How to Clean Fans in Dell Dimension 5100

Written by daniel holzer
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Dust and heat are the primary everyday enemies of your computer. Cleaning your computer's fans can help with both by removing the dust periodically and keeping the fan in good operating condition to cool the motherboard and other internal components. With the Dell Dimension 5100, cleaning the fan is more involved than in other models. First, the heat sink assembly must be removed to get to the fan which, unlike many models, is completely internal and not part of the back panel of the computer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Can of compressed air
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubbing alcohol

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  1. 1

    Unplug all accessories from the Dimension 5100 computer tower, turning the tower onto its side. Using the Phillips screwdriver, unscrew the two screws holding the case lid to the tower and put the case lid aside.

  2. 2

    Place the tower so its face is on your left-hand side. Locate the heat sink assembly, in the middle, to the left. Use the screwdriver to loosen the two screws attaching the heat sink assembly to the fan and gently turn the assembly to the right and down to remove it.

  3. 3

    Push on the tabs at the top and bottom of the fan assembly and lift it out of the tower. Do not pull it out too far as the fan cable connector is still attached to the bottom of the tower.

  4. 4

    Shake the compressed air canister and blow air through the fan assembly.

  5. 5

    Wet a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and swab the fan blades clean.

  6. 6

    Blow any debris off the fan with the canister once more before replacing the fan assembly in the tower.

  7. 7

    Replace the heat sink assembly and screw it into place.

  8. 8

    Replace the case lid and screw it into place.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not attempt to open the Dimension 5100 tower for at least 20 minutes after the computer has been turned off. The heat sink assembly becomes very hot during operation and will cause serious burns if touched just after shutting down.

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