My laptop is a magic dust-creator!
June 13, 2012 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Why does my laptop seem to produce its own dust?

I had my last MacBook Pro for 4 years or so, and recently bought a new one. (Great news, I bought it right before this retinal screen update thing yaay!) I've had the following problem with both of them.

I often use the laptop on my lap, while sitting on my couch. It often spends unused time sitting on my coffee table. Very often, when I pick up my laptop to use it, there is all sorts of dust-ish stuff, just under the laptop, and nowhere else. Dust-ish is my most succinct way to describe it - it's like little bits of...stuff. Flecks of stuff? And it's just where my laptop was sitting, not anywhere else on the coffee table.

So the question is, what is the deal? Where does this stuff come from? And how can I make it stop appearing from under my laptop? (I can't imagine it's good for the little guy.) Is this something totally gross that I'm guilty of creating, but don't know it? (If so, please be gentle.)
posted by violetish to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Macbooks inhale through their keyboard, and exhale via the screen hinge. When the laptop is open, some of the exhaust is sent back under the mac - probably to keep airflow moving over the bottom of the machine to make it a more effective heat sink.

So the macbook isn't producing dust, but it is spewing skin flakes from your fingers underneath.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:37 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I get the same thing. Weird. I guess I always assumed it was something like dead-skin-household-dust stuff. Essentially the stuff that I would have less of if I vacuumed more often than I do.
posted by The Potate at 6:38 PM on June 13, 2012

I figured it was that electronics often have a charge that attracts dust. My digital photo frame is covered in dust after only a short time, as are pretty much all my computer screens.
posted by limeonaire at 6:46 PM on June 13, 2012

Dust falls out wherever air slows down.

There's not much room under a laptop, and circulating room air will always move more slowly between the tabletop and the bottom of the laptop than it does in the rest of the room.

If you find a large hardback book about the same size as the laptop, and leave it sitting on the same table propped on four matches to create a similar-sized gap underneath it for the same amount of time as your laptop sits there, I bet you'll find about the same amount of dust underneath that too.
posted by flabdablet at 4:07 AM on June 14, 2012

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