How do I keep my laptop functioning in my dusty room?
April 14, 2010 7:58 AM   Subscribe

How do I keep my awesome new laptop functioning well in my incredibly dusty room?

I live in a very small and furniture-packed (Roomba would be pointless) room in an ancient converted private house in NYC. It is dusty. I clean, I swiffer, I air it out, I have one of those fan-powered air filters but nothing helps. My old laptop was crammed to the gills with dust and would immediately jump to 150F - whereat it did not function at - if it wasn't on its fan-powered cooler. How do I prevent this from happening to my new laptop?

So far I've heard:
Coffee filters over the intakes (will this cause overheating problems?)
Regular compressed air (won't this cram the dust in further?)
posted by griphus to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dust that goes in can come out the same way. Rather than using compressed air to blow the dust around inside, why not use a vacuum cleaner nozzle over the vents once a week. Turn the laptop off first though.

And vacuuming the room will get rid of a lot of that dust. It's just as unhealthy for you as it is for your laptop.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:04 AM on April 14, 2010

Response by poster: Oh! I forgot to mention: I'd like to keep my laptop on (actively, not on standby or suspended) 24/7.

Would I still be able to keep the slipcover on it?
posted by griphus at 8:04 AM on April 14, 2010

Do you use another monitor/keyboard for your laptop, even though it's running? If so, you may want to see if there's a larger cover (like a small cabinet) you can buy for it.

My brother owns a cabinetmaking shop where there's sawdust, glue particles, paint, etc., in the air all the time, and he built himself a small wooden cabinet to cover his desktop machine. It's large enough to avoid overheating, but contained enough (it has fine screens placed around so that air gets in and out, but particles are minimized) to keep the computer fairly clean.
posted by xingcat at 8:20 AM on April 14, 2010

What's the source of the dust? Can you attach a bit of random dust to a piece of transparent tape, scan it at a high resolution, and compare it to tape that's been attached to curtains, sofas, left outside the window, etc. ? I used to live in a very dusty room, and found out that most of the dust came from the street outside and an old carpet. I was contributing to the problem by airing out; using the inner courtyard window instead helped a lot.

Have you seen these previous questions?
posted by stereo at 8:36 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think vacuuming the vents are probably your best bet. It's a bad idea to keep a cover on the laptop or obstruct the vents with paper - laptops need to breathe to keep cool. You might be able to get away with some kind of foam air filter though.

Is it really necessary for you to keep it running all of the time? If so, could you run it in low power mode (e.g. best battery life)? Laptops only suck in air when the fans are running, so if you can keep the fans from kicking in, then you'll keep dust out. You might want to get another laptop cooler to keep the temps down.
posted by kenliu at 8:54 AM on April 14, 2010

You need something with a higher flow rate than a coffee filter. Your local hardware store should have some generic furnace filter-type material that should be sufficient. Keep an eye on the temps though.
posted by electroboy at 9:46 AM on April 14, 2010

Instead of trying to put the laptop in a bubble, make the bubble bigger.

Get a humidifier, and set it in your room. Take a spray bottle and spray the air with water every morning.

Saving a laptop from dust, in a dusty room, while it is on all the time, will be a painful exercise in futility.
posted by irishcoffee at 10:13 AM on April 14, 2010

« Older Where to buy a black diamond?   |   eyeglasses frames are too tight Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.