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I know I'm pretty allergic to dust. However, dealing with servers and workstations on a day to day basis, I encounter it all the time. How do you deal with dust?

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6 Answers 6

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Clean your systems in a room that is not the server room or personal office. Use a dust mask. Have a small air filter & ionizer running near by. Use compressed or canned air and a battery powered vacuum- deWalt makes a nice one that runs on their standard 18V batteries. Make sure relative humidity is within the acceptable range before doing ANY kind of hardware work. Use grounding mats and straps.

Then, once you have all these details squared away, have an Intern do it. :)

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I put the servers in a server room, which has its air conditioned, filtered and dehumidified. I've had servers running in there for years that are still as clean as when I put them in there.

As for workstations... I pick out the larger dust bunnies before I blast them with canned air. Not that this helps you any.

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Buy a few dust masks. Make sure you get the ones with a wee exhaust valve, not the just cheapest ones, and you'll appreciate that feature after about ninety seconds.

There's a fine nasal spray called Livostin which acts fast to relieve the symptoms without whacking you out for the day.

Set up your HP SIM/iLO environment properly (or your server manufacturer's equivalent) and you never have to go into the server room. Well, almost.

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Where can you find Livostin? –  Brett G Oct 16 '09 at 13:37

Canned air and a vacuum works wonders. Also if you need to get real nitty gritty I have had to use Q-Tips to clean fan blades.

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This combination is the one-two punch. If your relative humidity is in the right range, static will not be a problem. –  kmarsh Oct 6 '09 at 19:08

I concur with Ernie regarding the server room environment. For cleaning machines I like to stay away from canned air as 1) it spreads the dust around to where I can breathe it in and 2) it forces the dust into tiny places that don't react well to little particles (like drive mechanics). A good shopvac for the big things like vents, power supplies, etc and a micro vac (or micro attachments) for the more sensitive areas.

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Be careful using a shopvac on sensitive equipment. Shop vacs create a lot of static which can zap equipment. They do make special shop vacs for use on computers. But they are fairly expensive. –  3dinfluence Oct 6 '09 at 17:42
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If relative humidity is in the right range, static will not be a problem. If the air is too dry, vacuum cleaners are the least of your static worries. –  kmarsh Oct 6 '09 at 19:09

Get a small wireless hand vacuum with a plastic-tipped end (no bristles). I always vacuum my computers when they get dusty, and have been for years. Beats using compressed air which just blows the dust all over the place.

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