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Posted: July 21, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Case Cleaning (cont.)
The next thing to do would be to take the compressed air and blow out the space between the motherboard and the motherboard tray and make sure that there isn't any gunk stuck under there. While you're at it, use the compressed air to clean out any other small nooks and crannies within the case to make sure there aren't any dust bunnies hiding anywhere in the case. Then take a cloth, dampen it with an alcohol solution or glass cleaner and clean all of the accessible parts of the case, inside and out. Take special care around the fan grilles to make sure there isn't any dust hiding, but also be careful not to touch any of the actual computer components with the damp cloth. If you do by accident, use the compressed air to clean the area and then let the system stand open for several hours until the part in question dries. If you don't wait, you could ruin a part of the computer.
Goldfinger connectors, as they are known, are notorious for being hiding spaces for grime, as well as being one of the prime reasons that components refuse to work properly. Properly cleaning the goldfingers and their ports is a good way to lengthen the life of a computer as well as improve how well the actual part works. To clean a goldfinger (like you find on a slot-based Pentium II/III processor or a PCI card), take a lint-free cloth and some alcohol cleaning solution and rub down the gold colored connectors at the bottom of the card. It is generally best to clean with the grain of the contacts, not against it. Cleaning against the grain (pattern) could scratch or damage the connector. After you have cleaned the connector, be advised that you should never touch the goldfinger on any piece of hardware and should always handle such hardware from the edge of the PCB.
Putting a clean card (or processor) into a dirty connector, however, is extremely silly. There are two steps to take when cleaning one of these ports. The first would be to take some compressed air and blow out the port the best you can, and then take some other small implement as some alcohol and use it to lightly scrub down the metal connectors to improve contact and surface conductivity.
External Port Cleaning
There isn't much you can do when it comes down to cleaning your external ports, but if you feel so inclined, blowing out the connectors on the cable and the ports on the back of the computer using some compressed air wouldn't hurt anything. This can be particularly helpful for USB connections because the unused ports tend to collect dust like nobody's business. Be careful not to use any liquid (of any type, including alcohol-based solutions) on the female ports on the back of the computer because the small holes tend to trap fluids.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you clean out your system for longer life. One of the added benefits to cleaning all of the connectors inside the PC and getting all of the dust out of the case is that it can help facilitate a successful overclock by increasing conductivity and lowering the temperature within the case. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments about this guide.
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