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Help with cleaning out my PC


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#1 xcas

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 12:42 PM

So a few years ago my father, as a birthday/Xmas gift, bought me an Alienware X51 R2. Not the best decision for a gaming rig, I know that now, but it was very expensive and I'm trying my best to maintain it and keep it alive as long as possible so all that money didn't go to waste.
I recently downloaded a temperature monitoring tool and noticed that the computer is idling at around 45 C, and running a stress test gets it north of 90! I've been having issues with it the past few months with crashing, random shut downs, etc etc and I'm trying to eliminate all possible causes before I look into repair or replace.
There's one major thing I'd like to take care of: I have never once opened it for any reason, including cleaning, in the three ish years I've had it.
I know this sounds terrible, and I'd like to remedy that by simple taking off the side panel for a bit and spritzing it with some compressed air. But my dad is not so keen on the idea. He is of the firm belief that no computer is designed to be opened and you should never clean them. He told me if he catches me laying a finger on it he will sell it. He finds it plainly offensive that I'd even think about doing such a thing because I "don't know what I'm doing and wasn't the one who forked over 2,000 bleep dollars to pay for it." This is coming from the same guy who noticed how loud the fans were, decided to spray it with compressed air from the outside, shook the bottle, held it upside down, and told me "that means it's working" when liquid came out and sprayed all over the case and through the ports. Of course, he is my father and I can't really argue with him, but I'd rather my computer live to see another day than never do it to avoid pissing him off. I'm sure in the long run he'd be grateful too.
Goodness, sorry for the venting.
TL;DR: Because of the beliefs of a family member who paid for the thing, I am unable to open my PC. Should I ignore him and try to do it anyway? Or is there a way I can do it without opening it up? How likely is it I'll screw it up if I just take off the side panel? Should one never ever open their computer, as my infinitely knowledgeable father says? Thanks, any answers would be extremely appreciated.

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#2 CyberSec_ET

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 12:58 PM

Here is an article to help you with keeping your PC clean >

 

http://www.howtogeek.com/72716/how-to-thoroughly-clean-your-dirty-desktop-computer/

 

As well as doing internal maintenance, like disk cleaning and defragmenting >

 

PC MAINTENANCE FOR BEGINNERS 

 

http://www.howtogeek.com/school/pc-maintenance-for-beginners/lesson2/all/

 

Including software >

 

Ccleaner

 

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

 

Defraggler

 

http://www.piriform.com/defraggler


Edited by hamluis, 08 November 2015 - 03:49 PM.
Removed unnecessary quotebox - Hamluis.


#3 RolandJS

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 01:02 PM

Does he trust a local computer repair shop?  If yes, let them inform him of the features, benefits of your carefully and methodically cleaning the computer.


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#4 xcas

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 01:10 PM

Does he trust a local computer repair shop?  If yes, let them inform him of the features, benefits of your carefully and methodically cleaning the computer.


"If it isn't broken, don't fix it." This applies to general maintenance to him as well. He told me unless I can find the Alienware official user manual and point out where it says it's recommended to clean out the computer he won't even think about it. Talk about unreasonable. Unfortunately I've lost the manual and I can't find anything official online.

#5 RolandJS

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 02:37 PM

What about a trusted source from your local school or college?


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#6 hamluis

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 03:55 PM

LOL...great story, it brightened my day :).

 

My first premise, before opening my mouth/mind via the computer, is to not suggest spending money unless it's really necessary.  That means new components are needed...that is NOT the case here.

 

Post #2 is the way that I would suggest.  "Canned air" is readily available and does the job...for a lot less than any computer shop.

 

Cleaning the Interior of your PC - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial118.html

 

Computer Cleaning Information - http://www.computerhope.com/cleaning.htm

 

Google Links

 

Louis



#7 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 07:00 PM

Owner's manual -

 

ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_alienware_dsk/alienware-x51-r2_Owner's%20Manual_en-us.pdf

 

It's no good saying you are right and he's wrong, but you may find the true word according to Dell in either of the above. I am curious about one thing - does this approach to maintenance extend to his car ?

 

Chris Cosgrove


Edited by Chris Cosgrove, 08 November 2015 - 07:02 PM.
URL posted incorrectly.


#8 xcas

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 07:46 PM

Owner's manual -

 

ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_alienware_dsk/alienware-x51-r2_Owner's%20Manual_en-us.pdf

 

It's no good saying you are right and he's wrong, but you may find the true word according to Dell in either of the above. I am curious about one thing - does this approach to maintenance extend to his car ?

 

Chris Cosgrove

 

 

LOL...great story, it brightened my day :).

 

My first premise, before opening my mouth/mind via the computer, is to not suggest spending money unless it's really necessary.  That means new components are needed...that is NOT the case here.

 

Post #2 is the way that I would suggest.  "Canned air" is readily available and does the job...for a lot less than any computer shop.

 

Cleaning the Interior of your PC - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial118.html

 

Computer Cleaning Information - http://www.computerhope.com/cleaning.htm

 

Google Links

 

Louis

 

 

What about a trusted source from your local school or college?

 

Wow, thanks all for your responses. In the end I caught him in a good mood and managed to at the very least get a "do whatever you want" out of him.

In truth, I ended up causing more issues than I solved. I followed a tutorial which led me to remove the heat sink and never mentioned that you would have to reapply thermal paste if you did this. I put it back together and it runs fine, now I'm just probably going to have to avoid prolonged use and gaming until I can get that situation sorted out. Perhaps in some ways he was right. But it was pretty dusty in there. And at least now I know.

 

As for the question about his car... my dad owns a Porsche Boxster which is his pride and joy. If there was so much as a speck of mud on one of the wheels he'd spend all day out there cleaning it. But that's none of my business.



#9 pcpunk

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 08:08 PM

Does this mean you put it together without Thermal Paste?  

 

If you do decide to work on it again just know that it is always a risk, but if you do it and are successful it will be a great learning experience.  With such an expensive computer I would be very careful.  Look to find a GOOD video on youtube to do such things along with Tutorials here, they are always trustworthy.  And prepare as much as possible before you dive in, tools and products you might need to do the job right.  Always consider the source that you are using to do these things also, if you can watch a video that is the OEM that makes the pc than even better, or one that is from a well known poster/Tech.  Look at all the Opinions if possible for any info you follow.  And as usual, come here to prep and ask questions to things you are unsure about in your research.  There are also lot's of good Downloads here, as in all kinds of tools frequently used to fix computers.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/windows/ 

 

I'm no Tech so take this as just my opinion: Just blowing air into a pc is no fix.


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#10 xcas

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 08:37 PM

Does this mean you put it together without Thermal Paste?  

 

If you do decide to work on it again just know that it is always a risk, but if you do it and are successful it will be a great learning experience.  With such an expensive computer I would be very careful.  Look to find a GOOD video on youtube to do such things along with Tutorials here, they are always trustworthy.  And prepare as much as possible before you dive in, tools and products you might need to do the job right.  Always consider the source that you are using to do these things also, if you can watch a video that is the OEM that makes the pc than even better, or one that is from a well known poster/Tech.  Look at all the Opinions if possible for any info you follow.  And as usual, come here to prep and ask questions to things you are unsure about in your research.  There are also lot's of good Downloads here, as in all kinds of tools frequently used to fix computers.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/windows/ 

 

I'm no Tech so take this as just my opinion: Just blowing air into a pc is no fix.

Yes, I did put it back together. It boots up fine for now so I think I'll just leave it and primarily use my laptop for right now. I certainly won't push it. I would really like to dive in and fix it but I don't trust myself. I'm saving up for an upgrade anyway.



#11 pcpunk

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 08:59 PM

 

Does this mean you put it together without Thermal Paste?  

 


sBCcBvM.png

Created by Mike_Walsh

 

KDE, Ruler of all Distro's

eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes_pcpunk_leavemehere

 


#12 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 07:33 PM

While delighted that you have come to agreement with your father on this subject, here is a link to a topic which you might want to keep for future reference -

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/362044/basic-maintenance/

 

Also, any time you split a heatsink off its mated surface you need to clean both surfaces thoroughly and apply a smear of heat sink compound between them when re-assembling. The reason for this is that metal surfaces - although they may look it - are not smooth at a microscopic level and the compound significantly improves heat transfer.

 

Chris Cosgrove






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