Extend Your Laptop's Life! Clean the Dust Out of Its Heat Sink.





Introduction: Extend Your Laptop's Life! Clean the Dust Out of Its Heat Sink.

A very basic overview of how I cleaned the dust out of my Toshiba laptop's heat sink. There was so much in there! I can't believe this practice isn't recommended and encouraged by the manufacturers.

If dust is blocking the air inlet and outlet and/or the heat sink, your computer may overheat. Symptoms of overheating include very hot air coming out of the outlets, an unusually hot base, or the computer suddenly shutting off for no apparent reason. If your computer doesn't have a low enough setting for automatic shutoff due to overheating, the components inside may be damaged.

I broke no stickers or seals while doing this, but there is a possibility of leaving some marks on screws or covers. This almost certainly voids your warranty, so keep that in mind before you start!

This was a very easy process but can present many opportunities for dropping tiny screws. If you have a tendency to drop things or aren't good with screwdrivers, please hire a professional to do this for you.

Step 1: Remove Fan Cover

The first picture is obviously the computer base. The fan cover should be easy to identify. I recommend placing a cloth or something down before overturning your computer. I didn't ... oh well.

The three screws circled in red are hex screws. I didn't have a hex driver so I used a small flathead that fit well. Not a great idea, but it worked well enough.

Step 2: Remove Inner Cover

When the first cover comes off, here's what you see. Up top is the copper heat sink that sends off heat through many vanes as air passes through it.

I don't know why these two fans are different. Maybe someone can leave a note and educate us?

The five circled screws are small phillips head. I made extra sure not to drop these while removing them.

Step 3: Vacuum!

Here's what the inside looks like after I vacuumed it. I wish I had taken a before and after shot! The area on the copper sink where the arrow is pointing was covered in about 1 mm of dust in the middle, up to 3 mm toward the sides. The exit area off to the right was covered in about 1 mm of dust the whole way across. In other words, they were both completely blanketed. There was also a lot around the fan blades.

I used a small attachment on my regular vacuum cleaner to get most of it, and then a brush attachment to get some of the stickier pieces off. I didn't try to completely clean the fan blades or the bases under the fans.

This amount of dust collected after about 2.5 years of everyday use. Based on what I saw, I'd recommend doing this cleaning at least once a year to enhance cooling of your laptop.  Keep it clean!



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    "there is a possibility of leaving some marks on screws or covers"

    this is exactly why they dont tell you to do this. and on top of that, people who dont clean their heatsinks will kill their laptop faster, meaning they will either take it in or replace it. more money for the producers, so they dont advise cleaning their product, as it will prolong its life and bring in less profit from dead laptops

    Use a rubber band, a medium sized thin one for manually unscrewing the tiny computer screw. It's a hack I picked up for stripped screws, being I can't see very well, using that, and plenty of light, coupled w/patience works for me w/o leaving marks, or scratches. I pack rubberbands in any tool kit where I have drills or screwdrivers. XP

    its not that simple it takes me about 1-3 hours getting to the fans i need to unscrew every little bolt on the back of my laptop and even take off the motherboard

    i have a toshiba Quosimo 7xx and it takes ages to clean it i would like someone to suggest a faster and easier way?


    Want a bad consequence? All that excess heat is doing more than draining your battery, its damaging the mobo. If your laptop doesn't start up on the first solid push of the button, this could be why. I'm sure the DIY community is tired of hearing me say this, but check out dcse.dell.com if you need to clean out your Dell. If you have pets, grab a set of tweezers first and reach into the blades. I've yanked hair-balls out of fan intakes that probably would have choked the cat who generated them.


    I tried to access this and I got a page with a message denying access.

    Great Idea !! -- I would like to Thank all for their respective input, that is some good reading there, and some good advice as well. I wish I knew of a way to obtain a service manual, or perhaps someone in here knows how I could get into a "Toshiba Satellite 2715XDVD", that belongs to a friend of mine. It will come on and boot up for maybe a minute or so after "POST", then konk out. It gets real hot after awhile on the bottom of the unit near where the A/C adapter plugs in, and at the plug itself. I'm certain that it's overheating, and I need a way into the unit to clean it out. -- Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. -- Thanks in advance.

    One is an air inlet and the other an air outlet. Both are optimized to perform their specific task, giving a slight difference in design

    I don't think that they are different I believe one blows air in and the other blows air out so one is upside down and the other isn't. Thanks for making this btw!!!