General Maintenance For Maintaining Your Dell Computer

General Maintenance For Maintaining Your Dell Computer

The following article contains information about cleaning and general maintenance for the chassis of your Dell system.

General Maintenance Guidelines for your Computer

Like any device that contains moving parts, most computers require some general maintenance to help make them perform to their optimum capability. Depending on the environment where the system is placed, periodic cleaning may be required to prevent system failure due to overheating.

It is recommended that systems be kept in a clean area free of dust, fur, and other contaminants that can obstruct the ventilation of the system. Heat is always the biggest threat to the system, and most computer have cooling systems (active or passive) to dissipate heat to protect the system components. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) are the 2 components that generate the most heat. Other devices that generate heat are the power supply unit (PSU) and hard disk drives (HDD). (Figure 1 & 2)

Dusty Computer Vent
Figure 1

Dirty Interior of a Dell Tower System
Figure 2

The system should be used in a location with temperatures between 0°C to 35°C (32°F to 95°F.) The humidity level no greater than 40%.

Periodically inspect your system and clean it as needed based on the ambient conditions of the location.

Systems that are used in a dusty factory may need cleaning every few weeks. Systems in a clean dust free environment may only need an annual check.

Using portable systems on a blanket, pillow, or other type of cloth may cover the fan grills blocking the airflow that cools the system. This can lead to overheating and could cause permanent damage. (Figure 3)
Dell Notebook System Vent Dust
Figure 3

Dell recommends using a portable system on a hard, flat, non-cloth surface which helps increase the airflow and reduce heat from the system.

Maintenance Tasks

Clean the system as needed. There are some indicators that a system may need cleaning.

  • Higher temperatures that are reported in System tools or diagnostics.
  • Sluggish performance.
  • Error messages (Especially heat related ones).
  • Fan noise.
  • Major System malfunctions.

Some of the tools you may need to clean your system

  • A clean static free location.
  • Canned compressed air.
  • An anti-static strap.
  • The most recent BIOS update for the system.

When you are ready to clean the system, it should be powered off and unplugged. If you are cleaning a portable system, then also remove system battery. Once all power sources are removed, press and hold the power button for 15 seconds (this discharges any stored power in capacitors.)

Caution: Vacuuming can cause static and damage delicate system components.

While wearing an anti-static strap, on desktop and tower systems, remove the cover or side access panel to access the internal components. If there is a removable shroud for the CPU heat sink, remove it. If not, then use the canned compressed air to clean out any accumulated dust in the heat sinks of the CPU, GPU, and the PSU. Then clean the fans, with gentle puffs of compressed air.

Caution: Do not rev the fans at high speeds as this may damage the bearings and cause a fan failure.

Portable systems may have a bottom cover that needs to be removed (See the system manual on Removing the bottom cover allows easier access to the heat sinks. Again, using short puffs of air clean the air vents and the CPU or GPU heat sinks of any dirt, dust, or debris.

As systems are produced, there is a constant process of re-evaluation and improvement. In computers one of the ways that system performance is improved is by updating the BIOS. These updates change the system performance, from customer feedback and engineering evaluations to improve performance. Check for the latest BIOS release and update the system when new versions are available.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact Dell Technical Support.

Article ID: SLN290711

Last Date Modified: 09/17/2020 06:27 PM

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