Lint, the tiny, not so quiet computer killer

Here I am, only three days in to my new forestry/technology blog and I'm deviating from forestry already. I wanted to write about the release of the new iPad, but I want to get my hands on one and spend some time with it over the weekend to be able to write something that's somewhat knowledgeable. And, something else came along that was worth writing about. That's right, it's lint. I classify it as lint, but it's made up of lint, dust, pet hair, and other unknown particles, but for the sake of making things easy, I'm just going to call it lint. Have I grossed you out yet?
Forrest Gump reminds us that lint happens; it just does! It was lint, right? We all know it because we all do laundry, right? We all clean the lint filter on our dryers at least once a year, don't we? I'm kidding, most of the time it's every load or maybe every two or tree loads. How often do we think about lint in our computers though? Our computers have vents, some have filters like dryers, and they all have fans to help keep things cool. Lint does accumulate over time in our our computers. I can't stress enough how important it is to make sure you computer is cleaned at least annually. An over accumulation of lint and dust can cause the fan to work harder and run more often, creating a good bit of noise. Overheating can occur that will shut down the computer or permanently damage the processor or over components of the computer.
Lately, my wife's laptop has been getting really, really hot. Sometimes it would shut off by itself because it gets too hot. Luckily, she never lost any sensitive unsaved data because of it. I bought her an iPad as a wedding gift last July and that has become her daily consumption device (email, facebook, twitter, reading, surfing the web, etc.). The fact that her computer was having these trouble made it easier to push the laptop to the side and pick up the iPad, even if it wasn't always the best option for what she needed to do. So, yesterday I googled "overheating Dell Insprion B130" and found several articles/blog posts about how lint will accumulate between the heat sink and the fan causing it to overheat. 
It literally took me three minutes to take off a small panel that exposed the heat sink. At first inspection the heat sink didn't appear to have much dust or lint on it. I unscrewed four screws to remove the heat sink. That's when I saw it. There was an opening between the heat sink and fan that was totally clogged. I fished the lint out, replaced the heat sink (I put a little bit of thermal grease on it before replacing it), and replaced the panel. Voilà, the computer runs as good as new (as good as a six year old laptop can run anyway). The overheating problem is gone and it is much, much quieter. I hardly notice the fan now, it was almost unbearable previously. So, clean your computer folks, it's not that hard. Your computer should live a longer, happier life and you'll enjoy using it more since you no longer have second degree burns on your lap and you can actually hear things over that pesky fan. Maybe it will even save your marriage now that you can hear your spouse over that fan. On second though, maybe not.

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