Spring is here, and your thoughts have turned to spring cleaning.
You’ve spent the past few weeks cleaning out the car, dusting the rugs, and washing the windows, but there’s one important area you can’t afford to overlook: your computer.
Computers are some of our most frequently-used tools, and they need some annual TLC to keep running strongly. If you’re in the spring cleaning mood, here’s your complete guide to spring cleaning your PC.
1. Backup all your data
First things first, you’ll want to back up your data. Any time you do anything on your computer, from updating software to deleting old files, it’s important to back everything up to protect yourself from losses. Use an external hard drive and an online method, like Amazon Drive or a Google Docs folder to keep your data safe and sound.
2. Change your passwords
If you’re like most people, you’re guilty of using the same passwords over and over. While 80% of people are worried about their online security, 21% of people use passwords that are more than ten years old!
To avoid becoming a statistic, change your passwords at least once a year. To do this, you have a few options. Your first choice is to use a password manager to create and store high-quality passwords for the various sites you visit. Just be aware that there are some security risks associated with password managers.
You could also create passwords on your own. To ensure your passwords are strong, avoid using information that someone could guess. As a general rule, random strings of letters and numbers are ideal.
3. Enable two-factor authentication
While two-factor authentication takes some extra time when you log into your devices, it can go a long way toward keeping your data safer. Two-factor authentication works like this: you log into an app or website with a passcode or fingerprint, and then the system asks you to identify yourself a second way – either with a code, visual cue, or a series of questions.
4. Defrag your hard drive
While this sounds a little intimidating, stay calm – it’s easier than it sounds. “Defrag” is a shortened term for “defragmenting,” and it’s critical when you’re spring cleaning your PC. Here’s your step-by-step guide to defragging your computer:
- Back up your files. As we already mentioned, this is a critical step to complete before you do anything else.
- Close any programs you have open. This includes any programs that typically run in the background of your system, like virus scanners and other software.
- Plug your computer into power. The biggest risk during the defragmentation process is your computer losing power. That said, keep your computer plugged in the entire time.
- Run a defrag program. There are dozens of defrag software tools out there. Choosing one is just a matter of reading some reviews and finding the one that works best for you.
After the defrag process wraps up, you’ll notice that your computer is running faster and more efficiently than it was before.
5. Organize your desktop
If your desktop looks like a file exploded, now is an excellent time to clean it up. In addition to making items hard to find, a messy desktop increases the risk of losing files on accident, since you may mistakenly delete files you needed.
To clean up your desktop, arrange files into appropriate folders, and upload everything you don’t need to the cloud or an external hard drive. Once you’ve done that, delete unneeded files from your desktop for a cleaner, less stressful digital workspace.
To clean up your desktop, arrange files into relevant folders, and upload everything you don’t need to the cloud or an external hard drive. Once you’ve done that, delete unneeded files from your desktop for a cleaner, less stressful digital workspace.
The Case for Spring Cleaning Your PC
Let’s face it: life works better when it’s clean and organized. Unfortunately, our computers are places we commonly overlook. The good news is that these five tips help gear your PC up for a summer of heavy use and good performance. For additional questions about how to care for your PC, contact the techs here at Computer CPR -we’re always happy to help!