Spring Cleaning tips for your PC and Computer Network

Folks, here is a quick and very informal list of what you can do to spring-clean our PC and computer network.

When doing any major changes or upgrades to your computer, always consider using professional help, and start with a good backup.

Backup files

Back them up again if you have to. Nowadays you don’t need to be explained why you need to backup files – backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are on top of every business owner’s to-do list. Just do it.

Clean out old and unused programs

Chances are you have programs you don’t use, but they still take up disc space and impact your system’s performance. Spring cleaning is the time  to decide what you use and what you don’t. In Windows, go to the Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs.  Select programs you haven’t used in a year or more, and those you are not planning on using altogether,  to be removed. On Macs you can open LaunchPad, then drag and drop the icons of your unused and underused programs into the trash. It’ll do the rest.  Purging your old and unused programs will improve your computer’s performance speed.

Clean the system’s registry

Your system probably keeps a lot of temporary Internet files, cookies, and browsing histories over the periods of time, and their accumulation may be among reasons why your computer keeps freezing. There are several tools you can use to clear out old registry entries, empty trash and delete temporary and unnecessary files – it will help speeding up your computer’s performance.

Defrag your hard drive

If you have never done a defragment (a defrag, as this process is commonly refered to it)  and worried about doing so by yourself – call your tech support for assistance. If you feel that you can take it on, defrag your drive. It would organize the contents of your computer to store files into the smallest number of contiguous regions (fragments). It would also attempt to create larger regions of free space using compaction to impede the return of fragmentation. Some defragmentation utilities try to keep smaller files within a single directory together, as they are often accessed in sequence.  In Windows 8 you’ll find this by searching defrag under Files, on older Windows systems go to Program Files>Accessories>System Tools. Performing a defragment may takes a long time, perhaps even several hours, so your system will be unavailable for use during a defrag. A good idea is to run it while you are busy doing other things not involving your PC.

Make sure all program are up-to-date

Your operating system and all software programs have to updated to the latest versions available, as these updates include the latest security patches. Updates should be on your list of top priorities when it comes to your PC and computer network. Older versions are at higher risk of being compromised by malicious hack attacks. On Windows, navigate to  Start>Control Panel>All Programs>Windows Update. The system will guide you through the rest when updates need to be installed on your computer. If in doubt, click on Check for updates link to confirm your system does or does not need updates. On iOS systems, click on the App Store>Updates  at the top of the window.

Perform a deep and full system security scan to remove any harmful files. Just to be safe, scan any external backup drives and attached mass storage devices, too.

Look into security

If are not using a full security suite, consider one: check out 2013 top 10 anti-virus security suites reviews.  then run a deep and full system scan to remove any malicious files. Just to be safe, scan any external backup drives too.

Change your passwords

This should be obvious. Make them new, fresh – and change them not just on your PC, but in other places, too. Here is a tip on why and how to come up with a new hard-to-guess password.

And give your PC some love!

Your system gets dirty over time. To clean your equipment, first, make sure everything is powered off. Wipe off your monitor with a damp cloth, shake out and/or spray your keyboard out with compressed air, and scrub the keyboard with a damp, mildly soapy solution to clean off the oils from your hands, coffee stains (you know who you are!) crumbs, dust and so on.