Throughout the year, we usually take the time to tidy our cupboards, closets, dressers, drawers and more. The mess has to be tackled at some point! Since spring is long gone, why don’t we all agree to designate summer as computer cleaning season? We’re talking inside (in the digital sense, of course) and out, including both those cluttered files and that physical grime.
Cleaning Inside Your Computer
1. Delete, back-up, and update files
The first step in digital spring cleaning is going through all your software and data files, keeping only what you need and use. Remember Marie Kondo’s wisdom from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: unless you love it, lose it. One option for tidying away large but important files, like family photos, is to store them on an external hard drive. You can also back files up on “the cloud,” which is really just a hard drive in another location. For this, consider using iCloud, Google Drive, or a similar service.
Stop ignoring those pesky operating system and software update requests! And don’t forget empty the trash. On your desktop, that is.
2. Clear cookies, caches, and spyware
Slightly trickier than removing unnecessary or excess files you’ve added yourself, is eliminating those added by others. This includes tracking software like cookies and spyware. Don’t worry, there are easy ways to clear it all. Possibly the best approach is to run top-notch security software that monitors your computer for unwanted files. There are also free security programs that work in a pinch, like SpyBot.
It’s good to return to a blank slate. No matter your browser, you’ll find ‘history clearing’ options in the settings.
3. Run a system optimizer
Let’s face it, we aren’t all tech savvy or patient enough to keep our computers running ship shape. Luckily, for those who prefer to resolve errors, crashes, and freezing automatically, while also speeding up their computers, there is system optimizing software available.
Cleaning Outside Your Computer
1. Squeaky clean screen
It’s important to keep your computer monitor clean, but using regular glass cleaner or wet cloth is not recommended. Show your monitor some due respect by using specially-designed cleaning cloths and fluids. But also, don’t forget to give your computer’s entire exterior a good, old-fashioned soapy wipe down.
2. De-crumb your keyboard
Especially if you’re the type to snack at or near your computer, your keyboard probably has more than a few crumbs stuck inside. These may seem harmless, but over time they can wear out your keys. To remove them, you can start by simply tipping your keyboard upside down and shaking, or by vacuuming if that’s easier. Afterward, wipe it down and consider adding an invisible keyboard shield.
3. Blow away internal dust
This “outside” technique requires getting a bit deeper in your computer. If you have a desktop tower, it should be relatively easy to open with a screwdriver. For laptops, consider watching how-to videos or speaking to an LD Expert first. Once you’re inside, the best tool for getting dust out is usually a can of air. Don’t want to open your computer up? Blowing air into the cooling fans helps, too.