If there is one place in our house that has the largest civilization of dust bunnies, it would have to be the insides of our computers.
So in anticipation of the “computer spring cleaning that’s not during spring” that my dad and I were going to do this week, my mom had purchased some “compressed air.” However, after finding that it wasn’t “compressed air” but rather a “compressed chemical concoction,” we returned it to Wal-Mart and decided that we would use my dad’s air compressor.
I got everything unplugged from the backs of the computers; my dad got the air compressor ready. I cleaned the dust caked on the back ports and opened the computers. My dad turned on the air compressor and blasted the air in there.
I wasn’t too sure… that air looked powerful enough to really damage something. This wasn’t air coming from a little can of compressed air; this was air coming from the big thing that you use to blow up tires.
The air compressor cleaned it out really good though. As I look out our porch window I still see the exiled dust bunnies on our porch, looking dejected and fluffless.
Anyway, I repluggified the computers, turned them on, and made sure that they booted up okay. Everything looked okey-dokey-dandy, so I went on to do some other non-computer things.
I came back to my computer after some time and noticed the HDD Health alerts on my desktop: hard drive over critical temperature. Uh-oh.
I shut off my computer and thought about what to do. I began my diagnostic thinking and decided that either something was wrong with the hard drive fan, or else it was just the fact that it was really hot and humid outside that day.
I decided to turn the computer back on again. I noticed it was a lot quieter, which could indicate that a fan wasn’t working. Or it could’ve been a direct result of the dust removal.
After I logged in, I closely monitored HDD Health’s hard drive temperature readings while I did a Google search to find out how hot was too hot. The temperature slowly crept from the mid-30s to lower-40s (in Celsius). My Google search told me that 35-40 degrees Celsius was the normal operating temperature. Thankfully it wasn’t dangerously hot or anything, but it was still high enough to cause concern.
I recalled that my hard drive usually ran in the 20s with the fan on. And the fact that the temperature crept upwards was a tell-tale characteristic of insufficient cooling. I checked the house’s thermostat; it was only 73 degrees Fahrenheit. That confirmed it: the hard drive fan had stopped working.
I unplugged everything again and opened the case. I took out the hard drive and spun the fan with my fingers. The fan itself wasn’t stuck or anything. It must not be getting power.
The fan’s power cable was plugged in. But just in case, I unplugged and replugged the fan’s cable.
Not knowing what else to do, I plugged in the computer’s power cable and ran it with the case open. The fan was spinning all right. Hmm…
I closed the case, replugged everything, and turned the computer on. This time the temperature was hovering around 25 degrees Celsius like it usually does.
So I decided that the air blast must’ve somehow dislodged something or other, and un- and re-plugging the power cable must’ve fixed it.
Looks like the tried-and-true unplug-and-replug method has worked its wonders again.