That’s what I said to myself at 8am this morning when I turned my desktop computer on, and it promptly turned itself off again.
Actually, if I’m to be completely honest, I said quite a few things, most of which only had four letters, but let’s not get too precious about it. I was panicked, and my second thought was…how on earth would I live without the internet? And my writing? And my music? Oh god…and no ESO?
Then I thought to touch the top of the computer, near where the CPU is located. It was warm. It should not have been warm, not after less than a minute of being switched on.
And this is when the baby geek in me stepped up and said, “Dust.”
Baby Geek was right. There was dust all over the top of the computer. Not surprising really, considering that it sits on the floor, surrounded by small, hairy beasts:
Those two small beasts, plus Harry, another small feline beast, share the office with me, and they all shed. And if that wasn’t enough, my window faces north. When it was open over the summer, it let in a lot of smoke and dust, all of which would have been sucked into the desktop via the fans [internal] designed to keep it cool.
For those who don’t know, the average desktop computer is air cooled. Mine has two large fans located under those grills, which circulate air inside the box. I also have a small fan that sits on top of the CPU [the brain of the computer] and two more that sit on top of the GPU [graphics processing unit or video card]. Those two units are the most critical components of a pc, and if they overheat, the computer will automatically shut down.
I knew all this, but I still wondered, would this be the time when it wasn’t the pc overheating? If it was something more serious, how would I get it fixed?
After fortifying myself with a second cup of coffee, I set up the vacuum cleaner and my paint brushes and got to work. For those who are interested, this is a post I wrote some time ago about how to safely clean the inside of a desktop computer. If any of you are in the same predicament, please read the post carefully. You do NOT want to just stick the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner inside the guts of a pc. That would be a very, very bad idea!