Declutter Your Computer for Optimal Performance – Early Spring Cleaning

Whether you are hitting ctrl+alt+del several times a day, or just notice that your computer is running slower than usual, it’s a great time to do basic computer maintenance. You’d be amazed at how many tech problems are fixed when your computer is properly maintained. Here are the basics:

Clean Your Screen, Computer, and Keyboard(s)

While you should use a static-free cloth to dust down your computer frequently, it needs a periodic deep cleaning. Clean your screen with an anti-static cleaner that is free of oil, wax, and ammonia. Look for one that is eco-friendly, like the Eco-Moist Organic Screen Cleaner. For your computer and keyboard, especially the cracks, fans, and vents, use a small voltage air compressor, like the DataVac Computer Duster. Also, be sure to turn your keyboard upside down and shake it out. You would be amazed at the gunk that collects between and underneath the keys.

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Uninstall or Delete Any Programs You Don’t Need

Computers come loaded with all sorts of software and features that you will probably never use. Frequently, these items are pinned to the Start Menu or Desktop, which takes more time for your computer to load. While you should be cautious not to delete any programs that may support your operating system, go to Control Panel>Programs and Features and uninstall any programs that you don’t need. If you aren’t sure what a program does, Windows 10 offers a link at the bottom of the uninstall window that allows you to view the program information online. Also, delete any items from your desktop that you don’t use frequently. Deleting items from your desktop won’t delete the program. The program will still be available your main menu.

Clean-Up any Disks

A lot of temporary files and other stuff that you don’t need hoard up space on your hard drive and weigh it down. If you are running Windows, go to Windows Administrative Tools>Disk Check and run the application.

Do a Full Security Scan

Even if you have your computer set to run periodic security scans automatically, things can apparently slip through the cracks. While this process can be painfully slow (it took 48 hours to run for me), it is also important to ensure that your problems aren’t being caused by a malicious file or malware. I use the basic Windows Defender program, which I activated under Windows Systems. You may have opted for an add-on program like Norton Security. Either way, run it and run it often. Any problems that are detected should be cleaned.

Defragment and Optimize Your Drives

Once you’ve got everything else cleaned up, it is a good idea to defragment your system. Simply go to Windows Administrative Tools >Defragment and Optimize. Analyze all drives on your computer and then set the program to automatically optimize all drives weekly.

Last week, I was so close to throwing my computer out a window. It would freeze up on me every couple of hours – and usually during a time-sensitive task. I was already plotting my outing to buy a fancy new computer but dreading the process of transferring files, etc. I walked through the steps above and, lo and behold, my computer is saved – at least for now. And even if it is for just a few more months, it is worth it!

 

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