Tools & Tips, Tutorials

Spring Clean Your System Series: Introduction

Spring is in the air – at last! With the increasing light, we naturally start to clear out all those dusty corners and give our homes and gardens a good tidy up, ready for the year ahead. But what about your technology? If, like me, you use your computer for work and also have a number of other devices you use, such as a table or iPad, the chances are you have a lot of files to organise. Whether that’s photos, e-mail or documents, just like your regular paper-based filing pile, a lot of clutter can build up over time if you don’t stay on top of it. And that’s just the stuff you see. When we use technology there are a lot of files buried behind the scenes that also mount up over time; things like temp (temporary) files, cookies from websites we visit, and a legion of other one-time and short-time-use files that we don’t actually need to keep. All this invisible clutter stays on your system and over time slows it down, which is why it’s worth spending the time now and again – and what better time than Spring, since that’s when we get busy tidying generally – to clean your system, to declutter and get organised, just like you do with your home.

To help you with this I’m putting together a series of posts that will take you through the various ways you can tidying up and also get organised.

First we’ll look at ways to declutter all those invisible files using some free software designed just for that purpose.

Then we’ll look at decluttering our files and applications.

And finally, once we’ve cleaned up our act, we’ll make sure we’ve got everything backed up, either to the cloud or to a separate drive.

In the meantime, why not get out those screen wipes and give the screen and keyboard a good wipe down. And, if you have a desktop PC, it’s a good idea to put the hoover up to the back of the fan vent and suck out the dust especially if you have pets. No, seriously. One of our computers was constantly overheating. When we took the back off to check that all was well with the heatsink we found, to our surprise, an enormous ball of fluff had collected there. No wonder it wouldn’t work! If you’re confident to open the case (and can do so without invalidating any warranties) it’s well worth giving your computer’s insides a good freshen up with a blast of air from an air canister such as this one on Amazon*. No more fluff!

Although the focus of this will be on Windows systems, many of the techniques and tips will also be relevant for Mac users. Where there are differences, I’ll provide separate info in later posts.

Credits: main image copyright iStock.com/valio84sl


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