How to clean your laptop | PCSPECIALIST

How to clean your laptop

SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Hello everyone,

From time to time users mention that there laptops maybe getting louder or hotter and personally i find that when that is the case the majority of the time that this is a result of dust build up in the machine. Laptops in particular require a lot of cooling and the the fans at the bottom of the case suck up any dust and animal hairs etc lying underneath it and being in such a small case this can build up quite quickly. For example i have laminate floors, a dog and a cat who climbs over every surface including tables i put my laptop on.

I wanted to put together this quick guide so that other users could see how easy it is to clean out the guts of your laptop.

For this example i am using my Vortex 2 which i purchased just over 2 years ago. Different laptops will have different arrangements in side but using this guide and your PCS manual you should be able to achieve the same results. Pleas also note im sure that there are safer ways, different ways etc however this is the way i have been performing mine and if there are other tips i would appreciate them in the comments below for myself and other users.
 

SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Step 1 - Prep

I have shut down the laptop, removed the mains supply, removed the battery and flipped the laptop onto a duster to ensure that the chassis is not damaged or scratched.

You may see from the vents that there is dust build up on both the intake for the GPU on the left and the CPU on the right.

DSC_0021.jpg

Here is a close up of the GPU side

DSC_0022.jpg

This is after one month from its last clean

Be sure to have screwdrivers of different sizes, you'll only need Philips srewhead drivers but be sure to use the correct size for the job otherwise you can damage the screw head and they can become troublesome to remove after that.

Earth yourself, touch a piece of metal or get an earthing strap to stop static damage to components.
 
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SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Step 2 - Get inside

I then removed the grill from the bottom on the laptop and have spun the laptop arround so that the GPU is now on the Right and the CPU on the left, you can see that both fans have dust build up within them.

DSC_0023.jpg
 
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SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Step 3 - GPU Side

I started on the GPU side, the left, that has the two heat syncs. There are three screws on the top of the first heat sync you need to remove. Once removed gently pull from the tab on the top and holding the copper coloured part lift off of the GPU.

I have found that because there are two syncs there seems to be a dust trap between the two and you will see from this photograph the dust build up from one month of use.

I use an old toothbrush and compressed air to clean between the gaps to get them clean and dust free.

DSC_0025.jpg

The second heat sync has 4 screws on a square plate above the GPU this one will look smaller, again remove the 4 screws pull from the tab while supporting it from the bulky side.

Again you will see the dust build up and again i clean this with compressed air and a toothbrush.

DSC_0026.jpg

I rest these ontop of a clean surface making sure not to get any dirt onto the sticky pads on the large sync the first one we removed or on the paste on the plate on the second sync that we removed.

If you wanted to repaste the GPU you would then do that at this stage however this is not something i have ever had to do yet.

I then removed the 4 screws around the fan, gentle disconnected it from the motherboard, again i cleaned this with a toothbrush, some cotton que tips and compressed air.
 

SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Step 4 - CPU Side

The process is much and such the same for the CPU side however i only have one heat sync for the CPU and the removal is identical to the second sync fromt he GPU side. Remove the 4 screws around the plate then pull the tab and support the bulky end again. At this stage you could also repaste the CPU but this is something i haven't had to do yet.

DSC_0025.jpg

The fan as you can see has got some dust build up inside so i remove that also similar again to the GPU side, remove the 4 screws, gently remove the connection to the mother board and clean it out with toothbrush cotton que tips and compressed air.

View attachment 4971 View attachment 4972
 
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SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Step 5 - Halfway there, general clean up

With all the components required removed and cleaned i then do a general clean of the inside of the chassis removing any dirt dust hairs etc but being extremely careful not to disturb anything i don't have to and making sure the bays are clean before putting back the fans.

DSC_0030.jpg

Try to be organised with the removal process, i have my heat syncs in the grill , the fans on either side... although the GPU one appears to vanished in this photo. Screws to there corresponding side and in a line in order of removal.
 
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SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Step 6 - Put it back together

Once you have all the components cleaned and your happy with the look of everything its time to start putting it all back together. Follwo the procedures above in reverse to get everything back to where it should be.

Please note not to over tighten screws and also dont push down hard on them as you could damage components underneath.

Once put back together it should look something like this again.

DSC_0031.jpg
 
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SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Step 7 - Give the fans a wee test

At this point i usually like to test the fans to ensure they are working properly. I reinsert the battery open the laptop up enough that it wont slam down on itself and power it back up. The fans wont start until the temperatures start getting up to operation temperatures however vortex models you can press "FN + 1" to enable the fans. If your laptop doesn't do this i would suggest running a wee game that will create a bit of load to start the fans.

DSC_0032.jpg

Once your happy with all that put the base grill back on after you have cleaned out the perforations (is that the right word) with a toothbrush to remove dust and hair etc between the gaps.
 
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SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Step 8 - Finished

Before you flip over your laptop and run it, clean the surface you just used, you dont want the laptop sucking up all the dirt, hair and dust that you just removed from it again.

Your now finished and your laptops cooling system is all clean. Hopefully you should now find that the machine will now be running a bit quieter and a bit cooler.

Remember that my photos show dust build up after only 1 month of use and conditions will vary between your living conditions etc, imagine what it may be like if i hadn't done this in two years.

Cleaning the laptop regularly would hopefully prolong the life of you machine.

I hope that some of you find this guide of use and help, and welcome any comments or improvements below.

Thanks

Mike

DSC_0034.jpg
 
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Delinja

Bronze Level Poster
Half of your links don't work: Invalid Attachment specified. If you followed a valid link, please notify the administrator
 

SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
Hello Delinja,

Which ones aren't working? They are working on mine but that's perhaps because im the up loader. If you let me know the step number i can look into them
 

SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
You were most likely correct, i just went into each post and uploaded them again and now i can get all the photos on. I hope everyone sees the same now.

Thanks for the head up guys
 

keynes

Multiverse Poster
You were most likely correct, i just went into each post and uploaded them again and now i can get all the photos on. I hope everyone sees the same now.

Thanks for the head up guys

Good guide,. You should do one for replacing thermal paste :)
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Moderator
A very thorough and well explained guide to doing a proper clean. As the American's are fond of saying "good job"! Deserved +rep given. :)

I must confess I've never pulled the heatsinks off (but then I don't have a cat ;)) and I wonder whether it would be sensible to repaste at that stage whilst everything is off? Comments? I've never re-pasted and I'd be interested to hear the views of those who have.

I'm particularly impressed with the very organised and careful way the parts are removed, cleaned and laid down carefully in a logical way. This kind of attention to detail is IMO the mark of a true professional.

I suspect the current fashion for wood floors, windows blinds, and smooth surfaces contributes to the dust build up. In my younger days when we all had fitted carpets, the carpet and heavy curtains trapped much of the airborne dust so it didn't find it's way into computers or the wireless (that's what we used to call the radio, it's nothing to do with wifi :)). So I would think that the required frequency of cleaning will depend on the number (or lack of) dust absorbent surfaces (like carpets and curtains) in your home. Pets obviously have a huge impact, cat and dog hairs create a netting that traps dust better than anything I've seen. So pet owners need to clean more often. I'm guessing this is why SmokeDarKnight has to clean so often?

I also think a cooling pad helps to reduce dust in the laptop. This is partly because the cooling pad fans catch a lot of the dust themselves (and they need cleaning too, though they are less critical) which leaves less dust to be sucked into the laptop. But a laptop without a cooling stand has a very small air gap through which to suck air, and as a sailor I know well the effect that narrow gaps have on air flow - they accelerate the wind speed, sometimes alarmingly. So the air being sucked in by the fan is rushing under the narrow laptop/table gap much faster than the average speed of the moving air around the laptop, so dust and hair is being sucked into this narrow gap from quite a wide area around the laptop. A cooling stand increases the size of the laptop/table gap by a factor of about 10 (in my case at least) so the air is not moving under the laptop as fast and less dust gets sucked in - and a lot of what dust there is gets sucked in by the cooling pad fans. So I would suggest that in a modern smooth-surface home (especially one with pets) a cooling pad will help to reduce the dust build-up inside your laptop, as well as help keeping it cool.
 

SmokeDarKnight

Author Level
A very thorough and well explained guide to doing a proper clean. As the American's are fond of saying "good job"! Deserved +rep given. :)

I must confess I've never pulled the heatsinks off (but then I don't have a cat ;)) and I wonder whether it would be sensible to repaste at that stage whilst everything is off? Comments? I've never re-pasted and I'd be interested to hear the views of those who have.

I'm particularly impressed with the very organised and careful way the parts are removed, cleaned and laid down carefully in a logical way. This kind of attention to detail is IMO the mark of a true professional.

I suspect the current fashion for wood floors, windows blinds, and smooth surfaces contributes to the dust build up. In my younger days when we all had fitted carpets, the carpet and heavy curtains trapped much of the airborne dust so it didn't find it's way into computers or the wireless (that's what we used to call the radio, it's nothing to do with wifi :)). So I would think that the required frequency of cleaning will depend on the number (or lack of) dust absorbent surfaces (like carpets and curtains) in your home. Pets obviously have a huge impact, cat and dog hairs create a netting that traps dust better than anything I've seen. So pet owners need to clean more often. I'm guessing this is why SmokeDarKnight has to clean so often?

I also think a cooling pad helps to reduce dust in the laptop. This is partly because the cooling pad fans catch a lot of the dust themselves (and they need cleaning too, though they are less critical) which leaves less dust to be sucked into the laptop. But a laptop without a cooling stand has a very small air gap through which to suck air, and as a sailor I know well the effect that narrow gaps have on air flow - they accelerate the wind speed, sometimes alarmingly. So the air being sucked in by the fan is rushing under the narrow laptop/table gap much faster than the average speed of the moving air around the laptop, so dust and hair is being sucked into this narrow gap from quite a wide area around the laptop. A cooling stand increases the size of the laptop/table gap by a factor of about 10 (in my case at least) so the air is not moving under the laptop as fast and less dust gets sucked in - and a lot of what dust there is gets sucked in by the cooling pad fans. So I would suggest that in a modern smooth-surface home (especially one with pets) a cooling pad will help to reduce the dust build-up inside your laptop, as well as help keeping it cool.

Thank you, much appreciated.

To start with i never took the syncs off but i noticed a bit of dust one day and was quite shocked to find a layer of dust between the two on the GPU glad i noticed it though, i've been through one GPU as it burned out, might have been that but i would have thought it would have shut off before it had over heated, guess i'll never know.

I used to be really into computers and to be honest i wish i had followed it as a career however when i was younger I got a job between finishing school and starting my computer course at college and 1) i got used to money and 2) my parents thought computers were a stupid and childish profession to follow, there technophobic but i don't blame them. I ended up in electrical engineering for substations and power stations but just do computers on the side for fun, much like yourself. so thanks for your kind comments.

Worst thing i did was laminate the whole bottom floor of the house, also my other half takes the laptop into the kitchen while she is cooking so it picks up flour and sugar and god know what else. I run it 24/7 and its our main form of entertainment, even when we are watching movies and iplayer stuff its hooked up to the main TV so i really do take care of it as much as i can so cleaning it once a month is the best i can do for it. I am planning on getting a tower at some point but that could be a while off.

I do have a cooling pad, a Belkin one but i don't use the fan on it but use it just to keep it off the surfaces or using it on my lap another benefit is it gives you a slightly higher viewing angle.
 
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