What should I use for removing thermal paste: acetone or isopropyl alcohol? Some say acetone is the best thing for the task, others say it's a no-no. Who should I believe?
From many years of removing thermal paste I've found my favorite to be WD-40, and then isopropyl for cleaning up the oils left on the mating surfaces by the WD-40.
Just use paper towel(s) and/or cotton swabs to apply/wipe.
As Lord Torgamus says in his comment, acetone is dangerous, where as WD-40 is pretty safe stuff and it worked WAY better than I expected when I first tried it. :)
For any electronic cleaning try to use 90%+ isopropyl, and not the cheap 'rubbing alcohol' stuff you get at the drug store. :)
If you're dealing with thermal epoxy, then you will probably have to go with acetone. If you're wondering if you're dealing with paste or epoxy, then it's probably paste becasue epoxy gets hard like a rock and usually prevents seperation without destruction. :)
Hope that helps...
"NEVER use any petroleum based cleaners (WD-40, and many automotive degreasers) on the surface of a metal cap or heatsink. The oil, which is engineered to not evaporate, will fill the microscopic valleys in the metal and significantly reduce the effectiveness of any subsequently applied thermal compound. " -this is from Arctic Silver support - http://www.arcticsilver.com/pdf/appmeth/int/vl/intel_app_method_vertical_line_v1.1.pdf