Technology

5 Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your PC
 

It’s getting warmer and flowers are blooming; it’s time for spring cleaning.  Don’t forget that your computer may need a little cleaning as well.  Of course you can clean the monitor and use canned air to clean the keyboard, but what about all the internal crud that needs cleaning?  Even normal day-to-day internet use can clutter up and slow down a computer in no time.  After only a few months, your PC is running at a fraction of its original speed.  A little internal cleaning can get it running like new – no screw driver needed.  

  • Move Large Files to an External Drive – Photo, video or music collections take up an incredible amount of space.  You can move these types of files to an external hard drive to free up valuable hard drive space.    
  • Remove spyware, malware and viruses – Spyware is the number one culprit of slow running PCs.  Malware (malicious spyware) and viruses can put your security at risk as well as bog down the processing power of your computer.  There are many options available to scan and remove these types of enemies.  There are several options we recommend:  MalwareBytes (www.malwarebytes.org), AVG (free.avg.com) or (www.avg.com), and Ad-aware (www.lavasoft.com).  All offer a free version with limited features, or a option to purchase a full or Pro version with more automated features.  Beware of scanners that sound similar (Ad-ware), and especially beware of any “pop up” warmings that say your computer is infected.  These are scams that try to “scare” you into buying their product. 
  • Remove Old Documents – You should clean out documents & emails that are no longer needed.  If any documents contain sensitive information (tax-related documents), you should use a digital file shredder to permanently remove them.  If you’re not sure about the future need of a document, archive it to an external hard drive.
  • Tune the Registry – In very basic terms, the registry is your PC’s personal database; the computer’s brain that keeps track of everything (software, data, printers).  Over time, your computer’s registry can become bogged down with corrupt and unused data thus slowing things down.  Cleaning is a job for a professional – do not attempt to make any manual changes to your registry – you could cause irreversible damage.  Visit a computer technician or try a trusted software solution like Lavasoft’s Registry Tuner (www.lavasoft.com) or Uniblue’s Registry Booster (www.uniblue.com) which can identify, clean and correct any errors. 
  • Manage Startup Programs – if you have too many programs running at once, it can slow down your PC.  Some programs start automatically when you start Windows.  Check yours for unnecessary programs by going to Start, All Programs, Startup – right click to delete.  This does not remove the software from your machine, it only prevents it from automatically loading. 

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