It’s springtime, and that means it’s spring cleaning time. In the case of your PC, now is a good time as any to roll out several tasks that are easy to do, and will extend the life of your machine. Here are some simple tips to get you started with your spring cleaning
Think of your PC like a big parking lot, and the files on it as cars filling parking spaces at random, all across the lot. Defragmenting puts those files in more ordered locations, meaning your PC can access them much more quickly.
In Windows XP, click Start, then My Computer. Right-click the main hard drive (usually C:) and click Properties. On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now, then click Defragment.
In Windows Vista and Windows 7, click the Windows Button, then click All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then Disk Defragmenter.
The defragmenting process could take awhile, depending on how large your hard drive is. When it’s done, restart your PC. You’ll notice an instant speed improvement!
If you’ve had your PC for awhile, it’s likely full of programs that you don’t need anymore. Uninstalling them will save hard drive space and reduce the strain on Windows by removing extra files from its system, called DLLs or dynamic link libraries.
To uninstall applications that you don’t need anymore:
Click Start, then Control Panel. Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows Vista & Windows 7:
Click the Windows Button, then Control Panel. Click Programs and Features.
Wait until Windows has a chance to populate this list, then sort by date installed, size, last time used, or some other convenient sorting method. This way, you can easily determine which programs you don’t use anymore.
When you’ve found a program you don’t want anymore, click on it and click Uninstall (Uninstall / Change on Windows 7). After the program uninstalls, you will likely have to restart your PC. You’ll be happy you saved space on your machine.
Too many startup programs delay a full restart of your PC, take up precious memory and system resources, and can cause conflicts with other programs you try to run.
To remove unnecessary startup programs:
In windows XP, click Start, then Run…, then type msconfig and hit Enter. Select the Selective Startup box, then click the Startup tab.
In Windows Vista or Windows 7, click Start. Click Control Panel, then Administrative Tools, then System Configuration. Click the Startup tab.
Deselect anything that you’re sure that you don’t want to be running when Windows starts up. Click OK and restart, and you’ll have control over your PC much more quickly.
Removing temporary Internet files and clearing your browser cache will gain you a lot of lost hard drive space. The cache is what the browser uses to load pages that have already been visited more quickly, but this cache can get very large over time. Likewise, temporary Internet files are not designed to carry over between browser sessions, but can often get left behind in the case of a freeze or crash.
To remove temporary Internet files and clear the cache:,/p>
Click the white Tools icon in the upper right. Click Safety, then Delete Browsing History. Deselect Preserve Favorites Website Data and select the others. Click Delete.
Click the three lines in the upper right, then click Options. Click the Under the Hood tab. Click Clear Browsing Data…, then select Empty the Cache and any other items you wish to delete. Click Clear Browsing Data.
Click the orange Firefox button, then click Options. Click Privacy. Click the Clear Recent History link. Choose a range of time in the menu and click the Details arrow. Select Cache and any other items you wish to delete. Click Clear Now.
Keeping all these tips in mind will ensure a clean PC and better peace of mind. And isn’t that what spring is all about?
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