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Spring is here and, as a time associated with renewal and rejuvenation, it’s often the season when many people spring clean their homes, offices and lives in general. What better time then to turn our attention to the technology that we rely on year-round, and give it a good review and clean-up? After all, the more efficient our IT systems and computer, the better they’ll be able to support us for the rest of the year.
Ready to spring clean your IT? Here are five of the most important things to cover if you want to enjoy faster, more organised and reliable technology for the months to come.
There’s nothing more distracting than a cluttered desktop. Over time, desktops tend to become hoarding grounds for all sorts of files and shortcuts, many of which we quite simply no longer use.
Now spring is here, it’s a great time to declutter your desktop. Start by going through every item one by one. Delete any shortcuts you no longer use, move images into image folders and documents or files into their rightful folders.
Pay attention to your program shortcuts too. Rather than having them randomly dotted about, try sorting them into themed folders, or pin your most used programs to your taskbar or dock.
Remember that every time you boot up your PC, it has to load each of these files. So the less you have on your desktop, the faster your PC will load.
Once you’ve finished your clean-up, you can bring a sense of neatness to your desktop by right clicking and choosing ‘sort by’, then you can order your icons by size, type, name or date. This will help you find what you need faster.
Now you’ve organised your desktop, it’s time to focus your efforts on your files and folders. It’s easy during a busy working day to just save things wherever they land, but you’ll know the frustration of trying to locate what you need in a hurry, only to find yourself searching through reams of random files.
So take some time this spring to get organised. Set up a system of folders to make it easier to find the files, documents, images and videos you need with ease. Whilst you’re in the process of sorting, have a clear-out too. If there are files you haven’t used in a year or more, think about moving them to an external hard drive so that they are not cluttering your newly organised file system, and slowing down your PC.
Over time, temporary files and the likes of web cookies can accumulate and slow down a PC. These can be manually deleted or cleared, or you can use software such as CCleaner and System Mechanic can help to remove unused temporary files, clear your web browser and clean your registry.
It’s a good idea to regularly empty your recycle bin too, as deleted files will stay there taking up space and slowing things down until they’re permanently removed.
Now is a good time to ensure your operating system is up to date so that you have all the latest security patches and updates. You can also optimise performance by disabling visual effects, removing programs from your start-up menu so your PC is quicker to load, and by defragmenting your hard drive so that it runs more efficiently.
If you’ve been experiencing issues with Windows, you can run a system refresh. You’ll usually find that this returns your PC to running just the way it did when it was brand new.
A system refresh will reinstall Windows, but retain your personal files and settings, as well as the apps that came with the PC and that you installed yourself from the Microsoft Store.
It’s vital to run a backup of your important files before you begin and, if you’re unsure about any aspect of the process, ask for help from a qualified Microsoft technician.
A spring clean wouldn’t be a spring clean without a good dust! Most people are quick to keep their workstations spick and span, but often overlook their actual PC and other equipment. But it’s important to remember that dust can accumulate in fans and air vents, having a negative impact on performance.
Dust can lead to overheating, which can result in unexpected shutdowns or throttled performance, where the central processing unit (CPU) throttles back its performance in order to avoid damage.
A build-up of dust can become a significant issue if it is left unattended. Fans and air vents are vital elements of a PC which help it to run efficiently and safely. This is why it is so important to spring clean your computer.
A good clean inside a PC with a can of compressed air and a cotton bud can do the trick, but only proceed if you are confident finding your way into and around the unit. If the PC is sealed, you can still use compressed air to clean the vents.
It is vital though when cleaning a PC in any way to switch off the power, disconnect from the mains and, in the case of laptops, remove the battery. If in doubt, hand over the task to an IT professional.
Here at PC Docs, we are proud to serve a number of Hertfordshire and North London based businesses with a variety of IT support services designed to keep systems running at their best 24/7.
We often help businesses facing issues with IT system performance, finding solutions to improve speed and efficiency for the long term so that productivity can be kept at its optimum. Need IT solutions and support for your business? Speak to PC Docs.