Above is the inside of a typical laptop. This machine was just over a year old when it came to visit my shop. At LiamTek all laptops we work on get a full physical cleaning top to bottom. The reason it was in my shop had nothing to do with the generous amount of lint that you see pictured here, it needed a simple virus removal and a basic tuneup as it was dragging its heels quite a bit.
As with all laptops, I checked it for buildup of lint and that is what I found. Some simple cleaning with canned air every couple of weeks would of prevented the mess we see here.. But, truth be told most people have more important things to worry about. The problem starts when someone decides to clean the laptop with a can of air AFTER the lint has built up like this. There is no way for that big chunk to get out without being broken up or extracted by hand. Lint like this will end up stuck in the fan keeping it from spinning and causing more involved problems.
So what should you do? Ideally you clean it regularly with a few blasts of air and prevent the buildup in the first place. After all an ounce of prevention and all that.. So, while we are talking prevention, keep those laptops off blankets and comforters and your lap for that matter. Anything that can create lint is off limits, so no propping it up on the cat or ferret.
But let’s say you have never cleaned your laptop fans out and you want to.
First things tip your laptop on end with the vent(s) up and turn it on watch for the fan to spin. Check? Good turn it back off.
Next grab a decent flashlight and shine the light through the path of the airflow, eg from the fan toward the exhaust vents.
If you can see the light coming out the exhaust vents you are probably safe to blast it with some canned air.
If not try some different angles before giving up. If you decide that you are unable to see light, don’t try to clean it with the air. It needs to be manually cleaned out so as not to clog or damage the fan.
So, Let’s review:
Cats as ergonomic laptop stands – BAD
Regular cleaning – GOOD
Don’t want to do it? Just bring it in. Any machine we service gets a full cleaning at no additional charge anyway.