Computer Dust

These dust bunnies came from the fan box behind the hand

Three (or four, or five?) years ago my son gave me his HP notebook as he had just bought a better gaming notebook for himself. It’s still a great machine but I have to confess not taking care of it as I should have.

For some time now it has gotten pretty hot and become uncomfortable on my lap and my wife has complained it buzzes in her cochlear implant. I’ve known I should be blowing it out with canned air but haven’t had any so I never did.

I left it on for a few hours two days ago and when I came back to it, it was mostly locked up. I managed to get it to shut off and took out the battery and used a nearly empty can of air to blow it out.

I could see a little dust come out but nothing like I expected. The air can gave out and I tried firing the notebook back up. I walked away for the boot up so I was surprised when I came back and it was off. I tried again and watched it open to a black screen saying the fan was not working and I shouldn’t run it.

I went to a store and bought a fresh air can and blew it out again. This time I looked for the spin of the fan and listened to it. It wasn’t running and the error still came up at boot up. Now I know I’ll have to open it up.

I Googled instructions for opening this machine and in about thirty minutes and as many screws later I had its motherboard in hand. The last step was to take off the cooling fan guard but it refused to come off. I was able to open it enough to pull out the dust bunnies I picture here. They were obviously large enough to block the fan from operating and my first attempt at blowing them out must have moved them in the way rather than cleaning them out.

I worked backwards through the instructions and had the whole thing assembled and turned it on. The same fan error displayed and an ear to the box heard no sign of the fan. Thinking back through all I had done it occurred to me I unplugged the fan from the motherboard and must have forgotten to replug it. ARG!

An hour or so later I had the whole thing reopened and reassembled and now I am writing this with a comfortable lap and very little noise coming from the fan.

The lessons I am suggesting for you readers is make a regular habit of blowing out your fans before you have trouble. I am simply lucky I didn’t fry my processor long ago.

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