How To Open A PC Case Safely

Knowing how to open your PC case properly, whether for dust cleaning or to install a new part, is an important skill when owning any computer. I remember vividly trying to open my first PC case, only ending up breaking it and inhaling copious amounts of dust.

In this article, you will learn the best practices for opening any PC case properly, how to avoid critical errors and some other valuable tips (such as breathing dust-free air), so stay tuned till the end!

Preparing Before Opening Your PC Case

A few things to remember while handling any electronic devices is to have sufficient space to place your PC, so you can reach the side panel easily. 

What’s important here is that you never want to disassemble it on plastic surfaces or carpets, since that can cause static electricity discharges and destroy your hardware parts.

If you do this on your desk, also ensure that there are no liquid spill hazards. It’s always a good practice to wipe your PC case with a soft cloth before handling it so that you don’t fill your desk with dust and debris. 

How to Open a PC Case

Depending on the brand and manufacturer of your PC case, it might have slightly different ways to open the side panel. Almost all PC cases are held back with screws on the backside and snap in place using small insertions around the edges of your PC side panel. 

Here are the exact steps to do this. Make sure not to skip any and do them in order:

Turn Your Computer Off

turn-off-PC

Shut your operating system down by clicking on the Start Menu > Shutdown (You can also alternatively use the physical power button).

When doing any manipulations where you are handling, repairing, or modifying any PC, the first thing is to power it down correctly. 

Unplug Any Cables From Your PC

unplug-cables

All PC cases have an on/off power switch at the Power supply at the back, start by toggling it off. Then you can continue by pulling the power cable connected to your power supply unit on the backside. 

Remove All Connected External Cables to Your Case

unplug peripherals

The next step is to unplug any connected peripheral devices, screens, and everything. An important thing to remember is that specific cables such as VGA or Ethernet cables can’t just be pulled by force. They either have a small clamp that snaps in place or are held in by screws. 

This step will make handling the computer and opening the PC case much more accessible.

Remove All the Side Panel Screws on the Back

remove screws

Most PC case side panels are held in place by two to four big screws on the backside. 

Find an appropriate screwdriver that fits snugly and remove the outermost screws from the PC case. Please note, just remove the side panel screws, not the surrounding ones that hold the actual computer together.

Most PCs use Philips-head style screws, and some PC side panels can also be unscrewed without any tools or feature a simple clamp instead of screws.

Take care where you put all the screws, since finding and replacing the same side panel screws can be difficult.

Remove the Side Panel

slide the side panel

Start by gently pulling and twisting the side panel until all retaining slide locks are disengaged. Some side panels come off once unscrewed, but most are held on every side or corner by a few small metal slide locks. If you face too much resistance, double-check if all the backside screws are removed to avoid damaging your case.

Some side panels use glass, so be careful how you handle such side panels. 

How to Safely Clean Your Opened PC Case?

Now that you opened your PC case, hopefully hassle-free, you can proceed to perform some essential maintenance. Every couple of months, this should be done to keep your PC running quietly and under cooler temperatures. 

The number one most important thing is never to use a vacuum cleaner, as it could short circuit your PC components.

The second thing is, please do any dust removal in an open or well-ventilated space. Also, use a dustproof respirator or mask, so you don’t inhale all the dust during cleaning. 

Lastly, we advise using an antistatic wrist bracelet to prevent static electricity discharges.

Here are the steps on how to remove all the dust from your case:

  1. Start by rubbing the surfaces with a fine cloth to get the more significant chunks of dust out.
    clean-pc-dust
  2. Use a can of compressed air or any pressurized air blower. Never touch the components with the end of the compressor or the air can to avoid scratching the PC’s hardware. 
    clean cpu fan using compressed air
  3. Go in circular motions and check that every angle and corner is covered. Pay special attention to the fans’ CPU, GPU, and air intake fans. Don’t also forget to dust off your power supply unit. 

How to Put Your PC Case Back?

The steps to assemble your opened PC back are as follows: 

  1. Slide the side panel until it snaps firmly on all the notches. You will be able to tell if you missed one of the side panels with abnormal space gaps. Take your time to do it properly and not miss any side panel slide on locks.
    Placing-side-panel
  2. Using moderate pressure, insert the screws on the back side panel to the case itself.
    Remove-all-scews-on-side-panel-PC
  3. Using moderate pressure, insert the screws on the back side panel to the case itself.
  4. Tighten the screws, but pay special attention not to over tighten them. You are not assembling a space shuttle, so there is no need to have the screws on as tight as possible.

How to Prevent Dust Buildup On Your PC Case?

The most practical tip that will minimize the times you need to go through the lengthy disassembly and cleaning process is to keep your environment well ventilated. 

The second most important thing is to never place your PC directly on top of a carpet, especially if there are air intakes on the bottom of the PC case. 

Conclusion

Opening your PC case can seem intimidating, but it’s a straightforward procedure once you know it. Taking precautions beforehand is also important to avoid damaging expensive and sensitive components, especially during massive GPU and CPU price inflation.

Now you know how to open, clean, and reassemble your PC correctly.

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