PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/dell hd update
Flinix, you were right, the OS reinstall did not recognize the hd.
I went ahead and bought a new hd. The OS has installed and now I am downloading windows updates and then will install the drivers.
I bought some thermal paste, as I have read that it is good to replace that when cleaning the fan and heat sink.
Would you recommend me applying new thermal paste?
If so, how do I then cure it? I have read about thermal cycling and cure time. I am not sure how to thermal cycle it. If I should use a program for that or not.
This pc isn't over clocked or anything, and I never had temp problems before, and it should run cooler just from cleaning it.
I will send a pic of it all when I am complete and have cleaned it thoroughly, as you had asked for.
Trying to decide what to do with the paste, if anything.
I would recommend replacing the thermal paste. To do so, unplug the computer and then take apart the computer down to taking the heatsink. With access to the CPU, clean the old thick paste with a paper towel. Then with the remaining paste residue, you can lightly dab another paper towel with some white distilled vinegar making sure it's not dripping wet (as it is water based). Just rub out the remaining residue off the chip. When you think it's clean, clean it again. Repeat the same process on the bottom of the heatsink.
After everything is clean, take your thermal compound and put just a small amount in the center of the chip and take something small and flat that you can thinly spread the compound over the entire surface. When the chip comes flat with the heatsink when the heatsink is installed, the thermal compound will be smashed out of the heatsink to ooze out the sides of the chip (which is why you don't want a bunch of thermal compound), which in turn would hurt optimum cooling for the reason of even applying it.
Also, I recommend using Arctic Silver 5 as your choice of thermal paste. It is made of silver particles, and since silver is the best conductor, it is the best way to go.
After completely covering the surface that the chip will come into the heatsink, reinstall the heatsink and connect the fans and reassemble the rest of what was taken apart in the process.
You can monitor your computer temperatures before and after the process if you'd like to see how much of a difference it does. It can give anyone a good feeling of success. I recommend using the program Speccy. It is a small free program from Piriform and reports the temperatures of the video card (if one is installed), the hard drive, the CPU, and the motherboard (actually specifically the north-bridge chip), as long as there is a sensor that exists on that device.
Hope this helps, have a great day!