Keeping Computers Safe In Long-Term Storage

There are times where you just can't hand your valuables off to someone else. Computers aren't really designed for immediate use after long-term storage, especially since dust can be a bit difficult to clean when there's no fan to keep a bit of movement in the system. Before putting it away, take a look at a few preparation steps that can keep your computer as clean as possible and less likely to be an overheating nightmare when you return for it.

Closing Up The System

Some computers may look like a closed, safe system, but there's still a few openings that could let dust in. You'll need to seal them, but in a way that will be easy to remove. Tough layers of dust may cause an overheating problem in the future, but removing tape from vents after a hasty cover-up is just as dangerous if some of the tape (or any sealing material) rips and sticks to the vents.

In most computers, the back of the computer is the most compromising area. The power supply is a modular component that is held inside the computer with screws, and requires its own vents and fan for proper operation. Unfortunately, there's no standard cover for the power supply, so you'll have to improvise.

You can cover up the back of the computer with anything that creates a moderate seal. The seal doesn't have to be airtight, as that can become fairly expensive, but you'll need to block the flow of dust at least. Cellophane wrap can go around the computer, but you'll need to make sure that the storage area isn't likely to get hot enough to melt the cellophane in place. If the unit has air conditioning, this may not be a problem. 

There are a few vents for the expansion card slots on the bottom of the computer that may be open as well. You can cover these slots will cellophane as well, but there are standardized metal plates that can cover the slot vents with screws to keep them in place.

Climate Control For Storage Units

Not all units come with air conditioning, and air conditioning won't provide the maximum benefit you're looking for when it comes to dust control. An air conditioned storage unit may have at least a built-in filter and a higher rate of moving air than units without air conditioning, but dust can still collect.

Ask the mini storage facility if they offer any maintenance services, or if they're willing to perform filter changing services for you. Adding an air purifier and having the staff check the filter once per month for cleaning can keep your system clear if you don't have anyone in the area who can do it for you. It'll also require an active electrical outlet, which isn't always available in storage units.

Before throwing in any other supporting devices, be sure to run your plan by the storage facility's management to get an idea of what may or may not work. They may have a few suggestions that work well with their facility, which could save you a lot of money when trying to keep your computer safe over long-term storage periods.