The gods of obscure holidays have christened today, the second Monday in February, National Clean Out Your Computer Day. It serves as a reminder to all to keep digitals workspaces clean and organized.
It’s best to look at a computer as a metaphor for a desk or an office. If you don’t put things away or throw them away, eventually it’s going to pile up and get out of control and your going to be overwhelmed with chaos.
We have compile a quick list to help clean up your computer and getting your running quickly and efficiently.
» Physically clean the computer
It may seem purely cosmetic, but cleaning the dust and food particles off of your machine’s exterior can actually enhance its performance of your computer. Plus, it’s just good hygiene, especially this time of year.
- Gently, wipe down your the outside of your computer. If you have a laptop, very carefully, tip it upside down to loosen any particles stuck in the keys. With a spray duster you can blow us the dust from the keys or inside your desktop. If you are not comfortable blowing out the side of your machine, please bring it in and we will help you free of charge.
» Eliminate digital clutter
Do you spend valuable seconds searching your desktop for the icon of the program you want? It might be time to declutter – I am guilty of this myself.
- Organizing your desktop icons in folders not only makes them easier to find, it also eliminates the need for your computer to refresh those icons when you restart it, and that speeds up the process.
- On a Mac, the computer generates a preview of every document on the desktop, which can reduce performance.
- When dragging files to the trash or recycling bin, always remember to empty the bin before closing. You will want to restart your computer at this point.
» Restart regularly
Restarting your computer is like putting it down for a quick nap – It shuts off all of the applications running in the background — opened and then forgotten about. It closes the Web browser full of tabs you’ve had open for days. This is a good idea for phone and tablets as well. It will “wake up” refreshed!
- Recommend restarting your computer at least once a week….I know I am as shocked as you!
» Clear temporary files
When you surf the Web, your browser saves each page you visit as a temporary file to revisit the next time you load the page. On some PCs, those files are saved on the computer’s drive.
- Over time, these files can build up in your browser’s cache. Deleting them can free up some space. Each browser works differently, but in most cases, the files can be deleted by clearing your browsing history.
- On Macs, email attachments and other temporary files are automatically saved to the downloads folder in the toolbar.
» Defragment your hard drive
Your computer stores information on its hard drive wherever it can find space. Over time, those bits of information are strewn all over the place, and your computer has to work harder to find the information it needs.
Defragmenting your hard drive reorganizes all of the information, dramatically increasing speed.
- To defragment your hard drive on a PC, follow these instructions: Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.
- Some hard drives, known as solid state drives, encode on flash memory and shouldn’t be defragmented. Doing so will not improve performance and can shorten the drive’s life span. Solid state drives tend to be more expensive, Schrock said.
Check with the manufacturer if you’re not sure about defragmenting your drive or you are welcome to give us a call and we can walk you through it.
» Remove old programs
Just like your closet…If you haven’t used a program in a year, get rid of it.
- Uninstalling some software entails more than just dragging it to the recycling bin. Some programs will come with an uninstallation kit. Others can be removed on PCs via the control panel. Again, we can help you with this if your not sure what to do.
- On recent Macs, applications obtained from the App Store are automatically saved in Apple’s iCloud and can be deleted by moving them to the trash. If you decide you want them back, they can be reinstalled easily.
» Run an anti-virus program
An anti-virus program can detect and eliminate hidden malware and viruses unknowingly accumulated from clicking pop-ups and browsing less-than-reputable websites. These programs identify and target files that show signs of virus behavior.
- Some PCs come with anti-virus software already installed, but there are many other options available. We use and recommend Avast and Malware Bytes. The free versions will get the job done.
- Macs are not usually at risk of infection but to prevent an infection, make sure to update your application when new versions become available.
Now that you are cleaned up and your computer is running properly, i recommend doing quick clean ups monthly to help keep the clutter at a minimum. I know…its a lot to ask. But your computer will last longer if it is well taken care of.
If you need help or need advice on self-clean, please call us at 231-457-4874. We are happy to take the time to show you what to do!