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back to article Is this the world's dirtiest PC?

We're obliged to reader Danny Lee for forwarding evidence of what appears to be a Quatermass-style lifeform, which has attached itself to a PC and pretty well explains why the thing had ceased to function: The world's dirtiest PC, with vents completely blocked by dust Chilling stuff indeed. Anyone out there who has …

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Paris Hilton

You ain't seen nuthin yet

Back in my college days, I used to work for a small IT company that had a sideline business in recycling and reconditioning old PCs. This was back in the day when smoking in the office was positively encouraged. Some of the horrors you'd find when you opened the case - it was as though one of the staff had removed a lung and inserted it between the IDE and VGA (ok, Hercules) cards. The fans had continually sucked the stuff into a pile for so long you could remove it as a solid block of exhaled cancer.

I'm sure somebody else from "back in the day" will be along with pictures.

Paris, because she can suck stuff into a pile for so long that.... Um... Never mind...

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Go

Not bad...

But I have seen worse, ive had a dead mouse in there, the case so full up with dust it needed sucking out with a hoover, and 20 marlboro light...(that last one was either a joke or someone left them in there after smoking on the job.

I say a sticky for worlds dirtiest PC....readers send them in!!

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Brace yourself...

...for the "That's nothing, I once saw a PC that..." style replies. Although to be fair I've seen worse.

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Let me guess.

Home of a smoker and computer kept on floor?

No pets though by the looks of things.

ttfn

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Oh, and...

...surely this has to be a contender for the world's dirtiest PC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/8249369.stm

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Impressive!

Reminds me of a machine brought in for overheating by a lovely indian chap, who I can only assume used it as a back office machine in the kitchen of a curry house - the dust bunnnies weren't as large, but after clearing it out and turning it on, it did fill our work area with a fantastic, spicy aroma.

Top stuff.

Steven R

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Black Helicopters

Wtf?

That has to be fake! The motherboard would be dirty too!

Holy hell if not though...

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Dust 'n fluff.

I recall once going out to do some work on an IBM S/36 5363 (the "underdesk box" one). While I was there, I took the opportunity to down it, open the case and hoover out the accumulated dirt as it was in a rather dusty environment. At one point, I opened the card cage cover and what was revealed induced some pithy comments in anglo-saxon.

Where there should have been a set of cards containing the CPU, disk controller et. al. with air passing through to cool 'em was a solid block of crud with the card edges peeping out of the side.

Unlike the machine in the article, it still worked.

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Happy

sadly

I dont' have a pic of the amstrad that someone had had under their desk for 3 years and when I took the lid off, it was full from front to back with dust and sandwich bits. I lifted it out pretty much intact and threw it out the window where it exploded in the wind and bits of it scattered and landed on the MD's car. So not a total waste

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Anonymous Coward

seems very familiar

That is about the same as all the 5 year old computers we have in our office

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nope it's not :)

my friend's was worse, there was so much dust that it formed into some sort of MDF board :)

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I feel very nerdy right now

I recognised that was a Dell without even seeing the monitor in the background, by the "lift here" arrows and the PSU cage.

I think I need a holiday...

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The race is on --- this doesn't look that extreme.

You mean we have to now scare up some '286 or similar, and get it as dusty as possible and send a snap, right?

I think some reasonable criteria should be added, like proof-of-functioning --- otherwise you slather some tar on you box and claim it died just now. [As one might, in Ottery St. Mary, with yesterday's incidents, http://www.otterytarbarrels.co.uk/photographs/2006/mens.html ]

Please add a sensible reward to this competition.

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Boffin

What no.....

Hot Choc, cigarette ash or other food substances? My brothers PC was something from Gordon Ramseys Kitchen nightmares.

Also while working in a Manufacturing Location have opened up old dells to find an inch of filth covering the Motherboard.

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Some

of the PC that were used to program the Messer cutters and Heckler Koch CNC machines on the workshop floor of the place of my last employ were much worse than that... Until I cleaned them all up that was.

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Alert

Oh my...

Looks like a hand is starting to form on the air intake fan or....a large foot...it can't be, can it? Dust puppy?!

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This is nothing...

Damn, I wish I had pictures from 10 years back. In those days the CPU did not require fans so the gunk inside could build up indefinitely. Nowdays it builds up until the CPU fan dies, just like in this picture.

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Sometimes they can be harder to spot..

My friends laptop would constantly overheat. He had taken off all the panels that came off easily (Memory plate, etc) and had it standing on its side with a large fan blowing air onto it.

For a few weeks he wouldn't let me touch it because it was borrowed but eventually when he was out the room I just opened it up. It looked very, very clean.

I was puzzled.

Then I spotted it.

The Ventblocker was a 3mm thick perfectly uniform layer of black dust on the back of the heatsink. So compact that I just peeled it off.

Everything else was spotless.

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Paris Hilton

Seen similar

Worst environments are dry heated buildings which are carpeted, especially bedrooms. Think of where all that dead skin goes! Another disgusting place is a kitchen I have received a non working PC for repair which literally had a 2mm coating of grease on every surface, inside and out. repair consisted of a can of lighter fluid and a match.

Paris cos she knows all about dirt

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Alien

In a galaxy far far away...

...this may be how life first formed!

* warmth

* undisturbed environment

* humidity

* electrical charge

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I've seen worse.

I saw an old IBM PC XT that was used at a livestock auction barn. The entire inside (not just the fan on the power supply) was completely caked with dried cow excrement powder.

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Troll

Spot the smoker's PC

Mmmmmm yummy, yummy tar

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FAIL

lolz

seen worse.

but then it's a dell. they are always bad.

maybe start an email address to send them into. I'm sure I can get about 20 in a week.

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Seen it

Looks like cat hair to me, a common form of vent-blockage in my experience. Haven't seen quite that much before, though...

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Paris Hilton

Disappointed

Reading the title of this piece, I was hoping for something completely different...

Paris, for obvious reasons (sorry Sarah).

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Happy

Hmm

I think you have got Danny's good side in that pic!

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I will dig out the photo when I get home

but I say one where there was so much dust on the mother board that you couls not see the chips it looked like a flat plane of dust

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Man that is nasty.

And will increase over heating in marginal temperature conditions, likely to make a very good home for all sorts of bacterial stuff etc.

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FAIL

Not even close

The PC pictured is quite dirty but you can see plenty of shiny metal and you can tell what colour the the motherboard is. I once insisted that the boss of a client company use the vacumn cleaner until the screws on the case were visible before I would think about trying to repair it. I think that helped get the message across.

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TRT
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FAIL

Missed it...

Just got back from collecting the HDD of a virus laden machine. Shame I'd cleaned it up before I read this article - it was pretty similar to that one. Oh, and a Dell, twin Pentium III. Dells really are the worst.

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FAIL

You

Have'nt lived until you see what a mess graphite powder makes of any computer

The robot was supposed to have a forced air supply from outside the building pressurising the electrical box, but some dork switched it off without telling anyone

8 days later fizzle fizzle spark spark there goes a 5000 quid Fanuc main board and it took the spindle drive with it.

Epic fail there

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back in the day...

...of no cpu fans I found a dead cockroach on a cpu. Lovely.

More recently. The machine that makes bBsto stopped working a couple of years back and when we opened it up we found a very very dusty DOS 4 machine which once cleaned of dust started working perfectly again.

Happy days

Natty

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Happy

photo doesn't do it justice

Its a shame the camera wasn't high res! To those who suspect its fake, I can confirm its 100% real! And unfortunately it was a HP Compaq machine, no dell's in that state that i've dealt with lol!

@BillboBaggins - Trust you to make a comment!!

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Paris Hilton

I had one once

PC was in the cutting room at a diamond producer

I've never seen so much junk in it, no diamonds, just congelled, oily gunk

Pasir, Well thinking of dirty, eerm, sush!!

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Dammit....

If this had only been a few weeks earlier. We had several Dell PC's returned to us from a warehouse in France and they were absolutely caked in dust, inside and out. Warehouse environment + PC on floor + Dell PC = incredible amounts of dust. I'll have to keep a look out for any more we get now.

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WTF?

A Title

Seen many worse.... with my top two being:

The PC I found in a concrete manufacturing works (building kerbs stones, etc). When that was opened up, every horizontal surface (graphics card, NIC, Sound, HDD, etc) was covered in an inch thick layer of fine concrete dust. I would hate to think what that was doing to the hard disk breathe holes!!

And then there was the PC in a client's home. A flat with shiny wood floors and an overly fluffy cat. When I opened that Dell up, the front plastics were hiding a solid mat of cat fur. It was like an inch thick blanket there was so much of it. Jammed in all possible corners - including up the sides of the machine. After I cleaned that one out the client says "oh - it sounds a lot quieter now" Duh!!

One thing this job has taught me is the PC is a brilliant vacuum cleaner.

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WTF?

Handy

It looks to be forming a hand. Perhaps Jobe is attempting to escape from cyberspace?

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Coffee/keyboard

Smoke gets in your device

I had a contract job to clean up a bunch of second-hand rack-mount server boxes that were being recommissioned into a Shiny! new datacentre. They were generally filthy inside which puzzled me; rack-mounted kit doesn't usually suffer from dirty environments. It turned out they had previously been installed in an Irish company's datacentre where the engineers smoked.

I had an intermittently-functioning keyboard in for repair a while back. The usual trick of turning the keyboard upside down and giving it a good shake didn't help much so I opened it up to be met by the smell of fragrant "herbs". I vacuumed out the crumbs and refrained from suggesting to the customer that he didn't roll-up at his desk.

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That's a smoker's computer

I've done case cleanouts before, including laptops. Usually the material is fibrous, fine, and grey. It is derived from house dust, ie squames, ie tiny flakes of redundant human skin. I have once seen material that was pale blue ... that computer lived in a spare bedroom which was also used for doing laundry (the room, not the computer). The material had apparently been contaminated with cotton lint from freshly washed underpants.

What we see here is brown clumps. That's house dust with a tar/nicotine binder, as I once saw in someone's Toshiba Satellite Pro P30, courtesy of her ex-husband. Unlike house dust or cotton lint, the tar/nicotine stuff is harder to remove, and also mildly corrosive.

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I look forward.....

To seeing the competition on this one, send them in everyone, that was the reason for this :-)

@Christopher P. Martin - lol, yes i was expecting it, it'll be a good competition....let it continue!

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I know it's Friday and all that...

... but how is this news?

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Does teh psu still work

Need one fora del here!

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Paris Hilton

Not as bad as..

Not as bad as getting a laptop in from a user with what appear to be "protein stains" on it. I kid you not.

Paris because.. well, you work it out.

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Pets

I am owned by four cats, three of whom are of the long-hair variety. They like my computers, presumably due to the warmth. I have to clean the computers regularly, due to the amount of stuff that ends up inside. It's been done recently, otherwise I'd be able to produce a photo at least as good as the one you've posted.

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FAIL

I know of one worse...

It was at the local fire brigade...

I didn't get to see the inside of it, or rather, inside the sorry remains...

It had filled up enough that it caught on fire.

(I believe it was a 386 or something. It's been a few years since then)

And yes, the PC was in use at the station when it burned(monitoring an alarmsystem), not a 'souvenir' from somewhere else.

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Yes, have seen much worse

A server for a now defunct discount retailer was black with dust and other fluff in the intakes and various parts of the interior. Several other servers I've had to recover have had black crud all over the interface cards.

Haven't seen any problem with dual processor PIII Dells, but that's probably because even though they've got stupidly high and noisy airflow, the room most of them I know of occupy is essentially dust free.

Servers in carpeted rooms with windows - just say no.

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The computer that died from smoking..

http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/cs_abuse.shtml

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Seen worse

No photos unfortunately but 10 years ago I replaced old 486 DOS boxes in kiosks in Job Centres and Libraries with new PCs. Most of them looked far, far worse than this. The dust monsters covered most surfaces inside the kiosk and everywhere were inside the PC, printer and monitor.

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