How to clean your computer from dust and replace thermal paste

how to clean a computer from dust Good afternoon.

Many users mistakenly believe that cleaning the computer from dust is a task for experienced craftsmen and it is better not to go there while the computer is somehow working. In fact, this is not difficult!

And besides, regular cleaning of the system unit from dust: firstly, it will make your work at the PC faster; secondly, the computer will make less noise and annoy you; thirdly, its service life will increase, which means you will not have to spend money on repairs again.

In this article, I wanted to consider an easy way to clean your computer from dust at home. By the way, often during this procedure it is required to change the thermal paste (there is often no point in doing this, but once every 3-4 years it is quite). Replacing thermal paste is not a difficult and useful business, later in the article I will tell you more about everything …

I've already talked about cleaning the laptop, see here:

First, a couple of common questions that are constantly asked to me.

Why should you clean? The fact is that dust interferes with ventilation: hot air from a heated processor heatsink cannot leave the system unit, which means the temperature will rise. In addition, lumps of dust interfere with the coolers (fans) that cool the processor. When the temperature rises, the computer may start to slow down (or even shut down or freeze).

How often should you clean your PC from dust? Some do not clean the computer for years and do not complain, others look into the system unit every six months. Much also depends on the room in which the computer works. On average, for an ordinary apartment, it is recommended to clean the PC once a year.

Also, if your PC starts to behave unstable: it turns off, freezes, starts to slow down, the processor temperature rises significantly (about the temperature: ee-snizit /), it is also recommended to first clean it from dust.

What do you need to clean your computer?

1. Vacuum cleaner.

Any home vacuum cleaner will do. Ideally, if it has a reverse – i.e. it can blow out air. If there is no reverse mode, then the vacuum cleaner will simply have to be turned to the system unit so that the air blown out of the vacuum cleaner blows dust out of the PC.

2. Screwdrivers.

Usually you need the simplest Phillips screwdriver. In general, only those screwdrivers are needed that will help open the system unit (open the power supply, if necessary).

3. Alcohol.

It will come in handy if you change the thermal paste (in order to degrease the surface). I used the most common ethyl alcohol (it seems 95%).



4. Thermal paste.

Thermal paste is the 'go-between' between the processor (which gets hot) and the heatsink (which cools it down). If the thermal paste has not changed for a long time, it dries up, cracks and already does not transfer heat well. This means that the processor temperature will rise, which is not good. Replacing the thermal paste in this case helps to reduce the temperature by an order of magnitude!

What kind of thermal paste is needed?

There are dozens of brands on the market now. Which one is the best – I don't know. Relatively good, in my opinion, 'AlSil-3':

– affordable price (a syringe for 4-5 times of use will cost you about 100 rubles);

– it is convenient to apply it to the processor: it does not spread, it can be easily smoothed with a regular plastic card.

Thermal paste AlSil-3

Thermal paste AlSil-3

5. Several cotton swabs + old plastic card + paint brush.

If there are no cotton swabs, ordinary cotton wool will do. Any plastic card is suitable: an old bank card, from a SIM card, some kind of calendar, etc.

A brush will be needed in order to dust off the radiators.

Cleaning the system unit from dust – step by step

1) Cleaning begins with disconnecting the PC system unit from electricity, then disconnecting all wires: power, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc.

1-disconnect wires

Disconnect all wires from the system unit.

2) The second step is to get the system unit to the free space and remove the side cover. The removable side cover in a conventional system unit is on the left. It is usually fastened with two bolts (unscrewed manually), sometimes with latches, and sometimes with nothing at all – you can just move it immediately.

After the bolts are unscrewed, it remains only to slightly press on the cover (towards the back wall of the system unit) and remove it.

2-opening the cover of the system unit

Side cover fixing.

3) The system unit shown in the photo below hasn't been cleaned of dust for a long time: the coolers have a thick layer of dust that prevents them from rotating. In addition, the cooler starts to make noise with this amount of dust, which can be very annoying.

3-dust in the block

A large amount of dust in the system unit.

4) In principle, if there is not so much dust, you can already turn on the vacuum cleaner and carefully blow out the system unit: all radiators and coolers (on the processor, on the video card, on the block case). In my case, cleaning was not carried out for 3 years, and the radiator was clogged with dust, so it had to be removed. To do this, usually, there is a special lever (red arrow in the photo below), pulling on which you can remove the cooler with the radiator (which, in fact, I did. By the way, if you remove the radiator, you will need to replace the thermal paste).

4-how to remove the cooler on the processor

How to remove a cooler with a radiator.

5) After removing the radiator and cooler, you can notice the old thermal paste. It will later need to be removed with a cotton swab and alcohol. In the meantime, first of all, use a vacuum cleaner to blow out all the dust from the computer motherboard.

5-dust and thermal grease

Old thermal grease on the processor.

6) The processor heatsink is also convenient to blow out with a vacuum cleaner from different sides. If the dust is so curled up that the vacuum cleaner does not pick up, brush it off with a regular brush.

6-cooler with heatsink

Heatsink with CPU cooler.

7) I also recommend looking into the power supply. The fact is that the power supply is usually closed on all sides with a metal cover. Because of this, if dust gets there, it is very problematic to blow it out with a vacuum cleaner.

To remove the power supply, you need to unscrew 4-5 fastening screws from the back of the system unit.

7-power supply

Fastening the power supply to the case.

8) Next, you can carefully remove the power supply to the free space (if the length of the wires does not allow, then disconnect the wires from the motherboard and other components).

The power supply is usually covered by a small metal cover. Several screws (in my case, 4) hold it. It is enough to unscrew them and the cover can be removed.

8 opening the power supply cover

Fixing the power supply cover.

9) Now you can blow off the dust from the power supply. Particular attention should be paid to the cooler – a lot of dust often accumulates on it. By the way, the dust from the blades can be easily brushed off with a brush or cotton swab.

When the power supply is cleaned of dust, reassemble it in the reverse order (according to this article) and fix it in the system unit.


Power supply: side view.

10-power supply

Power supply unit: rear view.

10) Now it's time to clean the old thermal paste from the processor. To do this, you can use a regular cotton swab slightly moistened with alcohol. As a rule, 3-4 of these cotton swabs are enough for me to wipe the processor clean. By the way, you need to act carefully, without pressing hard, gradually, without haste, clean the surface.

By the way, you also need to clean the back of the heatsink, which is pressed against the processor.


Old thermal grease on the processor.


Ethyl alcohol and a cotton swab.

11) After the surfaces of the heatsink and processor have been cleaned, thermal grease can be applied to the processor. You don't need to apply a lot: on the contrary, the less it is, the better. Most importantly, it must level all the surface irregularities of the processor and heatsink in order to provide the best heat transfer.

13-applied thermal paste

Thermal paste applied on the processor (it still needs to be 'smoothed' with a thin layer).

To smooth out the thermal paste with a thin layer, a plastic card is usually used. She is smoothly driven over the processor surface, gently smoothing the paste with a thin layer. By the way, all the excess pasta will be collected on the edge of the map at the same time. It is necessary to smooth out the thermal paste until it covers the entire surface of the processor with a thin layer (without dimples, bumps and gaps).

14 - smoothing thermal paste

Smoothing thermal paste.

Correctly applied thermal paste does not even 'give out' itself: it seems that it is just a gray plane.

15 thermal paste applied correctly

Thermal paste has been applied, you can install a radiator.

12) When you install the heatsink, remember to connect the cooler to the power on the motherboard. Connecting it incorrectly, in principle, is not possible (without the use of brute force). there is a small latch. By the way, on the motherboard this connector is marked as 'CPU FAN'.

16-power connection to the cooler

Cooler power connection.

13) Thanks to the simple procedure done above, our PC has become relatively clean: there is no dust on coolers and radiators, the power supply is also free of dust, the thermal paste has been replaced. Thanks to such a simple procedure, the system unit will work less noisy, the processor and other components will not overheat, which means that the risk of unstable PC operation will decrease!

17-blank PC block

A 'clean' system unit.

By the way, after cleaning, the processor temperature (without load) is only 1-2 degrees higher than room temperature. The noise that appeared when the coolers rotated quickly became less (especially noticeable at night). In general, it became a pleasure to work with a PC!


That's all for today. Hope you can easily clean your PC from dust and replace thermal paste. By the way, I also recommend performing not only the 'physical' cleaning, but also the program one – to clean Windows from junk files (see the article: -windows-7-8 /).

Good luck to all!

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