Question from Shauna: I hope you will answer a question for me, Rick.
My business partner bought a new desk for her office. It’s really nice because it has lots of handy storage areas.
One of those storage areas is the perfect size to hold her desktop computer tower. I believe it was designed to hold a computer because there’s a hole to route the cables through in the back.
The problem is the space is really tight in there. There’s only about a quarter of an inch of space on the sides of the tower where the air vents are.
On top of that, the computer’s fan blows a lot of fairly hot air out the back and there’s nowhere for it to go.
She also keeps the door closed so no fresh air can get in there to help keep the computer cool.
I told her I believe she shouldn’t keep her computer in that compartment because the lack of proper air flow will damage it.
She insists that it’ll be ok because they designed that compartment specifically to hold a computer.
In your opinion, which one of us is right?
Rick’s answer: Shauna, the short answer is your opinion is the right one (in my own humble opinion).
If your description of the situation is accurate (and I have no doubt that it is), your partner is heading for trouble if she keeps her PC in that tight, enclosed compartment with no way to adequately vent the hot air and draw fresh air into it.
Every computer generates at least some amount of heat when it’s in use, and it sounds like the one your partner is using generates plenty of it.
That heat will have to be able to escape to prevent the air inside the enclosure from heating up and causing the computer to over-heat.
And truth be told, a quarter of an inch of breathing room on the sides of the machine probably isn’t enough to allow the fans to draw enough air into the PC to keep the internal components cool.
Even worse, what little bit of air the fans are drawing into the case is already hot.
And of course keeping the door to this compartment closed just compounds the problem.
Bottom line: I strongly recommend that your partner remove her PC from that tight storage compartment and place it in a location where it will have adequate air flow.
If she insists on keeping it in inside her desk as you described she’ll probably have to replace it before too long.
Bonus tip: Having malware on a computer can cause it to overheat. This post explains how to track down any malware that might be on your PC and remove it.
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