Barring user error, kitty fluff is the number one cause of data loss. While that might be a fact I completely made up, the truth is that if you do own a cat, other sheddy animal, or are a smoker, it’s likely your cooling fan has some gunge in it. Some might not consider that to be much of a problem, but having puppy hairs in your fan means it isn’t working efficiently and isn’t cooling your hardware to a reasonable operating temperature.
Hot hardware can have problems—especially your hard drive (where you keep your kitty videos). Although researchers are developing hard drives that can handle higher temperatures, it’s still best to keep your hardware at the appropriate temperature to maximize its lifespan and to avoid failure. Here at StorageCraft, we promote taking care of your equipment so you only need backups for legitimate emergencies or hardware upgrades, not because you didn’t clean your equipment.
That said, I love kitties but they’re awful fluff monsters and it’s important to keep fur, dust, and other air-traveling chunklets out of your cooling fan. Even non-smoking, non-pet owners will eventually have fans clogged with dust, so it’s worth it to clean your fan if you never have. And luckily, it’s quite simple. Here’s the lowdown on how to cut the fluff (with a little help from a PC World article):
– A small Phillips-head screwdriver
– A can of compressed air or small hobby-size air compressor
First, turn your laptop off. Turn it upside down, and pull out the battery. Find the air vent on the side of your laptop, and the corresponding access panel on the bottom.
Next, unscrew the panel and remove it. The fan should be right beneath it.
You may want to go outside for the next part; it gets messy. Use the compressed air or air compressor to blow the dust and fluff out of the fan (using your mouth is a BAD idea; it’s not an NES cartridge). If you use an air compressor, take care in selecting the pressure setting as a burly puff of air can cause damage—you’re trying to avoid future damage, not create it. Hit the fan at all different angles and be sure to get as much out as you can while you blow in the direction of the vent in the side of the machine, and not towards other components.
Once you’ve got it clean, replace the panel and battery and fire it up. If you didn’t break anything (which you didn’t, because you were careful) it should be quieter and spin a lot more smoothly.
This is a task that many computer users overlook, but it’s important to keep your equipment clean. Schedule a few regular cleanings to make sure it gets cleaned often. Or buy a MacBook if you’re not a fan of er… fans.