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Is it Time to Clean the Computer Yet? [Image]

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Do any of you have similar “dirty computer” horror stories to share? Let us know in the comments!

Keep cooling fans clean (especially laptop ones)! [9GAG]

You can see more examples like this in the collection the image above came from using the link below.

The dirtiest computer cases ever

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 08/4/11

Comments (47)

  1. sscam2001

    Nope not yet, I can still see components! And I can tell this is a Pentium 4 Dell computer…so not dirty enuff!

  2. dave

    Having worked in some cotton mills and other assorted mills, I have to say it would not take long. Used to service copiers and office equipment in the US midwest back in the 80s.

  3. Garrett

    I had this one time where my friend asked me to go fix his computer. And it was a dreaded E machine and i opened it up and i looked inside and i saw as much dust as there is in the picture above. And i then preceded to explain why you dont do this to a computer and then i realized their gpu fan was hanging by a little piece of plastic and wasnt even cooling the gpu. And i said “Well thats why your video keeps freezing while playing games!” hhahah and then i showed them the fan hahaha.

  4. Scott

    I see this all the time. We always joke about finding the owner’s missing dog or cat inside the computer when we open it up. But I can do one better….just imagine this will the yellow coating AND smell of a smoke from cigarettes! That’ll turn your stomach for sure.

  5. nt0xik8ed

    like scott said, i haven’t found them as dirty as the pictures but i’m had some that reeked of smoke, perfume and/or cat urine

  6. xana452

    My friends looked a bit like that. But this one looks like its been in the Mojave during a dust storm!

  7. imsopickled

    My computer is watercooled so has 5 high performance 120mm fans 3 which are above the rad and the other two are to create good air flow. The main problem I get is that the 3 fans above the rad create a hell of alot of dusk and fluff which ends up stuck between the fins of the rad. It gets thats that bad that it actually ends up blocking the flow of air from the fans through the rad,. so I end up having to strip my computer down every six months to clean out the rad. Does my nut in. this is the price you pay for being into overclocking I would say.

  8. kamikazejoe

    I know exactly how a computer gets that dirty. Give it to a family with 4 kids and a dog. Let it sit on the carpet next to the computer desk between 5-7 years.

    I had a nearly identical machine

    I snapped the photo when I opened it to replace the hard disk that finally failed. I actually found a salamander that had crawled into the front plastic piece and died.

  9. D!

    seems the mars rover LOL

  10. nt0xik8ed

    @kamikazejoe rotfl, that’s hilarious.

  11. Road Dod777

    Errr…. That is what my 4 y/o Dell looks like after I cleaned it!
    I guess that pack a day I puff on may be hazardous to my ‘puter.
    Has the Surgeon General seen this post?
    Hacking up a byte or coughing up a chip.

    R D

  12. Jimm

    I cleaned my grandparents computer once. They smoke and it is kept near a parrot cage so there was all sorts of wonderful spoot in there. I had to use a tooth pick to clean the cpu heatsink as every fin was full to the fan with crude. I do respect that old Pentium 4 for still working under those conditions.

  13. Chunk49

    I cleaned my tower, all of the fans and gpu card. It use to overheat so I keep the side panel off. Big mistake, mad dust. I moved one of the fans closer to the GPU and dropped the temp by 10 degrees closed the side and haven’t looked back. That was the best upgrade I’ve done to my pc since I got the fans.

  14. Blisk

    I’m surprised I didn’t recognize it as a P4 Dell before I read the comments. I’m running one right now. Granted, it’s got *slightly* updated graphics and 4x the RAM and HDD, but it’s still a Pentium 4. I really need to upgrade. It’s also not nearly as dirty as that picture. I need to clean mine out right now and it looks clean compared to that picture.

  15. PH

    Burn it.

  16. San

    i think it is bhoot bangla….am i right?

  17. bben

    I have seen many in that condition and worse. I ran a small computer shop in the late 80s. One of my customers was a wood working shop. the PC had over an inch of sawdust combined with cigarette residue. Another was at the county landfill where it was hooked up to the scales used to weigh trucks in and out – about a half inch of red clay dust, compacted into the Motherboard. Others I saw had roaches, mouse droppings, cat & dog hair and even a dessicated dead mouse.

    My favorite trick in a really dirty location was to reverse the fan and put a filter over the intake.

    Prior to the IBM PC every computer I worked on had filters and their fans drawing air IN – this kept dust from entering the case through every little crack and floppy slot. The PC installed theirs to blow air out and pull in dust and debris through every crack and crevice in the case. I think it was a mistake that has been followed by power supply makers ever since.

  18. YK

    I once had to install a DVD RAM drive into a server. after opening it was full with white dust. then relised the company shredder was next to the server. lol


  19. princemooch

    I got rid of one of those a few months ago, it wasn’t even close to being that dirty. That PC must’ve been in a really dusty cupboard or something like that.

  20. Shark


  21. rMatey180

    Typical floor unit I would say.

  22. Peter

    Worst one I had was one that had been sitting under a desk while the user chain smoked for years. It was not as dusty as this one, but the dust was mixed with tobacco tar which is NASTY not to mention extremely sticky.

  23. Gavin

    this isnt dust this is sand

  24. Jim

    I run a computer repair service. One day I brought a computer to the shop because it would not run. Usually the power supply. Boy did I get a surprise. I opened the case and their was a whole nest of mice. The mother and 9 baby mice. They had eaten all the insulation from all the wires inside the computer. Their also was a nest of paper that took up the whole cpu area. Couldn’t get the computer case outside fast enough. My cats took care of the rest.

  25. sebastian

    Mine actually died last night, from what i belive is “cat hair poisoning” , and quite the amount of dirt. Will post Pic later (have not had the time to open it yet, but i belive its quite the mess)

    Realized that i had maunted both my fans to suck into the schassi. so all air went in, none out.

  26. esam

    my computer was about as dirty as this one

  27. AE8994

    Oh, this is nothing. I used to work in a plant that had a desktop computer controlling a powder coating process. The computer would last about 6 months before failing. When the old computer was removed, it was caked with powdered paint about a half inch thick. I used to have before and after pictures. I’ll have to see if I can dig those up.

  28. Vincent

    I say take the case outside and put an electric leaf blower on it, NOT A VACUUM CLEANER!

  29. Chris

    worst is one full of bugs..had to set it out back & spray it down with bug spray before we could work on it. also remember one from a sheet rock factory. the inside was about a half inch deep in white sheet rock dust.

  30. Ivydapple


    You guys have some of the dirtiest computers I’ve ever seen…

  31. Zoowey

    The best way to control dust in your case is to have a positive pressure setup with intake filters. Just make sure you vacuum/clean the filters every week or you won’t get proper airflow.

    Been doing this with my gaming PC’s for years and I have an older 5 year old gaming PC that has never had the inside cleaned but yet it hardly has any dust in it.

  32. William

    I opened a case once and when I pulled off the side panel I could only see dust laden hair. The components were NOT visible. The owner had long hair cats in the house and there were open slots in the back and auxiliary fan on the front. VERY clogged. And yes the problem was overheating.

  33. GT4ME

    “WHY would you even let a computer get this bad” All it takes is little of your time, as i clean my PC ever month and takes me 15 minutes and yes it runs all day everyday in workshop enviroment there is just no excuses to let them get this bad!!!

  34. Alias

    I used to work in a mom & pop style repair shop back in the Pentium 1 days, and I could swear about 10%+ of the machines that came in were much worse off than those in the pics above..

  35. John

    Back in the ’80’s we got a call from a customer that their floppy drive wasn’t working. We shut off the computer and took the cover off. You could not even SEE the floppy drive it was that chocked with dust. There was an air intake in the ceiling directly above the computer which was at the end of a hall. The fan would draw air and dust down the hall and the fan in the PC sucked it right in.

  36. Firefox264

    Damn that computer has a hell of a lot a dust

  37. Myrddin J. Emrys

    My second cousin gave me his computer and he said something was wrong with it, he thought it was the power supply, when I took it apart it was half as dirty as that one, so I cleaned it out changed the power supply and it works believe it or not like it just came from the factory.

  38. Tech Scott

    I have seen this PLUS the cigarette smoke encrusted case and components, actually, I have seen worse.

  39. sajid

    will it work?

  40. DufusMcGee

    Periodically I take my computer outside and use my air compressor to blow all the dust away from all of my components. I use a screwdriver to keep the fan blades from turning and generating current, which may ruin some electrical parts. Since I build my own computers, I also use a foam rubber type air conditioning filter which I duct tape over all my air flow vents. I opted not to liquid cool, so I have about a dozen fans total in my Cooler Master case. If the dust does not blow clean enough, I spray window cleaner on parts, such as the fan blades, and use the air to blow the wet dust away. Then I leave it outside, here in Florida (Where the temp is HOT) to dry out before taking it inside. I have done this with all my computers, for many years. The dust is a very good heat insulator, and excessive heat is a leading cause of computer damage.

  41. Frank

    Is that evidence of looking at ‘dirty pictures’ on your computer? Hmmmm.

  42. Edward Allen Weissbard

    I wonder if is was still actually running…I assume it was?

  43. alex

    It looks like its been dug up from somewhere ^^;

  44. jim

    recently was repairing a machine that “suddenly slowed down and stopped working. when I picked it up, i had left it in the back of my car for 3 very hot summer days, which was a good things seeing as when i opened it up there were between 30 and 40 dead cockroaches inside

  45. March Hare

    We recovered some equipment from a sand and gravel company that shut down, the inside of the computers, printers, copier and network equipment was completely coated with very fine powder.

    We could actually see the airflow patterns in the drifts of dust that the fans had made!

    I had to use an airhose to clean them, canned air just wouldn’t do it, and these all came from inside the office.


  46. Deo Domuique

    I have a back PC ( E7300, GTX 7950 etc ) and last week I cleaned even its PSU. I opened it ( The PSU ) and did great job. It was really dirty because despite the fact that I was keeping clean the main Fans, the PSU never touched it inside before.

    By the way, I cleaned of course the GPU’s and CPU’s fans, the Case generally and the results was great. The PC worked afterwards like new and silent…

    You’ve to know by keeping PC clean, all of its parts working better, being cooler and you even save electricity with that way. The PC does not struggle.

    My new PC got it at the beginning of this year ( i5 2500, GTX 460 OC 1GB, Intel SSD, WD Black HDD, X-Fi Fatal1ty Sound Card etc ). I’ll clean it when the summer is over. The enviroment is hot but the PC mostly works in my air-conditioned room. It helps in hot weather. So, after summer… No hurries.

  47. William

    Roaches… Little baby roaches, and LOTS OF EM!
    This gal brought me a pc to fix one day. It smelled disgusting, even before I opened it up… I took it out on the back patio to blow the dust out with a vacume… as soon as I took off the side panel, BOOM!!! The whole nest scurried out of the damn thing.
    I was spraying the yard and house the rest of the day.

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