If you take the right steps, you may be able to extend the life of your PC and improve performance.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started: patience, a can of compressed air, a microfiber cloth and an open mind. So, without further ado, let’s get to purging!
Delete the Digital Dust Bunnies
Organize your documents in your Documents or My Documents folder. You’ll obviously want to delete outdated files. Next, create separate folders to store files you feel the need to keep. Consider making folders for taxes, the kids’ homework and household maintenance.
Delete your temporary files. Temp files are created as you’re working or browsing the internet. To get started, locate your Temporary folder. On most computers, you have to open My Computer on the desktop, select Properties and click the Disk Cleanup button. In Disk Cleanup, check the boxes for Temporary Files and Recycle Bin.
Starting today, clear your cache every three or four months. The cache is where your PC stores copies of websites you’ve visited. You can clear your cache under Settings in most browsers.
Sorting through old emails may be the most time consuming part of this task, but it must be done. Try sorting by sender or subject. Delete emails from unknown senders, especially ones with attachments.
Tidy Up Your Workspace
Go through every file on your desktop. Put files in the appropriate folders in My Documents or create new folders. Or even better… delete old files.
If you’ve downloaded a program and haven’t used it in six months, it’s time to let it go. It’s taking up valuable space. To delete a program, go to the Start menu, choose Settings and select the Control Panel. Choose Add/Remove to purge old programs.
Take a few minutes to review your Favorites or Bookmarks folder. Delete the sites you don’t frequently visit. Organize what’s left. Try separating sites by topic: food, travel, fitness, etc.
Check Those Hidden Nooks & Crannies
Want your computer to do the dirty work for you? Consider it done! Your machine stores information in little bits and pieces all over the place. Run a defrag program every few months to help your PC reorganize itself properly.
Kick any and all spyware and adware to the curb by downloading a reputable spyware removal program. Run it regularly. Spyware and adware are tracking your every move and sending annoying pop-ups your way.
Once you’ve cleaned up your computer, update your virus detection software and operating system. You can use the Tools menu in Internet Explorer to launch Windows Update.
Tackle the Dust
Heads up! This part can be pretty disgusting. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down your monitor. Rubbing alcohol will help remove dead skin cells from your mouse and mouse pad. Next, flip over your keyboard and give it a shake. Use a cloth containing rubbing alcohol to wipe the surface of the keyboard. If you really want to go the extra mile, use a cotton swab to get between the keys. To prevent your computer from overheating, use compressed air to blow away dirt and dust from exhaust fans and vents.
While it may take some time, cleaning out your computer is worth the effort. The final step in this process is deleting all of the files in your Recycle Bin and restarting your machine. While you’re in the cleaning mood, let’s also make sure your personal information is secure.