There’s no shortage of information out there about how to keep your computer clean in terms of not installing programs you don’t need on it and so forth. Keeping your computer clean goes beyond keeping the hard drive from getting cluttered, however. In fact, keeping the physical hardware in your machine clean goes a long way toward keeping everything in good repair. Here are some easy ways that you can clean up your computer and some advice about when you really should take some extra time to clean it very well. Overheating Is the Indicator One of the most common signs of a computer that’s too dirty is overheating. As an article in ITC points out, there are some very common symptoms of overheating that you should look for. The blue screen of death, freezing up and errors are all signs that your computer may be overheating. If you want to diagnose this problem further, touch the computer. If it feels hot, you probably have a problem. In the worst-case scenarios, your computer will start to shut off on its own and it will not turn back on. Most computers have a safety system in their bios settings that will shut the computer off automatically if it reaches a certain temperature. Some motherboards come with similar software. If you are overheating a lot, you need to clean out your computer. It also may be a sign that one of your fans has broken down, but you can determine that when you take the computer apart to clean it out thoroughly. Where fans are concerned, if your fans are constantly running at full speed – which you will usually notice because of the rather annoying noise – it’s also a good sign that your computer is dirty and needs to be cleaned out. Now, it’s time to learn the cleaning process. Tools The canned air that people oftentimes use to clean up their computers works very well. You really don’t need to get more advanced than this. You may want to grab two cans, as they lose pressure during use and you can switch back and forth between each of them when you’re doing the cleaning. Your computer case likely comes apart with two large screws on the back. Most of the time, you don’t need a screwdriver to loosen these, but you can go ahead and grab one just in case. Some people also prefer to use a brush when they clean up their computer, but this may not really be a good idea, as you may end up leaving bristles on the motherboard or somewhere else where they could cause problems. You can use a hand vacuum – very carefully – to vacuum out the bottom of your case, if necessary. Procedure Turn off your computer and let it cool off for a little bit. After it has cooled off, put it on a surface where it is stable and safe and open up the case. Make certain that you are touching another metal object while you are touching the computer or, preferably, that you have it antistatic strap on your wrist. This prevents you from accidentally discharging static into a chip, which will utterly destroy it. Use the canned air to blow out the heatsink on your processor – it looks like a bunch of metal fins, usually in the middle of the motherboard and attached to a fan – to blow out the motherboard fan, the fans in the case and to generally dust everywhere around the case until it is clean. If you have a high-end video card, blowout the fan in the video card and blowout the intakes on the outside of the video card, as well. You can briefly push the power button on your computer while it is still on the table to make sure that all of the fans are running. As long as the operating system doesn’t boot, you can just turn it on for a fraction of a second or a second, verify that the fans turn on and then turn it off using the off switch on the power supply. Monitor the temperature on your computer by listening for signs of trouble, feeling it for a while to make certain that it’s not too hot and paying attention to your performance. If you still have problems, consider adding additional case fans.