How to Spring Clean your PC!

What’s that peeking through the clouds? Doth I see a bit of sweet golden sunshine? Is that perhaps a fine-winged creature I hear a’chirping in the distance?

Praise the birds and pass the beer, spring is finally in the air.

For some, the season is simply a harbinger of more daylight hours, or maybe hay fever (gesundheit!).

But for us at RCS, Springtime means it’s time for none other than…spring cleaning! And if there is one thing we love to clean, it’s PCs. Just like those nasty spaces between your bed and the wall, over time our devices fill up with junk and filth – in the form of unnecessary files, over-crowded desktops, and over-burdened Startup menus. In the good spirit that crisp, light spring air, we offer tips to help you tidy up your PC and clean up your act.

1 – Get rid of unused startup menu items – Does it take ages for your PC to boot up? As if you could have been to Winter and back before you could get onto the internet? Maybe you just have too many programs starting when you boot up.

Lots of programs, including printers attempt to start up upon booting up and they continue to run in the background even though they don’t need to be running at all. To really speed things up, keep those programs from starting up, and open them when you need them.

To do this, go to your Reason Core Security client and choose the “Tools” tab on top right corner. Once inside Tools, you’ll see four different options on the left side – Programs, Startup Browser Addons and Remediation. Choose Startups and it will display all the different programs that turn on automatically upon booting up. Go through the list and turn off what you don’t need.

RCS even makes recommendations about what to turn off and what to leave. One piece of advice though, If there is a program you don’t recognize, the best thing to do is to leave it there – You don’t want to turn off something you need.

2 – Remove unused, unnecessary, and questionable programs – We all have some programs hanging out on our devices that just don’t need to be there. Sometimes they came with your PC and others you downloaded intentionally or unintentionally. These programs use resources and slow your PC down – so get rid of them! Again, go to the tools tab in your RCS client and this time pick the Programs option. Find the program you want to get rid of there and click on it. It will be on its way to program heaven in just a second. For a change of pace you can also remove unnecessary programs with our very own Should I Remove It, which also offers helpful explanations on what programs are and whether or not they can be beneficial.

Once your done with the purge, don’t forget to empty your recycle bin regularly to keep it from taking up resources.

3 – Clean up your desktop and files – Do your desktop a favor and tidy it up by putting files in the right places. Keeping files on your desktop isn’t only a messy habit, (Tsk tsk, if that’s what your desktop looks like, your bedroom must be a disaster!) it also eats up memory, because the files are stored in images – put them where they go to save some memory. While you’re at it, make sure you don’t have duplicates of files – if you do, merge or delete the ones you don’t need, which will free up even more memory.

4 – Install and maintain your antivirus and antimalware suite – Nothing eats speed like a nasty piece of malware – whether it’s the latest banking trojan or a zero-day attack masquerading as a Java update, malware not only puts your data at risk, it uses up resources. Keep your device malware free with a top-notch anti malware program like RCS that scans your PC for intruders and helps you dispose of freeloaders.

5 – Cut down on downloads –
When was the last time you looked at your downloads file? Um… like never? Well, now is as good a time as any to check it out and see whatcha got there. Chances are there are lots of things that were downloaded by accident or that you clicked on as a whim. Go through them and get rid of the ones you don’t need or want, like the download for the “How to Get Ripped While Eating Brownies and Potato Chips in Just 10 Days!” ebook.

6 – Update them updates –
If you want to keep your PC working as fast as it can, you need to keep up with updates. To check for updates to your OS and software, go to your Control Panel and choose the System and Security option. Then go to the blue “Check for updates” option under the “Windows Update” section and follow the instructions to install the recommended updates.

To defrag or to not defrag – that is the question

Then there is the idea of defragmenting your hard drive to speed things up. The idea behind defragging is to collect all the little bits of fragmented data strewn about your hard drive – so is this a good idea to do or not?

It depends on the kind of hard drive your computer has – if you are working with a Hard Disk Drive (HDD), then go and defrag away. Newer computers though have Solid State Drives (or hybrid SSHD’s, which combine both kinds) SSD’s have no moving parts and are super durable, which means that there really isn’t much of a need for defragmenting. So If you do have a HDD, you can defrag all you like but if your PC has a SSD, don’t do it. As a side point, there are a lot of companies out there that try to sell software to help defragment – but Windows has its own built-in defragmenter so stick with that one.

Another word to the wise regarding programs you really shouldn’t waste your money on, you might have heard of “PC cleaners” or registry cleaners. These programs claim that they can make your PC feel good as new with a click of a button – but they don’t really do very much and some can actually be harmful to your computer, so stay away.

If all else fails, you can try sucking up all the dust from the vents of your PC. Then take that vacuum to your bedroom, and for goodness sakes, clean the spaces between the walls and your beds!

Now if anyone can offer us any tips on how to keep our closets nice and tidy, we would be all ears…

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