Dustforce Steam Code Giveaway: Your Worst PC Cleaning Horror Story

In cooperation with Hitbox Team, TPG is offering five (5) Steam codes for their side-scrolling platformer, Dustforce. To enter, use the comment section to tell us a horror story about cleaning the inside of a PC.  Caked on dust covering every outlet fan?  Yellow colored tar from cigarette smoke?  Dried on sticky soda or food crumbs stuck in the keyboard or mouse?  Let your filthy story be heard.  If you have pictures, by all means post links.  If you do not have already have a way to upload your photos, we suggest using Imgur or a similar service.

The winners will be picked by members of TPG and Hitbox Team based on their favorite responses and sent Steam keys via e-mail shortly after the contest is over.

The Rules:

  • No Profanity
  • One entry, per person, per e-mail address, per IP
  • 48 Hours Only
  • Post your first name and last initial
  • Post your worst PC cleaning story
  • Try to keep entries to a few paragraphs

This contest is now over.  Thanks to everyone who participated by sharing your stories.  Three of the winners chosen by Hitbox Team are: Adam M, Russell S and Johnathan W.  TPG picks are Patrick and Przemyslaw K.

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45 thoughts on “Dustforce Steam Code Giveaway: Your Worst PC Cleaning Horror Story

  1. I was doing some PC work for a friend (not mine, I promise) and at the bottom of the case we found what looked like a little insect nest, put together out of bug-spit and what looked like paper dust. I wish I had taken a picture of it, but we shook it out into the garbage because we just weren’t sure what we’d find in there.

    It was like a little hornet nest… but I can not imagine what kind of terrible little brain-worm was living in there, waiting for the opportunity to crawl out and latch onto us while we sat immobile for hours on LoL or something. 😦

  2. I was doing my regular (regular as in “once a year”) case cleaning, and since i have a really awful allergy to home dust, i was doing it with a mask on as usual. That day, the mask wasn’t enough, so i got into a bad episode of sneezing+asthma+bad mood, and out of furstration i punched my computer case. Since it’s a coolermaster made with some kind of flexible metal net, my fist moulded the case and now it sports some really cool and brutal looking fist shape on the front. Its worth a lot more to me since then.

  3. I had a problem with having too many fans inside of my computer causing some weird type of pressure problem. Essentially, every place I had put a fan managed to attract dust like a magnet. So much so that you could literally ‘peel’ the dust from the grill. I just used my air compressor which I use to inflate my car tires with a different nozzle to blast the dust out.

    Though you have to be careful as condensation can build and tiny water droplets can land on electronic parts.

  4. My computer was so filled with dust at some point that the wall *three feet* behind was starting to get covered with superfine sticky dust blown by the fan at the back. Before this started happening I was very busy with more pressing stuff than computer cleaning and didn’t realize how dirty it was, but I was wondering why I had allergy symptoms and sneezing when working at the computer 0_0 .

  5. Long story short, I was getting ready to put a new video card in by cleaning it. I was lying on my back and dusting upwards and a whole tonne of dust got in my eyes, so I leaned up and banged my head on top of the case and got cut in the forehead of the head on it. It sounds like something straight out a slapstick movie, but I swear it is true because I still have a small scar.This was right as I started getting into PC gaming, and my case was terrible. I also broke my DVD drive while I was getting up, I still haven’t gotten a new one so I install the game on my laptop and transfer the files over, or install it into my network to run it from there whenever I feel like playing any of the older games I still own on discs.

  6. SO…it was horrible. almost from a nightmare. I had come downstairs one morning and found that I had a cup of chocolate milk spilled entirely over my desk, mouse, keyboard, and LAPTOP! I didn’t know what to do. I could barely read the keys, it was so bad. I ran as fast as I could to get whatever I could find. You’ll never imagine what I cleaned it up with…paper, rags, socks! Fortunately, after a long time of cleaning everything, i turned my computer on and waited. and waited. and waited. FINALLY. the logo appeared. I was so relieved. i opened up Microsoft Word to see if my keyboard was messed up. Thankfully, it was all working.

    After thinking about how this all could have happened, i soon realized that the only way possible for this to happen was that my cat had bumped into the glass of chocolate milk. oh cats! what could I possibly do without you!

  7. I opened a PC that had not been opened for like, 4 years. For some reason, a spider had decided to nest there. webs, little spiders and eggs all around. thank god for a Can of RAID and iron stomachs. Still, pretty damn horrible.

  8. It was 2004 I guess, I had bought a brand new motherboard (Abit NF7-S), it was one of the best mobo’s back in the day. It even had a built-in sound chip (not the onboard stuff, I mean a real deal Audio Processing Unit). Anyway I only needed to remove the old mobo but when I saw how dirty my case was, I decided to remove every piece of it and clean up everything. So I wasted almost 4-5 hours for the “cleaning”, once there was no dust at all I installed them. Then I pressed power up button and here comes the worst part of my horror story! I heard a short “bip” error sound, the PC shut down then I realised that something was burning! Unlike Colonel Kilgore, I don’t love smell of napalm in the morning! When I opened my case I realised a small cylinder got stuck between the back of the mobo and the case, and it killed my precious NF7-S 😦

    I have never started my recently built PC’s without checking everything since then.

  9. This isn’t a story about my PC but about my dad’s PC.

    Basically my dad told me that his pc was making a lot of noise & I figured the fans are clogged up with dust since the PC is like 10 years old.

    Once I opened the side panel of the PC, no word of a lie… there tiny DEAD RAT curled up in the corner right below the HD!

    Pic included: http://i.imgur.com/6OwVa.jpg

    I eventually ordered my dad a new rat free PC, Lol.

    Good luck to everybody else!

      • Hahah, I couldn’t decide between the two. The laptop was most definitely the most dramatic change before and after. But the dust bowl of a computer tower that had never been opened in five years is definitely stuck in my memory.

    • No wonder his PC was messed up. The rodent fell off the wheel on the CPU. Better get another one and make sure he has enough RAM and Megagigahertz to handle the cap load.

  10. Working as the tech guy in my department for a very well-known company (which will remain unnamed), I was called to help someone who’s computer was making air raid decibel sounds. First of all she was keeping the PC in a cabinet. A closed door cabinet, because she didn’t like the sounds it was making. Opening the cabinet was like looking into a dust collection chamber as it was covered in that grey computer only type dust. A can of air was not going to do. After using a vacuum on most of it, I ended “sweeping” the rest away using a toothbrush.

    • In the late 90s and early 2000s, computer desks with cabinets became all the rage. Almost everyone in my family bought these. The problem was the area where the tower was suppose to go had zero ventilation. People thought I was a moron because I had my tower either on my desk or on a separate little table near the desk.

  11. Oh god, The worst ones I’ve seen have got to be when I was helping out a mate in ICT, and if you’ve ever opened up a school computer, then you know it’s gonna be bad. You see, people like to shove things into them…chewing gum, pencils, pens, sweets, anything that they don’t want…

  12. The first time I had ever cleaned my own computer was because it was getting noticeably slow and started crashing during games. It had probably been in use for about four years without being properly cleaned. As I started blowing compressed air through the graphics card, a long solid block of dust emerged from the other side. It was pretty long, maybe 8cm. Solid enough to pick up without it breaking, too. Yeah, I guess that would cause some problems…

  13. I have two separate stories, both almost equally as bad.

    I was on a trip with a friend back in October and he pulled out his laptop and a giant cooling fan/stand to set it on. He commented that he likes his laptop, but it always overheats. On bootup it was hitting 70f degrees, and jumped even higher to the 80s and 90s after trying to run any games or video. I chuckled and told him we would stop by Fry’s Electronics on the way home to get stuff to fix it. Unfortunately, the horror unfolded once we got back to his house and I opened it up. There were two separate vents for the CPU and GPU, both had about a quarter inch pad of burnt lint/dust/cigarette smoke caking the heat sink vents, and the entire machine was dusty throughout because the airflow was so clogged. It took us about three quarters of a can of compressed air to get as much crap out as we could, and we actually had to take a small pick and scrape burnt material off of the heat sink vent. After we reapplied the thermal grease (which had turned to dust from overheating so much), we booted it up without the cooling fan and it didn’t even top 50f degrees until he was in a game.

    The second story is from about six years ago in college. A friend of mine had a five year old e-Machine that was starting to make funny noises. It sounded to me like his fan was dying. We took it out into the quad with a full can of compressed air and opened it up. He decided to tell me at that point that in all the time he’s had this machine, he’d never opened it up to clean it. The machine had so much dust on the inside that I’m surprised any components worked at all. Granted, power supplies tend to suffer the most from dust buildup, and don’t get much as long as the machine is running regularly, but we had to use the air duster so much that we pulled out a second one since it iced over. The green color of the boards was barely visible on the mother board, and was not visible on his PCI cards. His machine was nice and quiet after we were done.

    I could go into some of the devices I’ve dealt with at work, but they don’t really top these ones as they were mostly cases of absurd amounts of food stuck in keyboards. Not really dust related. =)

      • Hahah, I couldn’t decide between the two. The laptop was most definitely the most dramatic change before and after. But the dust bowl of a computer tower that had never been opened in five years is definitely stuck in my memory.

    • I wish we had a Fry’s here in Utah. The closet one is in Vegas which is a 5 hour drive. My aunt smoked like a chimney and cleaning out her tower was a pretty nasty job.

  14. I was cleaning my PC and I ran out of can compressed air. The horror!

    I tried to blow out all of the remaining dust with my mighty lungs but the dust was too much, the sneezing overtook my body! There was only one thing I could do… Go inside and have some Oreo’s.

    The End.

    • That is more than reasonable.
      I don’t know how, but almost every time I clean my PC I reach a point where I coax myself into “sucking” dust out of certain areas. Something along the lines of “If you’re really careful it’ll just dislodge enough for you to get it out. Accidentally inhale it? Naaahhh, you’ll be fiiine”.
      This is never the case.

  15. I remember I once open up my case because it was overheating loads and I realised the fan was jammed on he CPU… turns out that a bug had got stuck in the fan and heatsink 😦 next PC got watercooling, and never going back and having to clean bug gunk out of tiny spikey metal grills

  16. Not long after I first started working where I am now we were replacing some old Finance Dep’t Viglen FTF machines that had apparently been running for donkey’s years. I’m still not sure what the FTF stood for, but it wasn’t FTP. Anyway, these things used to do the bank transactions and the like, and had been happily been sat on the floor chugging away and no-one seemed to pay any attention to the dinosaurs in the corner. Every dino has it’s day from what I hear and we had to make sure the HDD data was securely destroyed. 12 years ago that was take it apart and use the trusty IT hammer. I approved of this 🙂

    Now I’m a smoker, and I’ve seen the state of some of my PCs when I used to smoke indoors. Disgusting. Honestly, horrible, but I still gave them a good clean every 6 months. I now no longer smoke indoors.

    However, what I found when I popped the lid on the first of these FTF machines redefined, well, anything that needs redefining. It was one of those annoying cases with the wrap around lid – side/side/top – the ones you can never get back on again. When I took the lid off, I honestly thought it was a ‘secure’ PC design I’d never heard of. I though someone had filled it with yellow/grey foam to fill the entire case. These machines were ancient so whatever CPU it was didn’t have a fan anyway. Then I realised what it was…

    We didn’t have such luxuries as compressed air cans apart from our own lungs, and even I’m not that stupid, not that I’d have wittingly unleashed a dust storm in the stores, so I devised a plan. My mate would hurl the doors open and I’d sling this ancient hunk of scrap in to the loading bay to cleanse it so we could get to the HDD.

    Perfect !

    Until the doors opened and we realised how breezy it was. Have you ever watched “The Big Lebowski” ? Poor Donny….

    The worst part wasn’t so much that it was dust, but more that it was bits of accountant dust. The horror =/

      • Many thanks to TPG and Hitbox for the game. I haven’t installed it yet but omg it looks gorgeous. Who said games can’t be art ?

        Just had a quick look at that wiki page, and I don’t think FTF stands for any of those things. The first definition would probably have crossed a few people’s minds if they’d have seen an ashen coated zombie standing in a doorway with a face like a smacked ar*e, holding a relic of a computer. The things tech monkeys do to earn a crust =/

  17. OK, so I work in IT on a company that deals with printing and document services.

    Obviously, we have computers in even department, even the ones where toners are remanufactured and tested.

    So, I decided to clean one of the computers from the toner department because it was having some temperature problems. Now, I have been in the company for less than an year, but I should have known better…. Just grabbing the case was enough to get my arms black. As I took it apart my work shirt got all dirty and I managed to get printing ink even on my face when it got itchy.

    I have cleaned really dusty computers but now I know, ink is by far the worst!

  18. It’s funny that this is the subject for this contest, because recently cleaning out the inside of my computer has changed my life. I say this so dramatically, but in the past week I’ve been able to play so many games like never before! Anyway, I used to PC game a lot when I was younger, but recently got back into it about two years ago. I built a computer for myself, and for a couple of months everything was perfect. Then the crashing started. Day after day games would work, but slower and crapier, until I wasn’t even able to play low computing games like Meatboy and well optimized games like tf2. It would blue screen all the time, every single day for multiple times. I then decided to open it to see what was the matter, and by god dust was covering every single inch of the graphics card, heatsink, and motherboard. I started looking for some condensed air and much to my dismay there was none to be seen in the house. The horror!
    I did however find some Q-tips, and after about an hour of cleaning fervently I realized that this was not the most efficient manner to dust off the inside of the computer. I was spooning up dust balls the size of testicles! I looked at the clock, about 8:30, and raced over to the nearest Office Depot so I could feast myself on the benefits of some of their condensed air. When I got back to my house the rest of the cleanup took 5 minutes. Now keep in mind those were some horrifying five minutes, with dust swirling in the air, forcing me to open up the windows in my bedroom. There was literally 2 or three layers of dust stopping up all of my fans, and I had to wonder how so much dust could have gotten in a computer that was merely 2 years old. 2 years old that had been cleaned multiple times. Anyway, when this was finally done I booted up the computer, and started up tf2. The difference was immeasurable. I’ve had so much fun playing all these new games that I’ve gotten for myself and traded for in the last 2 weeks that it’s actually been some of the best two weeks of the past year, no joke. Having a clean PC opens up a million zillion possibilities, and Dustforce is just one of those very appetizing possibilities. A horror story yes, but with a happy ending.

  19. I am inspired and inclined to clean a relic from the past at the same time hoping to find some horror cleaning experience within an IBM 5150 PC! but can’t find anything too difficult to clean. Nopes no jammed CPU fan, no jammed GFX fan, no jammed cooling fan, no dust sucking mechanism to worry about, those were the days… there were none of those except a tiny fan on the power supply unit.

    Non the less the system do have some dust from 30 years ago. Not surprisingly “no fan = no dust”, PC nowadays really need to consider fan-less design. Some pictures following my venture to clean this relic from the past.


    None the less the challenging part is cleaning various parts and holes inside the computer without taking each component apart. This was a working computer the last time it was checked, well the monitor is long gone/dead, I have no means of checking its condition besides listening to the beep for now. I hope it is happier after the cleaning. Time to put it back to the attic..

      • No HDD, just floppy disk boot up dos v1/2/3 with monochrome screen. The green colored text screen.. Can’t remember where I place the floppy disks already. I remember some games like alley cat, space invaders and zaxxon boots directly from floppy disk. Put in the disk and power on the computer and boots into the games and play! I think I’ll just keep it in the attic maybe when I retire I can make a small museum of ancient pc hardware.

  20. PC was all smelly-smelly at a time, thought it was about to blow off. Turned out that a pretty fat fly had hit the fan and was cooked and electrified alive. I was very relieved my PC wasn’t damaged by it. Fly is sadly now ‘0’. :/

  21. I’ve got a really painful memories about one of the PC cleaning in my life. I am a little bit stickler so I’ve got all of my movies in straight rows on the shelves, as well as games and music CDs. Every one has it’s own place, sorted by genres and then alphabeticly. Also I clean inside of the PC from dust quite often, once for three months, sometimes four. And one day, when there came the time for cleaning, I’ve moved computer tower from under the desk, unscrewed the casing, removed it… and discovered a pile of CDs lying on the bottom of computer case. I was stunned, but I’ve quickly recognized some of them to be from my collection. Hell, all of them were from my collection. I’ve dashed to CD’s shelf, took one CD case, opened it – empty, took another one, opened – empty. Inside the computer case, there were about twenty of silver discs, some of them scratched a bit, some just dusted, all with some fingerprints on them, and of course the same number of empty cases on my shelf, sitting straight in the row, sorted the same way I would sort them. My 3 years old son have seen a few times how I am inserting a CD into the reader and then a music is playing or we can see a movie, and apparently he was trying to do it by himself… many times… inserting more and more CDs into the gap under CD reader. And he was as stickler as I am, when he was covering signs of his crime, and putting empty cases on their places so I wasn’t even suspicious.
    It was quite time ago but it is still quite a horror when I recall it.

  22. Sadly, I once found crayons melted all over my pc’s internals.. Not sure how they did it, but I really don’t feel like buying my children any more crayons..

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