As the weather starts to warm up, this is an ideal time to clean the dust out of the inside of your computer. Dust buildup is an impediment to cooling and ventilation, meaning that your computer runs hotter. This means that the fans are working overtime, so the computer will be noisier, and also the extra heat will shorten the lifespan of the components, and also increase the likelihood of a sudden catastrophic failure.
The only good way to clean the dust out is to buy a can of compressed air. These cost a few quid, but should last for 4 or 5 cleanings.
The first step is to take your computer outside and take off the side panels. If you can get both sides off then this is ideal. Different computers have different methods of attachment – you might need a screwdriver, or it might have thumb screws, or there might be a lever to pull.
The can of compressed air should come with a thin pipe. Push this into the end of the nozzle for added control.
Then, blast away. Start at the top and work your way down. Use short bursts to get the most out of your can. You’ll be able to see most of the dust, but there are a few less obvious places where it lurks. Definitely don’t forget the main CPU cooler – this is a medium-sized fan in the middle of the motherboard, covering a thick, finned cooling block, and is definitely the most important target. You should also send some blasts through the power supply brick in both directions – this is usually good for raising a few hilarious clouds.
Unless you know what you’re doing, avoid touching any of the internal components. Also, while a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment is fantastic for cleaning a keyboard, it’s a very bad idea to use it on the inside of a computer. So don’t do that.
Once things are looking clean in there, close it back up and plug it back in.
I note that you missed out, in the bit about applying the compressed air, the recommendation not to let your six year old do this part.
Eh, it’s okay for him to do a little bit, under close supervision.
Keep the can upright.