You are here:

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/will desktop pc last longer if doesn't stay on as long?


I have a Dell desktop (Dimension 2400/Windows XP) that is over 8 years old and still works fine. I used to leave it on 14-16 hours a day, but because I want it to last as long as possible, have been turning it off sooner, after about 12 hours. Will this help to make it last longer?  Thanks

It is a mixed answer as some parts run better being on constantly as the turning on and off actually puts a good deal of stress on components, such as the hard drive for the initial spin up of the disk motor. The motherboard in my opinion would last longer if ran for less hours in a day than if ran for more as according to what it sounds like, the computer gets turned on everyday regardless, so the initial stress of starting up is an invalid measuring tool for whether or not the computer will last the longest.

If you really want to make the desktop of yours last for a long time, I would maintain the hardware itself by keeping it cool. Many people never clean out a computer of dust, which is exactly how not to run it cool. Most computers I get that have died have died due to heat caused by dust build-up. It is a very serious problem that many people overlook. The dust can build up within as quick as 6 months to a year to where enough build-up would make it advisable to have it cleaned internally. You can do this with a shop vac (dry of coarse) and use the blow function (which is much more effective in removing most dust than the sucking function) to the inside of the case. If you want the best cleaning job done to it, using an air compressor is advisable, just as long as there is not moister build-up in the compression tank. Be advised, a compressed air can is not a preferred method as it does not have the power required to do the job and if the can is flipped while spraying, the can can condense and spray water into your computer.

A step by step procedure is given to you below on your specific model. If you are not comfortable doing this, have a tech savvy friend do it for you. If the computer has never been internally cleaned or not cleaned in the past year or more, it needs to be done immediately. If you have any pets with fur, that makes the case 10 times worse. I have literally pulled out over a pound in dust and cat/dog hair out of many computers that were neglected of cleaning.

Make sure all power is disconnected and all other plugs are removed for convenience. It is advisable that you wear an "Anti-static wristband" to prevent possible discharge to any components happen you might accidentally touch one or brush something during the below process.

With your Dell, to access the components for cleaning, lift the plastic lever toward the back of the case upward and then while holding upward, push the side panel back to the back and it should come off with ease. Take either your Shop Vac or air compressor and get it ready. Either method I would take it outside so you don't cloud up the house with the dust you are about to blow out.

With the side panel off, look for the three plastic clips along the inside front of the case and press on them either in or out (different Dell models vary) and while pulling slightly on the plastic face forward, release these clips.

Next take the large green plastic piece inside the case and lift up on it near the bottom side. It should lift up and swing up and around revealing the heatsink and main fan. Now you can take your air compressor or shop vac and blow all the dust out. 30 seconds to a minute should be sufficient enough time to get a thorough cleaning on everything making sure you try to blow the out-coming air into all crevices you can find, including the areas in where the front panel was on.

The main focus is the heatsink and fan. After you clean the inside of the case, put your finger into the fan under the green plastic to hold it in place while you blow the harder to get off dust off the blades itself. You can also use a small rag or small duster to help get the dust off.

When complete, try spinning the fan to see how free spinning it is. If it seems to have a bit of resistance, replacement of the fan is required. The fan should spin with ease and have a "bouncing" effect right before the fan stops spinning. Assuming the fan is in good working condition, proceed, otherwise replace the fan.

You can now put the green plastic part back down in its original position, put the plastic face panel back on assuring to properly align the plastic clips on both sides , then put the final metal panel back on and sliding it forward til it clicks in place.

Hook everything back up and turn the computer on like you normally would.

This cleaning of the computer plays for all computers. Laptops fall to the death by heat much faster since the size of the heatsink and air circulation is much thinner, so if you and/or anyone else has one and it hasn't been cleaned in over a year, have them do so. It will save you/them a lot money and trouble later.

Hope this all helps make your computer run as long as possible. It works with my stuff. I have a 1993 Toshiba Satellite laptop that still works like a charm due to these maintenance checks.

Have a great day!

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I can answer most No POST problems, compatibility between parts, upgrade options, troubleshooting, etc. Before you ask me a question, please do some research. I do not give PC speed reviews for video games.


Many, many years of experience working with the hardware components of many types of computers including desktops, laptops, kiosk computers, and even running Windows 3.1, 95, and 98 on the PSP (Sony PlayStation Portable). I've replaced capacitors on desktop motherboards making them working like new again with a high success rate. This is my hobby/job every day.

Associates of Science in Computer Information Technology

©2017 All rights reserved.