You wouldn’t work in an office that had cobwebs draping from every corner or a thick layer of dust on every horizontal surface. So why are you working from a computer that’s bogged down with tons of junk?
If your computer’s been a little laggy, or you’ve noticed that it’s hard to find the files you’re looking for, you’re probably overdue for a good computer cleanout. As we browse and work on our devices, they accumulate data. Over time, this can build up, making it harder for your hard drive to find the specific bits of information that it needs. Cleaning out your computer won’t just make your life easier – your computer will appreciate it, too.
This is a little more involved than dusting off your keyboard, but have no fear – we’re going to walk you through the quickest and simplest ways to put some pep back in your processor.
Uninstall and Delete Old Programs
We all have programs that we use on a daily basis. But on the other side of the coin, you probably also have a bunch of programs that you downloaded, used once, and then either forgot about or decided not to use. These programs are still on your hard drive, and they’re taking up valuable space.
Go through your installed programs and uninstall the ones that you don’t need or use. Some programs automatically set themselves to start up when your computer does. Setting them to run only when you want them will make a world of difference in terms of your startup speed.
Flush Your Browser Cache & History
Answer honestly: when was the last time you cleared your browser history? When did you last clean out your downloads folder? It’s probably been a while. Your browser saves a digital roadmap of where you go and what you download, and when it’s got a lot stored, it can start getting laggy.
If you’re not sure how to clean up your browser, do a quick online search for whatever browser you’re using (Edge, Chrome, and Firefox are a few of the most popular). The manufacturer of your browser program will usually have provided a step-by-step guide on cleanup and maintenance.
The best part about this tip is that you’ll likely notice a huge change in your browsing speed right away!
Tidy Your Desktop
Yeah, there’s a lot of space on your desktop, but you really shouldn’t be using it to store a lot of files. Your desktop is a place for links to programs, not a repository for stuffed folders.
Leave what you absolutely need on your desktop, like shortcuts to a document processor or your most frequently accessed file folder. Everything else should be stored on your hard drive.
While you’re rooting around your files and folders, take some time to make sure they’re labeled neatly, organized in a way that makes sense so you can find them quickly, and delete any duplicate folders or files that you don’t need anymore.
Get Rid of Old Hardware
It happens. You do a good cleanout, and your computer’s just as slow and nonresponsive as before. You find an SD card that’s scratched and dented from bouncing around in a bag for years. There’s a pile of floppy discs that haven’t been touched since the late 90s.
Sometimes devices just stop working or aren’t compatible with the latest software updates. When that time arrives, don’t hold onto something that you won’t use. Transfer whatever documents you need, and then either sell, donate, or recycle your old device.
A word of warning, though: before your device leaves your hands, make sure the hard drive has been properly destroyed. Electronic media destruction is used by major corporations to protect confidential data, but it’s just as useful for small businesses and homeowners. A device’s hard drive, even if it’s been erased, will always hold an imprint of the information stored on it – like your tax records, account numbers, and saved passwords.
To prevent that data from being stolen by a third party, you’ll want to find a service that specializes in hard drive destruction. They’ll make sure the hard drive is properly crushed, which makes information retrieval impossible. Once that’s done, you can sell, reuse, or donate the rest of your computer as you see fit. You don’t even need to worry about recycling – most hard drive destruction services partner with a local recycling plant to keep all the electronic bits out of the landfill.
Hopefully, your computer is now looking fresh, tidy, and running smoothly. If you’ve found some old electronics that could use recycling (or full-on destruction), give us a call at (602) 441-3339. You can also send a message our way with any questions you might have about the process.