Friday, 17 June 2011

Computer decoke.

Last night I found out what was making the computer fan scream every time the antivirus scanned. Removing the thick layer of dust over the grille cured it.

Then I had one of those Really Good Ideas. You know, the ones that start with 'This will be brilliant' and later turn into 'What the hell was I thinking?' It seemed like a good idea to disassemble the computer and de-dustify it completely. I mean, the thing is seven years old and has been quietly cleaning the house by sucking all the dust into itself.

I have it all back together now and it seems to be working okay. I had forgotten how many wires were plugged into the back of it and how few of them could be plugged in before shoving it back into the restricted space it lives in. I freely admit to swearing like a toothy clown.

Right. Out with the booze, time to read the papers. That's something best not done sober.


Anonymous said...

I've made the same mistake, and it's too late for both of us to decide what to do with all the leftover screws.

If it helps anyone else: I've found the computer support guy in the office just uses a canned air duster spray in the vents, and it works.

Anonymous said...


digital camera. Use it at every step.

Fan - deftly use an artist's brush. Compressed air or a vacuum cleaner also good but beware overspeeding the fan. The bearings are usually cheap and will quite happily fail.

ISTR that early PCs suffered because they relied on inhaling air through their floppy drive slots. In those days, programmers smoked. I should know - I was one of them.

In reality, of course, it was all the other shit - dust, pollen, soot - that fucked them up. Easier to blame smokers, though.

petem130 said...

I've worked in computing for 30 years. I predate PCs. At one time, for a few years< I used to build PC clones and sell them to clients.

My rule of thumb, learnt the hard way through experience was that if you venture into the insides of a computer you really need two. You strip one and then use the other to remind yourself of where everything plugs into. A bit expensive etc. for the single user.

Once i was asked to loom at an old PC in a foundry. I took the casing off and it was entirely full of dust. It still worked just fine.

Hoovering is a bad idea. That's why the PC guy at work will use a air duster which blows the dust away.

If you have a laptop don't open it, take it to someone who knows about such things.

Working on PC and general computer hardware and software helps you develop a wonderful swear word repertoire!!!!

Anonymous said...

You can both suck or blow bits out of their designated places.

At least if you suck you can find em in the dyson. Blow too hard and the buggers end up under the sideboard.

Sod it--take it to a shop I say

JJ said...

Don't make the same mistake I did. Make sure you backup reguarly, and create regular system restore points.

Anonymous said...

My 3rd tower failed early in the year, fucking hard drive, I blame Gates and his shit OS, so now I'm on Ubuntu with 2nd hand Dell I was given.

Mind you the back the tower was fucking clogged with fluff, so maybe I'm being a bit hard on Bill...

Leg-iron said...

I once lost three weeks of statistical analyses on a massive project due to hard drive failure, and it happened a week before the presentation was due.

Now I have two external hard disks, cd and dvd writers, SD cards and USB sticks.I'm not having another sleepless week like that! There are two entire unpublished novels on this disk too, as well as a few part-written ones.

I did a full backup before meddling.

Putting it back toether wasn't so bad. It was getting all those cables back into their holes by feel rather than by sight.

USB is better than the old serial/parallel for that. It doesn't matter which hole the plug goes in, as long as it goes in.

If only I had one more elbow in my right arm.

David Davis said...

Don't we just love little computers! I seem to remember a 286 I had at work in the late 80s/early90s. There was an extremely large and heavy switched-mode power supply in it, saying something like 5v/40A, 12v/25A, and other stuff I can't recall: it also had a whopping 1Mb of RAM. The ESDI hard disk was (I think) 60Mb and the size of about 2 house bricks.....but there was no fan anywhere! The thing must have relied on its sheer size and volume to keep cool enough. The cooling problem now comes from having to cram two billion transistors onto about half a cm^2, without them failing even at the tiny currents involved. But I still would not go back to the 286.

Anonymous said...


>Hoovering is a bad idea.

I did not mean 'shove the nozzle up against the fan housing'. It helps draw the dust disturbed by the brush out of the innards.

Although I would to someone I did not like :-)

Ditto to PCs working in hard environments, but these were XTs and ATs. We thought that motherboards made in Mexico were el cheapo.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

I see a business opportunity, the 21st century equivalent of sending kids up chimneys...

jargonory said...

blimey, pc talk is almost as sanitarily dull as part politics.

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