Clean Laptop Guide

Ok, so my laptop fan is running 24/7 and even seems to be getting slower – chances are that it is being auto-throttled because of dust accumulated in the CPU vent (and maybe, as you’ll see, because the copper heatsink is basically not properly attached!)

So there’s a huge amount of guides out there that are all very professional and neat. And long. And f*cking tedious. And also.. most of the time the exact manual that -you- (read: me!) need is simply not there to be found.

Fret not – help is here to be had!!

Because you see, I have a 100% un-authorized (seriously I take no responsibility what-so-ever if your precious machine craps out because of this guide) way of cleaning up your laptop and making it dust free (true).. and sparkling new (patently a lie). Also, if you follow the most crazy part of this guide the heatsink will end up being more tightly attached to the CPU, meaning better heat-transfer which again translates to a colder & quieter running laptop!

A) find a large unobstructed space (say your bed) and take the laptop completely apart by slowly and methodically taking out first the battery and then the harddrive and then ALL the screws you can find in it.

B) Check a couple of the guides above and then realize that you’ll need to gentle take off the keyboard. And then a lot more. Be sure to NOT be violent and GENTLY loosen the connectors from the keyboard/mousepad/powerbutton..etc. before you lift off the final bits leaving the motherboard exposed. The machine is naked now and you should seriously start thinking about having grabbed a water tap to make sure you grounded yourself before you started taking the machine apart.

C) Yes, it will look somewhat like this:

Notice that all the screws are laid out in a super organized pattern around the crime scene

Notice that all the screws are laid out in a super organized pattern around the crime scene

D) Notice that all of this dust crap is stuck in the copper CPU air vent, I got a hover and cleaned it out (be sure to see the fullres pic for the dusty un-goodness):

This crap needs to go - try and hover up a bare minimum of screws, chances are you'll need them

This crap needs to go - try and hover up a bare minimum of screws, chances are you'll need them

E) Yet the fun was just beginning since I then noticed that the copper heatsink seemed oddly loose on the CPU. Basic reason was that the heatsink was attached too loosely to begin with allowing it to wobble slightly from side to side over time causing all of the thermal paste to disappear from the actual CPU core. Crap. Look and see:

There should be thermal paste -in- that square, not around it.

There should be thermal paste -in- that square, not around it. This was alleviated by scoping some of the stuff back on an applying thinly with a knife's edge - do NOT use fingers, thermal paste is probably more or less unwell from a health perspective

D) Then things got really.. special. Basically I hated the fact that the heatsink was applied with the same force that some very vague specimens shake your hand: un-freaking-forcefully. So (..) I thought: “what will make the heatsink stick closer to the CPU”? And gladly answered myself: “A tea candle”. More specifically the aluminum from a tea candle that is (I know – not smart if the aluminum breaks off and short-circuits  your motherboard or a nano-mouse runs into your computer and builds a railgun with it). See following 3 pictures for instantaneous understanding of the situation and followingly prolific happiness.

These things will combine gracefully. They will.

These things will combine gracefully. They will.

This looks dodgy but in effect it is very close to high precision engineering done by Intel. All the time.

This looks dodgy but in effect it is very close to high precision engineering done by Intel. All the time.

The heatsink actually DOES fit a lot tighter. And by tighter, I mean better

The heatsink actually DOES fit a lot tighter. And by tighter, I mean better

So. The end of the story is that I then used my elephant memory to re-assemble the whole laptop and then wrote this “guide” with it. The happy side of the story is that it runs A LOT cooler now – I can once again do basic web work without having the fan run continually. Please do remember that laptops are somewhat valuable (largely depending on whether they are from this side of the closest historical millennium or not) before attempting taken one apart.

Whether it was mainly the removing of dust or the better contact between the heatsink and the CPU that did most of the job is hard to tell. My guesstimate is 60/40.

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