It’s almost Easter – which means it’s the magical season of spring when nature bursts back to life in a rainbow of colors. It’s also a great time to get your computer performing at speeds just like it used to when you first bought it. You might not think it’s possible but carry out a few simple tasks and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the ‘lightning’ comes back into ‘performance.’
Computer Spring cleaning
Is your computer slowing down? Does it take an age and a day to start up? Is there a time lag between clicking on a file and it actually opening? If so, it’s probably because it has become cluttered; blocked up with digital gunge. It only requires a few simple steps to get it running at pleasingly fast speeds again. You can think of it like a spring clean; just clearing out the applications you no longer use and getting rid of the temporary files that take up room on your hard drive.
Below are some tips you can follow to clean up your computer. Even if you only carry out the first three you’ll notice a serious difference in computer performance. If you follow all the tips you’ll have a computer that is so fast it will feel like it can take you to the moon and back in the blink of an eye.
Empty the recycle bin
Files can quickly stack up in the recycle bin. Simply go into the recycle bin and click on ‘empty.’
Get rid of unused programs
Go into the operating systems ‘Control Panel’ and then ‘Programs and Features’. A list of all the installed programs on your computer will appear. Look through the list and see which programs you no longer use and simply click on ‘uninstall’. There may be some you don’t recognize; perhaps they were downloaded by accident.
Remove temporary files
Temporary files are created to hold information temporarily while a file is being created. They are created by computer programs for a variety of purposes; usually when a program cannot allocate enough memory for its tasks.
The easiest way to get rid of them is to use a tool like CCleaner. This free tool does it for you and usually very quickly too. It will remove temporary files and all the other things that clutter up your computer like memory dumps and Windows logs files as well as cookies and temporary internet files from Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer. It also removes similar files from Google Chrome and Firefox.
You’ll notice a difference in your computer speed immediately after using a tool like this which illustrates just how much ‘gunk’ was clogging up your computer.
A word of warning though; if you tick the cookie box on CC Cleaner (you’re given options about the things you want to remove) it means any websites that automatically recognize you when you log onto them will no longer do so. This shouldn’t be a problem; it just means that you have to enter your full details again, such as subscription information.
Defrag your disc
Your hard drive stores all the information on your computer. This is stored neatly with data stacked neatly. But over time the disc becomes fragmented which means data storage tends to be haphazard and not efficient. This in turn slows your computer down as it searches for information on the hard drive. Imagine a room with files scattered all over the floor rather than stored neatly in filing cabinets and you’ll have a good sense of what happens on the drive over time.
To keep your computer running at its tip top best you should defragment, or consolidate files, on your hard drive. It can dramatically improve your computer’s performance.
Depending on which operating system you are using, Windows 7, 8 or 10 the process to reach the disc defragmentation feature is different. The simplest approach is to type in ‘disc defragmentation’ in the Windows search tool and follow the instructions.
However, please note disk defragmentation can take a while up to several hours sometimes. As such it’s a good idea to run the ‘defrag’ overnight. Further, energy-saving features like a screen saver might cause the defragmenter to stop and start all over again so it’s a good idea to turn these features off.
Run antivirus scans regularly
An antivirus scan will pick up things like spyware and adware that can slow down your computer as well as being incredibly irritating. But bit of paranoia doesn’t go amiss and a regular antivirus scan will sweep out the system and make sure nothing is missed. Alongside award-winning antivirus protection BullGuard Internet Security features PC Tune Up a tool that automatically speeds up your computer by analyzing logs and reports and removing or disabling unnecessary processes and applications.
Clean out My Documents
We’ve all got a My Documents folder that, well, is full of junk we never use. Of course it wasn’t junk at the time it was created but that was then and this is now.
It might feel a tad intimidating to go through all those files and also a task that is truly worthy of some procrastination, especially if it hasn’t been sorted out in years. But did you know every time your computer does a search it must trawl through all those junk files because though it may now be lightning fast it doesn’t possess the ability to discriminate between what is important and what is junk.
Back up your files
Backing up your files to the cloud or external storage and drawing them from your back up source is another way of keeping your computer free of unnecessary files. It’s also a good security tool ensuring you always have copies of your important files in a separate and safe place. Lots of people today use cloud-based storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive.
It’s rare these days to use software that doesn’t update automatically. But it does happen so you need to update any software that needs it. Don’t delay, updates mean the software will run better and it’s also an important security measure given that updates also often fix recently discovered security holes.
Clean up the desktop
Your desktop is a mess, right? It’s got all sorts of files, folders, short cuts, spreadsheets and ‘things; scattered all over it? If so, you can simply sort it out by creating folders to organize everything. Just right click on the desktop and select ‘New folder.’ You can also create one folder to keep all the other folders in if you prefer.
Need some visual presentation? Here’s a great explanatory YouTube video on how to refresh and maintain your computer performance:
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