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Community Manager


572 Posts


November 27th, 2023 17:09

Week 3 Question 11/27/2023 - 12/3/2023: POST REPLY HERE

What are the best practices for cleaning and maintaining my Dell laptop or desktop for optimal performance?

Please post your response below. Visit How to Participate + Official Rules for more information.

1st Place Winner for week 3: @JOcean 

2nd Place Winner for week 3: @bradthetechnut 

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7 Technologist


11.9K Posts

November 28th, 2023 01:04

First of all make sure to keep the unit dust free and secondly make sure to keep the unit dust free. Heat buildup is one of the enemies of a properly working system. For a desktop open it up once in a while and either use canned air made for computers, or a small vacuum cleaner also designed for computers. Also periodically run diagnostics on your Dell just to make sure that everything is properly running. And for peace of mind make backups either using Windows backup and restore or a program such as Macrium Reflect Free (or the subscription version). I cannot begin to count the number of times a backup has saved me from having to reinstall Windows. Sometimes problems happen out of the clear blue, such as a bad update from MS (ask me about one of the latest Windows 11 update fiascos) or a driver version that looked good until it failed before fully installing. Last of all there are a number of good maintenance programs such as Memtest 86, which can diagnose problems that start out with vague symptoms. Lastly a reliable anti-virus program that is run routinely. The Windows version is very good and has always had high marks from AV Test. But there are many other quality AV programs that should be considered in a weekly schedule of maintaining the system. One last tip for desktop users. Consider a good UPS product. I have never had a hardware failure cause by power outages or surges over many years while my system was plugged into a quality UPS. I know this may be redundant with already mentioned suggestions but it is how I maintain my systems. 

This may go beyond simply cleaning but the topic included maintaining and that is just as important as a clean system.


6 Professor


7K Posts

December 1st, 2023 03:01

Mini towers:

I clean myself with brush (not harsh) attachment on a handheld Shark.  I don't blow dust around.  My Shark has a lot of power and spins fan blades while the brush cleans them.

If the heatsink is dirty, I simply remove it and the old thermal paste.  Then I clean the dirt off under a faucet.  When applying thermal paste before reinstalling, I apply the thermal paste with 5 dots like the 5 of dice.  The CPU is typically either square or rectangular.  One round dot in the middle doesn't do it for me.  I've seen this technique used and it doesn't always cover the whole surface.

Dust filters are available for mini towers.  May be customizable ones available too, like for smaller PC's.

As for maintaining, my PC's never slow down (knock on wood).  If it were to slow down, I'd start uninstalling Windows' bloatware apps in the start menu.  Then eliminate apps I don't use anymore.

If still no luck, I'm comfortable with reloading the OS, which I have saved on a flash drive.  It only takes a reasonable amount of time on an SSD.  Everything is backed up outside of the PC - another maintenance tip.  Another Rockstar may have touched on that too.  Can be flash drives, external HDD's (very dependable), cloud storage, and/or etc.

If I have to reload the OS, like if I get BSOD, something that helps get me back up and running quickly is I have screengrab(s) saved of my desktop(s).  Then I easily see which programs need reloading and easily put my shortcuts back and where I want them.

Something I have run across online is there's numerous tips for BSOD recovery and specific BSOD error codes.  I and some others in the forum have never been able to beat it other than to reload.


6 Professor


5.8K Posts

November 27th, 2023 18:05

Very important NOT to do what I did: clean your screen.

I cleaned mine, and the coating came off in the one corner. Going to try to RMA it, but likely going to run into a roadblock.

For some reason the coating on the end of the monitor was really poor....

7 Technologist


10K Posts

November 27th, 2023 18:29

try not put desktop on floor, espercially not carpet.  this is the heaviest dust zone.  Dell desktop do not have dust filters and over time can accumulate so much dust behind front bezel like a hoover vac cleaner.

obviously do not leave open bottle of water near your dell laptop, and do not trim your finger nail next to an open laptop which would collect all your finger nail trimmings in the space between keys.

2 Intern


196 Posts

November 27th, 2023 19:17

Interesting that Dell would ask this question, since they already have a 'best practices' post on this very topic in their knowledgebase:

Guidance for Keeping Your Dell Technologies Equipment Clean
Summary: Find out information about how to clean your Dell equipment


Community Manager


572 Posts

November 28th, 2023 00:14

@Bulldog​ We are looking for potentially other ways that our end users like to keep their equipment clean. Always looking to update and add these articles. That is one of the purposes of this contest. 

16 Posts

November 28th, 2023 13:52

On a laptop, it's vital that you make sure that the cooling veins are free from dust. A tip that I always share with anyone who's looking to service their laptops is to make sure that when they use canned air to clear the dust is to use a paper clip to hold the fins of the fan in place. This will prevent the fan from spinning super fast, which I'm told is a way to potentially damage the fan (either the bearings of the motor). 

You can also spray with without using the paperclip, but only in small bursts, to keep the fan from spinning crazy fast. 

5 Posts

November 28th, 2023 13:52

To minimise dust and crumbs getting into a keyboard, regularly lift the keyboard (or open laptop) up and hold it in the air with the keys facing the floor. Brush around the keys with a small paint brush to dislodge any debris. Lightly tapping the keyboard with a finger sometimes dislodges additional crud.  

1 Rookie


260 Posts

November 28th, 2023 16:59

Dust is the enemy. I wipe the cases with a dry microfiber cloth. Same for the screen, very light strokes...tiny bit of plain water if needed to get the dust off the screen. Every few months I open the case and use a can of compressed air to gently blow off the accumulation of dust inside the case.

Dust inside the case will raise internal temperatures significantly as well as potentially jamming up fan bearings.

Also I never eat or drink anywhere where food or liquid can get near the components.

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