Dust — the enemy of computers

February 16, 2015

I had to take my server in for a RAM upgrade, which meant disconnecting it and preparing it for travel inside the car. One of the things I wanted the PC Guru guys to do was give the server a good clean too. But as I already had it disconnected on the bench, I figured I’d spend a bit of time getting rid of the excess dust so that their clean was targeted at all the inside bits that I either can’t reach or am not confident about cleaning.

One thing I discovered some time back is that the inside of my server stays remarkably dust free. Not so behind the door! The first time I took off the door, I got the shock of my life as it was almost entirely clogged with thick dust. I now know to clean that area regularly to prevent dust clogging up the intake air holes, and thus prevent the server from overheating and the fans from excessive work.

So, this is what ‘behind the door’ looked like when I opened it the other day. Not a huge amount of dust (compared to what I’ve seen before), but still enough to prevent it running as efficiently as possible, especially around the air intake holes at the base and the air holes around the four hard drives.


I cleaned the dust using an old artist’s paintbrush and a Tooltron Micro Applicator Brush, both of which I had wiped on a slightly damp cloth so that the very fine dust wouldn’t escape. Compressed air is no good as it would just blow the dust through those intake holes and into the housing.

Note: Even though the floor of my office is carpeted, the server (and all the PCs) is suspended under the desk, well off the floor. Carpet is a real problem for computers — there’s the dust from the atmosphere AND the carpet, and the potential static electricity.

See also:

[Links last checked February 2015]

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