Spring Clean Your Computer (in time for Fall)

All summer we have been plugging away with spring cleaning efforts at the Help Desk (yes, I know it’s not Spring anymore) and I realized, we’re past the days of traditional spring cleaning. Now we have to worry about spring cleaning our computers! You might not think about it much, but cleaning your laptop or desktop out can make it run much faster. I am here with some pointers (I’m good at cleaning because I make lots of messes).

Physical Cleaning

You can start with the outside, as your system gets pretty dirty from touching it, spilling crumbs, getting chocolate stuck in it (yes that really happened to me) and whatever else. Wipe off your monitor with a damp cloth, spray your keyboard with compressed air, and scrub the keyboard with a damp, mildly soapy solution. Our help desk manager Jill is an expert on dish washing desktop keyboards. (Hit her up if you want the scoop on that).

Throw Away the Junk

There’s plenty of information on your computer that doesn’t need to be there. Take time to clear out your Downloads folder (on both your computer and in individual web browsers), empty your Trashcan, and clear your Cache on your various web browsers and clear your Java Cache. Another important tip is to remove old programs you don’t use anymore. A useful tip for this is, “If you haven’t used it in over a year, get rid of it.”  On a Mac, right click on a program then select get info and then more info to see when you last opened the application. On a PC select Programs and Features in the Control Panel and then select last used on.

Startup Items
Many computers have programs that automatically boot up when you start your computer. This is unnecessary if you don’t use these programs every time and can slow down your computer. To access the list of startup programs on a Windows machine, type “msconfig” into the search box and press Enter. Click on the Startup tab and uncheck the items you don’t want to automactically open. On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups. Click on your username, then the Login Items tab. Now, use the minus sign button to remove items.
Make sure to only disable items which you are familiar with.

Organize Your Desktop

Whenever anybody looks at my desktop they get a little frightened, which I know is not a good sign. Just like you organize clothes and items into different areas and bins, you can do that with your computer. Put all of your files into appropriate folders (just make sure you remember what the folders are and where they are located).

Keep Your Computer Up to Date

Computer programs constantly have updates which you need on your operating system to keep everything running smoothly. Mac and Windows have automatic update checks (Software Update and Windows Update) but you can also check and update yourself.

  • Windows users should go to the Start Menu and search for “Windows Update.”
  • Mac users can get to the System Preferences menu from the Apple menu, and then by choosing Software Update from the View menu.

Back up Files

Now that only your important information is left on your computer, you should make sure you don’t lose it. Back up your computer by purchasing an external harddrive, using a flash drive or putting files onto online storage.

Now your computer will ideally run smoother—just in time to mess it up for Fall!


Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Leave a Reply