Friday, January 4, 2013

Resolution #1 - Clean Up Your Computer

Chances are that you've done a lot of cleaning over the holidays and afterward.  Don't forget about cleaning up your computer!  It's good to clean up the data on your computer at least annually, if not monthly.  To start, you'll have to spend some time getting rid of unwanted files.

Go through your data and purge unused information.  If you're not sure, you can always back it up (the subject of the next blog post) and then delete the copy on your computer afterward.
Consider unwanted programs.  Depending on your operating system, you'll have a Control Panel somewhere that will have something like "Programs and Features" (In Windows 8, you'll have to pull up the Start Menu, then right click at the right bottom corner of your screen and choose All Apps and then look under the Windows System section).  Let Windows list all of your programs and then look for old applications that you know you don't use that you can uninstall. Caution is advised because if you are not sure what an application is, you might really honk up your system if you delete it.  If you're intent on removing a program but aren't clear what it is, Google it first to find out! There are a number of programs that are used by your operating system or browser that you should not get rid of.

Once you've gotten rid of extra data and programs, you need to clean up the files that are often left behind.  An easy way to do this is to download the free CCleaner program and run it on your computer. It will clean up temporary Internet files and other junk as well as fix your registry (which is the database which stores the configuration information for your system). This program can also analyze what programs are running when you startup your computer so that you can disable those which you don't necessarily need.  Disabled programs will still be started when you launch them, but not before that.
Cleaning the outside of your computer is not a bad idea either.  Take a look at the back of your CPU where the fan is; chances are there's a mat of dust back there that should be vacuumed away. This step, as well as making sure there is adequate air flow behind your computer will help keep your fan from working too hard. Spray air is available in a can form to help you with dusting your keyboard. To get rid of yellowing from smoke in the air or general grunge on the keyboard/mouse, use alcohol on a cotton swab to clean the plastic portions.  Your screen should only be cleaned with a formula designed specifically for use on your computer monitor. (Surely you don't have fingerprints on it, though. Right?)

Once your computer has been cleaned inside and out, you'll need to back up your data. Stay tuned for more information on that topic as well as tips for website owners.  Need a web designer? Check out for samples of our professional and affordable websites!

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