Question Can simple cleaning of the pc damage the cpu?

Aug 29, 2020
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Back in June to August 2020 my 3-4 years old custom desktop starts having intermittent issues of randomly shutting down or unable to start up properly:


After sending it for diagnose twice they singled out the memory channel in the cpu to be faulty, but I start to think it is strange as it is the first component to have issues and the other ones are still working fine. I never overclocked my cpu and it has always stayed in 30s-40s degrees range in temperature.

The shutdown issue began in April but only once, and I recalled myself blowing out the dust with a can of compressed air back in January once and then the 2nd time in April. Could this have contributed to the cpu dying so early, or is it natural, even though rare, for cpus to become wore out after 3 years?

I have always left it unplugged, grounded myself and try not to remove or touch any electrical component in my pc, but then I recalled during April I have briefly wiped the fan blades with some tissue (or microfibre cloth, I can't remember) and have spun the fans a couple times with my finger to wipe all of the blades, thinking it should be alright as the cpu isn't that fragile and I am not even directly touching it...

Now I m extremely paranoid that I might have damaged the other components and they are slowly dying off. I didn't know pc cleaning could be so risky D:
 
Based on the care and precautions you took the cleaning you described is very unlikely to have caused any harm. CPU's will only degrade to the point of instability if they're being overclocked heavily and cooled inadequately, which neither is the case based on what you've said.

BUT, if your motherboard VRM is borderline capable for the CPU even at stock it could be experiencing degrading capacitors that can not maintain a stable voltage for the CPU. What are your system spec's? CPU, GPU, motherboard, memory and PSU in particular.

Random instability can be something that develops over time with a Windows installation. It might be a good idea to do a fresh install.

Another possibility is BIOS updates that have fixed stability issues the mfr. found; so checking the notes on the mfr's BIOS updates page might be revealing. The same is true with motherboard utilities such as LAN and WiFi drivers, audio drivers, etc. And GPU also.

And of course, last but not least is the PSU itself: as with the VRM capacitors on the motherboard, the PSU's capacitors can degrade over time and it won't maintain a stable voltage for motherboard components.
 
Aug 29, 2020
10
1
15
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Based on the care and precautions you took the cleaning you described is very unlikely to have caused any harm. CPU's will only degrade to the point of instability if they're being overclocked heavily and cooled inadequately, which neither is the case based on what you've said.

BUT, if your motherboard VRM is borderline capable for the CPU even at stock it could be experiencing degrading capacitors that can not maintain a stable voltage for the CPU. What are your system spec's? CPU, GPU, motherboard, memory and PSU in particular.

Random instability can be something that develops over time with a Windows installation. It might be a good idea to do a fresh install.

Another possibility is BIOS updates that have fixed stability issues the mfr. found; so checking the notes on the mfr's BIOS updates page might be revealing. The same is true with motherboard utilities such as LAN and WiFi drivers, audio drivers, etc. And GPU also.

And of course, last but not least is the PSU itself: as with the VRM capacitors on the motherboard, the PSU's capacitors can degrade over time and it won't maintain a stable voltage for motherboard components.
Computer specs:
Windows 10 64 bit
Cpu: Intel core i7 6700 @ 3.40GHz skylake 14mm Technology
Motherboard: GIGABYTE Technology Co Ltd H170M-D3H-CF
Gpu: 2047MB NVDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
PSU: forgot the exact model but it is FSP and 650W

Random instability can be something that develops over time with a Windows installation. It might be a good idea to do a fresh install.
I initially had this pc built with win7 but upgraded to win10 from the Microsoft website as they ended support for win7. When the repair shop changed out my cpu with their spare parts my pc can run properly, so I doubt the software can be the cause unless the free win10 update somehow messes with the cpu.

I have changed out my CPU and mobo now so I cannot really check the BIOS anymore. I also am not sure how to take out my psu to check if it is degrading, if there is anyway to monitor its voltage?
 
Computer specs:
Windows 10 64 bit
Cpu: Intel core i7 6700 @ 3.40GHz skylake 14mm Technology
Motherboard: GIGABYTE Technology Co Ltd H170M-D3H-CF
Gpu: 2047MB NVDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
PSU: forgot the exact model but it is FSP and 650W


I initially had this pc built with win7 but upgraded to win10 from the Microsoft website as they ended support for win7. When the repair shop changed out my cpu with their spare parts my pc can run properly, so I doubt the software can be the cause unless the free win10 update somehow messes with the cpu.

I have changed out my CPU and mobo now so I cannot really check the BIOS anymore. I also am not sure how to take out my psu to check if it is degrading, if there is anyway to monitor its voltage?
Did the repair shop that changed out your parts do a fresh install of Windows? If not, that could be your problem right there. An 'upgrade install' would be bad enough, but trying to run it with new new CPU and motherboard is fraught with possible failure points.

If you're not one to poke around inside a computer with a digital multimeter you can use one of the popular system monitoring utilities...HWInfo64 or HWMonitor are two that should work. There will be a +12V readout to watch while running various processes, especially something that uses the CPU and/or GPU heavily. Look to see how the +12V reading moves around; if it fluctuates wildly or more that +/-5% (less than 11.4V to over 12.6V) it's worthy of suspicion. But looking at something like ripple takes a lot better test than that.
 
Aug 29, 2020
10
1
15
0
Did the repair shop that changed out your parts do a fresh install of Windows? If not, that could be your problem right there. An 'upgrade install' would be bad enough, but trying to run it with new new CPU and motherboard is fraught with possible failure points.

If you're not one to poke around inside a computer with a digital multimeter you can use one of the popular system monitoring utilities...HWInfo64 or HWMonitor are two that should work. There will be a +12V readout to watch while running various processes, especially something that uses the CPU and/or GPU heavily. Look to see how the +12V reading moves around; if it fluctuates wildly or more that +/-5% (less than 11.4V to over 12.6V) it's worthy of suspicion. But looking at something like ripple takes a lot better test than that.
After they changing out the mobo and cpu the OS was just left it the way it is. How do I really check if win10 is being unstable for me?
 
Aug 29, 2020
10
1
15
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Often compressed air for cleaning equals danger of water droplets...; power on too soon afterward, and all it takes is one or two drops to wreak havoc...

A leaf blower is safe.
I always turn it on 1-2 hours after cleaning so I am sure this is not the cause haha
 
After they changing out the mobo and cpu the OS was just left it the way it is. How do I really check if win10 is being unstable for me?
I'd say it's safe to assume, on principle, it's not going to be stable if you've had a new processor and motherboard installed and Windows wasn't re-installed.

The best thing is do a 'fresh install' after backing up all your files. There's also a 'repair install' you can do that keeps all files and settings.
 

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