Computer guts

Here’s some pictures from the big computer clean-up yesterday!

bugs in computer

There was a literal BUG in the computer.

Here’s the big picture…

computer guts 2

Close-up of the processor. Check out all the dust in the fins (supposed to be drawing heat away from the processor). The “RAM sticks” are looking pretty woolly, too.


bunnies processor

No idea what THESE tiny things are. I will ask. It looks like a miniature city to me.

tiny city

Well, there’s your problem

I had all kinds of problems with Minecraft yesterday — not just Minecraft and Avanti not playing nicely together, but also, several times when my computer crashed. Not “hanging up”, not BSoD (“Blue Screen of Death”) but complete crash, just as if someone had tripped over the power cord.

First I made sure that I wasn’t tripping over the power cord.

Next I did some research at the Minecraft help forums. One possible problem, mentioned over and over, was overheating. Minecraft makes a lot of things move on your screen, and so the computer has to keep updating that image every second. That makes the computer’s graphics card work overtime — and graphics cards put out a lot of heat. I felt my computer and it didn’t feel hot…I looked into the transparent side, and the insides didn’t look dusty…

Since my computer genius son was home from college, I asked him to help me take a look around inside the computer. Wow!! Surprise!


Lots of ’em, in fact. The processor was especially bad. It is the brains of the computer, and is surrounded by tons of tiny “fins”

lion fish wikimedia

….which are very important, because they draw the heat away from the processor. Otherwise the computer’s brain will get fried.

The heat-absorbing fins of my processor were covered with thick, sticky fuzz. I tried my camera-cleaning kit, but even the puffs of air and the special brush weren’t enough to remove it. In the end I cleaned each fin by hand with a Q-tip. Note, Computer Genius Son reminded me to be very careful about static electricity, which can do serious damage to the inside of the computer. Fortunately, it was about 98% humidity out, an ideal day for computer brain surgery.

The rest of the computer’s guts were pretty bad, too — including the crucial graphics card. I was amazed to see that the graphics card had its own, personal tiny fan (and I cleaned off each fan blade). There were also two fans to cool the power source box, and three more fans in other locations inside the computer. It took about an hour to get everything clean.


No crashes since then! There’s still some software issues, but those are a different kind of problem — not dustbunny related.