What lurks inside your computer? I'm guessing you probably do not even know. When is the last time you've cracked open that case? Ever? It could be scary. In this article I will describe the process of cleaning a computer.
The first step in cleaning a computer is to shut your computer down. With your computer shut down, but still plugged in, touch the metal part of the power supply (where the power cord comes in at). This is just a basic precaution to discharge any static. Open up your case. On a simple case, it will be two screws on the back side of the case. If you are watching at the back of the computer, they should be on the right side. Remove these screws and open it up. If that is not the setup, you probably have a Dell or Compaq with a different scheme to open them. Most newer Dells need to be laid on their side, push the buttons on the top and bottom, and open. There are plenty of other ways a case could be setup, but you should be able to figure it out.
Once you've got your computer open, it might be dusty. Grab a can of compressed air. If you do not have any, this can easily be purchased at your local Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or pretty much any general goods store. Blow the computer out. Make a special effort on the fans inside the computer, but just spray away. A word of caution, if you tilt compressed air too much, it will spray out as a liquid! If you need to get to a hard to reach place, bend the hose, do not tip the can to an extreme.
If your computer has a front face on it, try to remove it. Again, this will vary a lot, but it should not take much to figure it out. The face is the very front part of the computer where the CD-Rom drives and what will not be sticking out of. Dust often gets trapped behind this part. I've seen computers with so much dust packed in here it looks like a dryer filter!
If the fans or other parts of the case are caked with dust and spraying is not cutting it, UNPLUG the computer, and grab a damp cloth (note, not a soaking wet dripping cloth) and wipe them down. Do not wipe on any of the components of the computer, just the case and fans. Be careful not to get water on anything. If you want, you can take the fans out, they are usually screwed on. As long as you're careful though, nothing should happen. Should you get water on anything, wipe it off and leave the computer unplugged for awhile while it dries. As long as it is not plugged in, a little water will not hurt it.
That's it! That's all there is to cleaning a computer. Just a bit of air blowing and wiping. And you were scared!