

This week, I had a client that was having random shutdowns.   I first thought that it might be the hard drive or the system board.  After noticing that the fan was not spinning, I knew it was probably a thermal issue. Thermal issues can cause a slew of problems.  These can range from computers and notebooks unable to start to failed hard drives and even worse - a burnt CPU.

How do you take care of your computer and have it maintain a normal temperature?  First, it is important to keep it in an open, well-ventilated area.  Enclosed areas are traps for dust and lint.  The grime will eventually make its way into the machine and wreak havoc on your fans and internal parts. To make things worse, there is always humidity.  Sometimes, I will even see dust buildup become moist over time and cause shorts on a computer’s internal parts, such as hard drives and added video cards. Keeping the computer away from a window may save you from this.

Cleaning a computer is important.  Notebooks are much harder to clean and for the most part should be kept in the open and on a clean surface like a desk or a table. Computers are can be forgotten about when it comes to cleaning around a tight cabinet or on the floor next to a desk. Because a desktop can be opened and cleaned from the inside, it should be done once every 4 months or so. All desktops can be opened from a side panel and cleaned out with a can of air fairly easy.  A vacuum can be very dangerous so I don’t recommend using one for static electricity purposes. A can of air will cost you about $4.00 and can be found most places you find office supplies.