I.Ts Time for Spring Cleaning
Slowly, but surely, it will begin to finally feel like Spring. While the early Spring rain does its best to wash away the remainder of Winter outside, we can take the time to our advantage and clean up our computer’s performance inside. A “digital Spring clean” if you will. Spring is a great time to go perform a thorough IT assessment and make some changes! Roll up your sleeves and start to tackle that long list of computer-related “to-dos” that have been sitting on your desk for the past few months. Sure, you can start with the obvious and wipe down the dust that’s settled in the keyboard between keys and the monitor, but I’m talking about an internal digital spring clean, the kind that helps your system run smoother, free from unnecessary clutter.
1. Say goodbye to old files and documents
You’ve probably collected dozens of old screenshots, documents, and maybe even some old memes on your desktop over the last few months and now you don’t even know what your wallpaper is anymore because it’s so cluttered. Stockpiling files only makes it more difficult to locate what you’re looking for and will begin to compromise the speed of your computer.
Just like you go through your closet or car and toss out all the unnecessary things you don’t use or wear anymore, do the same for the files on your desktop. Open up each file and let go of the ones you forgot you even had and you know you won’t need anymore. For the files and memes that are just too important to get rid of, collect them into respective folders. This way, instead of dozens of individual files floating around the desktop, you’ll have just a few named folders to organize those files in for safe keeping and get to them a bit quicker.
To create a new folder:
Mac users, right-click on the desktop and choose “New Folder” from the menu. Double-click on “Untitled folder” to change the name.
Windows users, right-click the desktop and choose “New > Folder” from the menu. Click on it, and then name your new folder, then press “Enter”
2. Clean up that browser
The majority of your time on the computer is probably spent in a browser. Chrome, Explorer, Firefox, etc. This is another area that often gets cluttered with browsing data and cached files. Clearing up your browsing history should help your browser run a bit smoother. All of those bookmarks, Google searches, and browser extensions can leave your browser running a bit sluggish after a while.
Following the practice with your desktop files, do the same with your bookmarks, favorites, and cache files. Keep what you use and delete what you forgot about. Each browser has a different way of going about clearing data, so get familiar with your preferred browser’s data settings.
To clear history and browsing data:
Chrome users, go to “Settings” > “Show advanced settings” > “Clear browsing data”.
Firefox users, go to “Preferences” > “Advanced” > “Network” > “Cached web content”.
Edge users, go to “Settings” > “Clear browsing data”.
Safari users, go to the app menu, then select “Clear history”.
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3. Sort out your inbox
You’ve tackled the desktop and the web browser, now let’s take a look at that inbox. Your mail inbox may be completely disorganized, and you find yourself searching for an old email to look at a receipt or an old email from a friend or coworker. That can take up a good amount of your time. Instead, the easiest way to declutter the inbox is to create archive folders for different categories such as work, friends, bills, etc. After you read a new email, determine which category it belongs to and move it over to that folder.
Taking control of your inbox using this organizational method, you will notice new emails individually when they come in while the others are tucked away in their respective folders, allowing you to respond to emails more efficiently and never miss an email when it comes in.
To create Outlook email folders:
Mac users, open Outlook, right-click your account name in the mail tab > select “New folder” in the drop-down menu, then create a name for the folder and press “Enter”.
Windows users, open Outlook, select the account, click on “More” > click “+” next to “All Folders” > “Create new subfolder” > then, name your folder and press “Enter”.
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4. Apps, Apps, Apps Galore
We’ve all downloaded a few free converting programs or editing software from time to time. The issue is that when we are done using these programs, we often forget to delete them. You know the drill by now. Go through all these apps and delete the ones you rarely use.
Don’t worry, they still exist online, and you can always download it again when you actually need to use it. But for now, it doesn’t do you or your system any good when they are taking up a ton of space and making things run like molasses, so go ahead and delete away.
Mac users, go to Finder > “Applications” from the left menu > right-click a downloaded app > select “Move to trash”.
Windows 10 users, open the Start menu > “Settings” > “System” > select apps and features on the left menu > select the app you want to delete > click “Uninstall” twice.
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5. Get your Defaults in order
When you turn on your computer every day, does that annoying music streaming app pop up or a link in an email opens with a browser you wish was one you preferred? These inconveniences are easy enough to change and can make a significant impact on the efficiency of your computer.
Having programs running in the background that have popped up and went unacknowledged can cause your system to run slower. Disabling these unnecessary startup programs will be beneficial.
Disabling startup programs:
Mac users, go to System Preferences > “Users and groups” > Current user > “Login items” > click “- “for any apps you want to disable.
Windows 10 users, select the Windows start icon > type “task manager” > “Startup” tab > select app > click “Disable”.