Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

July 13, 2017
Preserving your Mac and PC from destroyers: heat, dust

If your computer, whether a Mac or PC, is subject to excessive heat, it can shorten the life of your machine, but it may also be a fire hazard and it is important you take some simple measures to help keep your computer healthy and safe.

Here in our city, like many throughout the western United States, we have a lot of construction projects underway and the dust that is kicked up can infiltrate our computer, causing it to heat up more than it should. Take a look around your computer’s vents and on some models, you can even view inside and see your fans and other components, if they are covered in dust I recommend you take care of it immediately, or have someone qualified to do it for you.

Let’s start with PC desktops. If you notice a buildup of dust inside your case, you can use canned compressed air to remove the dust. Use only approved canned compressed air (purchased at places like Walmart and Best Buy) because it is suited specifically for electrical parts.

Don’t shake the can and always use in an upright position. Never use an air compressor as this can be too powerful and may also contaminate your computer parts.

There is one important precaution to take before you begin this procedure. Static electricity can short out your motherboard or other components, so I absolutely recommend you use an “antistatic wrist strap” to remove the static from your body before and while you work inside your computer. You can purchase one at most places that sell or service computers for less than $10.00. Keep in mind, you do not need to touch anything inside your computer as you do this work.

Open your case by sliding off one of the side panels and then you will want to gently take it outdoors before blowing the dust out. Obviously, don’t take your computer outside if it is windy or raining, as this can ruin your computer. Use the straw that comes with the canned air to channel the air stronger on your fans and other parts that collect dust. Blow the dust from the processor fan and the processor fins too.

I blow the dust from the power supply too. If your computer is giving you warnings about memory issues, you may need to remove the memory sticks from their bays and blow the dust from them too. Once you are done, put your panel back on and then you can use your computer as usual.

Laptops and Macs are a little more difficult. I do not recommend you service these yourself, but I refer you to your computer gal or guy to take care of this for you. Never blow compressed air on your laptop keyboard as this can send more dirt and dust inside your machine and can damage components inside.

There are some things you can do to help keep your Mac or laptop cool during these very hot temperatures we are experiencing. On a Mac, if your machine is running hot, review my article published in the Tooele Transcript Bulletin on Dec. 22, 2016, titled: “Is your MacBook running hot?” to find out if any programs or apps are causing it to heat up.

You can also use a small fan to point at your machine to help keep it cool. I find this is a very effective and inexpensive way to keep a computer cool. In fact, I am using one right now as the temperature here in Tooele breaches the 100-degree mark.

I must mention one last thing. If you are at all uncomfortable with any of these procedures I have mentioned, please contact your computer person to take care of this before it becomes a bigger problem.

For more than 15 years, Scott Lindsay has helped tens of thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 400 articles about Apple and Microsoft software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at

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