The spring is finally here, which means that pretty much everyone will be doing some sort of spring cleaning. Most people will remember to clean their house, but what about their computers? If your computer is slow and unresponsive, then now is the right time to give it a good cleanup.
Contrary to what a lot of computer novices think, there is nothing difficult about PC cleanup and optimization. All you need to do is run the right tools in the correct order and let them do all the work for you.
1. Manage your files
The first thing you should do when spring cleaning your PC is to get rid of outdated and unnecessary files. Do you have a lot of movies and songs on your hard drive? Are there are lot of last year’s work documents? And what about years’ worth of holiday photos? It’s great to have them all, but you don’t really have to store all these files on your computer. The more files there are, the less free disk space you get. This means that one day you will start running out of space and that’s when most people panic and start deleting files and uninstalling programs. But you don’t need to do that. Get an external hard drive and move large files like movies, photos and videos there. You can also transfer old documents to the external HDD to save some extra space and have everything backed up just in case your main hard drive fails. And if you have a lot of photos that you like sharing with your friends and family, you can try using a free cloud-based service like DropShots where you can store, organize and share your photos online.
Another thing you should do to recover free disk space is find and delete duplicate files. These files are usually copies of the same file that have been saved to different folders. The more there are, the more disk space is wasted. Duplicate videos are the worst because video files take up a lot of space. The easiest way to delete duplicate files is to use a duplicate finder – a piece of software designed to compare files and find duplicates. There are a lot of choice – Easy Duplicate Finder, Duplicate Finder, Duplicate Cleaner and so on. There are even programs that can find similar photos (re-sized, cropped, photos with different exposure settings, etc.) – Duplicate Photo Cleaner, Duplicate Photo Finder, VisiPics. These programs are great for photography enthusiasts.
2. Clean up temporary files
When you’ve organized your files, it’s time to delete all sorts of junk files from your PC. Junk files are various temporary system files, temporary Internet files, outdated logs and other useless files that are kept by Windows for longer than necessary. Deleting them will not only free up a lot of disk space, but will also make your computer run faster and make it more secure. Windows has a built-in utility that you can use to clean up computer junk. This utility is called the Disk Cleanup tool. Here is how to use it:
- Click on the Start button and then click on All Programs
- Navigate to Accessories and open System Tools
- Run the Disk Cleanup tool
- Select the disk you want to clean and let the program analyze your hard drive and then run the actual cleanup
3. Get rid of the dust
And last but not least, don’t forget to clean out the dust. Just like everything else in your house, your computer accumulates dust. The worst bit is that the dust gets inside it and can cause all sorts of problems, the most common one being overheating. If you have a desktop, your should open your computer’s case and blow canned air into it to blow out all the dust. You will be shocked when you see how much dust there is. And if you have a laptop, simply blow canned air into the ventilation holes – that will blow out all the dust there is.
Spring cleaning your computer can make all the difference between having a slow and unresponsive PC and having a reliable fast system. Follow the tips in this article and your computer will be as good as new.