Give your PC a spring clean for faster performance


The days are (just about) getting longer and the temperature is creeping above zero. That means it must be time for a spring clean, and not just of your cupboards and the garage - your PC could do with a good clear out too. There are several things you can do to improve performance, free up space and generally help your desktop or laptop feel a bit brighter. 

Uninstall unused applications

Getting rid of programs you no longer use both clears out some disk space and frees up some system resources. Even if you don't use the program, many are running in the background anyway (especially browsers, media players and most game services) hogging a little bit of memory and using some of your bandwidth that could be put to better use. 

Clear out My Documents

If you're organised, you'll have plenty of folders of documents going back years. If you rarely or never access them, why not move them to a USB stick, back them up to CD or DVD, or move them to cloud storage, where they are always available but not taking up space. Not only will your My Documents folder open faster and be easier to navigate, but your PC will have less searching to do when looking for information you do need. 

Install antivirus software

Many PCs remain unprotected against internet threats. While Windows Firewall and other tools can help, you really should have some antivirus software installed to scan for threats to your data, or for programs that could be using your PC for malicious purposes. You can download some antivirus programs for free, or there are many cheap solutions available that will help keep your PC protected. Some viruses install malware that can use your PC resources for their own ends, something that can slow it down a lot. 

Defragment your drives

Modern Windows operating systems automatically take care of your hard disk, but if you have an older OS like Windows XP, you should run the defragmentation tool in the Control Panel to help clean up your hard drive - it will improve disk and overall system performance. It will also find any potentially bad areas of the disk and stop files from using them. 

Switch to cloud services

If you're stuck with an older PC and can't afford to upgrade, stop using apps or programs that don't run very well and move to cloud or web-based services that run in your browser. Google Docs can handle office tasks for free, there are web apps that can do online photo editing for you, you can learn coding in the cloud... all without the need to buy or download software.

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