Today, 13th February, 2017 is clean out your computer day…
It can be worrying and frustrating when your computer is running slowly, but rarely do we stop to actually work out what’s causing it. The causes can be numerous, and not all of them have to do with the contents of your hard drive.
Clean Out Your Computer Day is a reminder to take care of the whole system, inside and out, digital and physical, this will in turn help in keeping the data stored on it safe.
So what exactly does ‘Cleaning out’ your PC entail?
Clean out duplicate and junk files
As any PC or laptop ages, data will start to clog up the hard drive. This in turn slows performance, as your PC has to go further and work harder to find the files and programs it needs to access. Deleting duplicate files, emptying your recycle bin and removing temporary or other files you no longer need, can be done quickly and easily by going to your Disk clean up system facility. Simply click on the result for ‘Clear Disk Space by deleting unnecessary files’.
Delete programs you don’t use or need
Remove any programs you don’t use. In Windows 8 use the search function and enter ‘Uninstall’. You’ll see an entry for ‘Uninstall programs to free up Disk Space’. In Windows 7 head to Start > Control Panel > Programs and choose ‘Uninstall a program’.
Defrag your hard drive
Once you have removed unnecessary files and programs from your PC, a good next step is to compact the remaining data so that your PC can access data in as efficient manner as possible.
Defragging or defragmenting your hard drive is a way of speeding up your PC or laptop in Windows. The idea is that as data is saved and resaved to the spinning disc in your hard drive, small packets of information are deposited in random places all over the platter. This then takes longer to read, when Windows calls upon your hard drive to find out information.
By defragmenting or compacting that data the operating system removes the gaps between packets of data, moving it all closer to the middle of the disc. This in turn makes each access of the hard drive quicker, by a tiny amount. It should help to improve the speed of your PC or laptop.
Remove programs from launch
Removing start up programs will also help. You don’t have to completely remove a program from your PC to speed things up, you could just remove them from the start up process. Many programs autoload at start up, so you don’t need to wait around when you later want to use them – but you don’t always want to use them.
Organise and clean up your PC desktop
Digital documents should be stored in relevant folders, not on the desktop. Create a folder by right-clicking the desktop and choosing New, then Folder and giving it a relevant name. Drag-and-drop relevant files into your folder.
If you need to find a file in a hurry, enter its name into the Start menu Search box.
Remove unused shortcuts from the desktop – this won’t uninstall the programs they link to, but it will help to keep things tidy and organised. Next, right-click the desktop and choose View, ‘Auto arrange icons’. This will force your remaining shortcuts into a neat grid on the left side of the screen.
Get your PC serviced
When was the last time you had your computer cleaned out, your fans and motherboard checked and dusted off? Have you looked at your graphics card to see if it’s cooling? All that dust traps heat, and if you aren’t aware, computers really don’t function well under high stress and heat and this can lead onto your data corrupting.
You give your car an annual service and MOT to make sure it is running efficiently and minimise the risk of it breaking down on you in the future. Treat your PC like you would your car, take care of it and it will take care of your data.
If you don’t know how to do this yourself find an IT support company to do this for you. At the same time they can carry out a health check and make sure all your antivirus, etc is up to date.
By carrying out these checks and changes you can help avoid a potential future data loss.
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