Over time, our computers accumulate little tidbits of ‘junk’, for example, temporary files created by various programs are not always properly removed, and files that are in continued use are spread out across our hard drive as they grow and evolve.
These little tidbits affect the daily performance of our machines as they make access to hard drive data slower and more error-prone. Users should try to make sure that at least 10% of your allotted hard drive’s space remains free, or the performance of every single one of the programs installed on your PC will suffer. This is why it is important, from time to time, to allow your computer to do its own ‘house cleaning’.
For those of you using the popular Windows operating system, your computer comes pre-installed with a couple of useful tools designed to restore your hard drive to its optimal working condition. These tools can be found by opening ‘My Computer’, and right-clicking the hard drive you wish to ‘tidy up’, and include the automated disk error checker, which identifies and fixes hardware glitches, and the defragmentation tool which removes leftover file parts and concentrates parts of files that have been spread out over the drive.
This is also a good opportunity to make sure that there are no malicious pieces of software hidden on your drive. With the help of one of the top 10 antivirus programs, and a periodically scheduled scan, or computer cleaning, you can easily seek out and remove said malware, and greatly decrease the chances that your sensitive information may be lost or stolen.
Regardless of the mechanisms which you use to ‘tidy’ your computer, backup for your drive’s precious data is always a recommended precaution. While you may not need or want to backup your entire drive, your documents, photos and media files, which tend to take up a small portion of the total drive volume, may be worth safeguarding by either continuously syncing them up the a cloud storage provider, or periodically uploading them to a static snapshot.
Handy Cleaning Tools for your PC
◉ WinUtilities - A suite of easy to use tools for various computer maintenance tasks. Of note are its temporary file removal tool and its duplicate file search, which will both help you find wasted storage space on your hard drive.
◉ SlimCleaner - Simple utility focused on the removal of leftover temporary files, it has been designed to deal with a variety of commonly used programs that tend to leave behind unnecessary bits of data.
◉ Revo Uninstaller - While most programs can easily be uninstalled using the Control Panel’s Add/Remove Programs feature, you may, from time to time, encounter a more stubborn program that refuses to be uninstalled using the conventional method. This is most characteristic of lesser quality apps that you may install online. This tool excels in weeding out these stubborn pieces of code.
◉ Should I Remove It? - A tool that is specifically designed to recommend to less tech-savvy users which software is actually providing them with value, and which are bloatware unnecessarily taking up system resources. By collecting usage and rating data from millions of users, this tool has compiled a database of viable, and unviable, software.