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Cleaning Out My Laptop – What a PITA

So I spent the better part of an hour physically cleaning out my laptop, what a PITA. Why so long you ask? It seems these days that laptop manufacturers like to toss in 30-plus screws just to open it up, and then bury the fan, which required the removal of more screws. A common thing I notice on my laptops and other laptops out there, is how easy it is to get to the hard drive or the memory. Why can't the manufacturer do something like that for the fan? It shouldn't take me an hour to clean the fan on my laptop. It shouldn't take more than 2 minutes.

OK, the point of the above rant was this: LAPTOP MANUFACTURERS, LISTEN UP! YOU NEED TO MAKE IT EASY FOR US TO CLEAN OUT OUR FANS!. Our laptops shouldn't need to follow Nelly's Hot in here, and I should have to take off all of my laptop's hypothetical clothes.

I know I can't be the only one who cleans out their laptop fans. I know there isn't anyway possible I am the first to think about making it as easy to clean out the fan as it is to replace memory or a hard drive. How many of you clean out your laptop fans? How much time do you spend on it? Do you just normally blow some air into it, or you do take your laptop a part and really clean it out?

Another pain is the keyboard, though I doubt this one would be an easy fix. Right now, I remove the keyboard from the laptop, flip it upside down, and gently smack the bottom of it to get the big stuff to fall out. Then to clean out the smaller particles I use a business card or something similar (folded up piece of paper) to get in between and under the keys. This actually works pretty well, but I would recommend against it while the keyboard is still part of the laptop, as you might drive that stuff into the laptop itself. Speaking of the keyboard, that is just as easy for me to get to and remove like the memory and the hard drive. Lightly pry off the top panel, remove 3 screws, and lightly pry out the keyboard. This takes me 2 minutes to remove at most, and then I spend the next 10 minutes cleaning it out.

Anyone know of a laptop manufacturer that makes it easy to clean out the fan? Is there a such thing? Google wasn't my friend on that one.

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  • Anonymous

    here is a little song to sing whilst you are doing it http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6342440/clean-the-fan-song

    • http://www.nixternal.com Rich Johnson

      The sad thing is, that was one of the first links when I was Googling around. I didn’t continue to it because it was “College Humor” and at that point in time, I needed more than humor :)

      Glad you made me watch it though, because that song was exactly how I felt during the entire process.

  • https://launchpad.net/~hyperair Chow Loong Jin

    My Lenovo Ideapad Y410 has a fan that’s accessible via a single panel at the back, which is really convenient.  I’m not sure they make Ideapads the same way now, though.

    On the other hand, my sister’s Acer 4736-series laptop required a complete disassembly for that. Everything, yes, *everything* had to be removed. Including the monitor.The Thinkpad Edge E220s does not have a single panel at the back (not even a detachable battery, and RAM replacements are done by lifting the keyboard), but on the other hand, there aren’t that many screws, and all you have to do is lift the top cover of the chassis to access the fan. The fan assembly itself can be removed without needing to remove the entire motherboard, thankfully (which was needed for the Acer 4736). The hard part then, is trying to open the fan assembly, which seems to have sealed screws. I couldn’t get past those, since my warranty is still valid.

    • http://www.nixternal.com Rich Johnson

      Yeah, both of my laptops require removal of the display. That makes it even worse.

  • https://launchpad.net/~hyperair Chow Loong Jin

    By the way, having the hardware service manual really helps for dismantling the laptop. It took something like 20 minutes to take apart the laptop, clean the fan, and put it back together. It took many more minutes to read the manual and swallow the disbelief that the monitor had to be removed before the top cover of the chassis could be opened, though.

    • http://www.nixternal.com Rich Johnson

      Yeah, I exaggerated the hour part, but still, 20 minutes to clean a fan, yet you can remove memory & a hard drive, which are far more volatile than a fan in seconds. Doesn’t make sense to me. I have taken so many laptops apart that I don’t even refer to manuals anymore. I can remove the fan on both of my laptops blind folded, and I would bet money on that one :)

  • http://www.nixternal.com Rich Johnson

    FYI: You really want to piss of Best Buy employees? Go in, and ask to the see the bottom of the laptops you are interested in. Let them know you want easy access to RAM, HD, and the fan, and you want to check before purchasing. They have to unlock each machine from that contraption. Oh it is hillarious! After looking through about 10 or 15 laptops tonight, not a single one was easy to get to the fan & clean. Here is the funniest part, the Geek Squad guy is like, “If you think the fan needs to be cleaned, you can bring it to us to do it, however I would recommend you have the insides cleaned at least twice a year, and we can do that for you.” Yeah right, I am looking at the bottom to see how much of a PITA it will be for me to do it, not you silly guy :)

  • thefroyo

    The time required to clean my (and my fiancées) HP laptops  (HP Compaq, Elitebook) are resonable: loosen two screws at the bottom, remove keyboard, loosen one more screw and take out the fan. Opening and closing took ~20 mins the first time I tried. Now I can do it in 5 mins.

  • https://launchpad.net/~popey Alan Pope

    I had to take my Thinkpad apart today to fit an SSD (9.3MM into 7MM slot _will_ go!) and was delighted to note it’s stupid easy to take apart and they have easily downloadable and readable PDF manuals. Every day in every way the I love my Thinkpad more :) 

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