I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very tech-savvy, and that’s why my husband is usually my tech support! But since he’s been working a lot of hours (gotta love the life of a drill sergeant), I’ve been relying on my other tech support — Google!  Lately, my laptop, which is my main computer for writing, has been giving me problems.  It’s a 1-1/2 year old Dell Inspiron 1545, and about a week ago, the fan inside began running really loud.  So I checked Google, and cleaned out the vents with a can of compressed air as instructed.  The fan in my Dell isn’t readily accessed, even when you remove the back panel, so I had to clean it from the outside.

It seemed to work.  For about 24 hours.

Then, though it was no longer loud, my laptop began overheating, and shutting itself down at random moments.   Not fun, especially when I’m in the middle of writing, and it shuts down before I can save my progress, much less make a back-up of the file!

So, back to Google (using my husband’s computer.)  And I found instructions on how to remove the processor thermal-cooling assembly at dell.com support.  Though the page says it is for the Inspiron 1525/1526, the insides of my laptop were similar enough for me to use those instructions.  When I pulled out the assembly, in the section that opens into the fan, I found this lovely dust bunny:

Laptop dust bunny, shown next to quarter for scale

Yikes! No wonder the fan couldn’t cool the laptop, with that blocking the way.  Anyway, now that it’s out, my computer seems to be running somewhat normally again.

Hope I didn’t just jinx myself by saying that.