Protect Your Software! 6 Tips for Excellent Computer Cleaning

A well-kept computer is spotless on the outside and efficient and organized on the inside. So, during Clean Up Your Computer Month, we want to help you achieve both. We already covered scrubbing your hardware last week, so today’s post will focus on tidying and protecting your software. Computer cleaning will take a bit of time, but it could extend the life of your machine.

 

Delete useless files and programs.

 

We’ve all downloaded files and programs we never use. Unfortunately, those pointless items can bog down a system, so it’s time to delete them. Use your storage tab to search for the files and programs that take up the most space and remove anything unnecessary. You can also search for and eliminate items you haven’t opened in years.

 

Then, after choosing which files to dump, empty your trash or recycle bin. You won’t reclaim any storage space until this happens.

 

Finally, if you have Windows 10, you should also launch the Disk Cleanup utility. This tool erases temporary files and system files to help improve your computer’s speed and free up storage space.

 

Defragment.

 

Believe it or not, deleting files can create blank spaces on your hard drive. This is called fragmentation, and it can slow down your computer. Fortunately, you can use a Disk Defragmenter to drag your files closer together. Your computer probably already has one of these tools built into it, but you can use a third-party tool, as well. For more information on this step, check out this handy guide. Also, remember to defrag every three to six months.

 

Clear your browser history.

 

A browser history can consume hundreds of megabytes of space, so during your computer cleaning, you can click on “Preferences” in your web browser and erase it all. Just know this will also disrupt your automatic logins for various websites, so weigh your need for space against this issue.

 

Back up your hard drive.

 

Back up your files to a second location, particularly the important ones. You can store them either on a hard drive or the online “cloud.” And you should do this often. Skip this step, and you could lose all your information if your computer ever crashes.

 

Protect your computer from malware.

 

“Malware” is dangerous software used by cybercriminals to steal information or damage computers. You can protect yourself from it in two ways—by frequently updating your software and programs and by installing antivirus products. Remember to complete both tasks during your computer cleaning.

 

At this point, it’s also a good idea to start using a password manager, if you aren’t already. This tool will help you develop strong passwords and access them easily for any app or website.

 

And, while you’re thinking about malware, you should also review our tips for thwarting common cyber scams.

 

Ask for help.

 

If computer cleaning seems complicated, it’s ok to ask a friend who knows their way around computers for help. Just don’t forget to thank them with a free lunch.

 

Reboot.

 

After decluttering and protecting your computer, the last step is to simply reboot. As soon as it turns back on, you’ll feel like you’re working with a new machine.

 

Check your home insurance policy.

 

What could home insurance possibly do with computer cleaning? Many home insurance policies also cover identity theft protection. So, while you’re conducting a computer cleaning, it’s a good time to check your policy to make sure you have sufficient protection. That way, you’ll be ready if a cybercriminal ever manages to steal your personal information.