It’s that time of the year again: The birds are chirping, the grass is turning green and the days are getting longer. You’ve opened the windows, cleaned the garage, but you still have this nagging feeling there is something you forgot to do. Yes, you forgot to do the annual spring cleaning for your PC. Your computer takes a lot of abuse during the year–abuse that can leave it running hot or choking on fragments of old data. We recommend you perform these tips annually on your PC as part of general maintenance to keep your computer running fast and lasting longer.
Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Computer
Clean Up Your Desk
Computer desks are notorious for concealing dust bunnies and other debris. Your monitor and computer might be difficult to move, so regular cleaning in this area might not be practical. But it needs to be done, so this will be our Spring cleaning number one priority.
If you’re comfortable doing so, disconnect everything from your computer and remove it from the desk enclosure. Vacuum and wipe down the area. Do the same for the monitor.
Next, open up the PC case. Make sure the computer is unplugged and then carefully vacuum the inside of the case. We prefer to use a small, computer vacuum designed for this type of work. Be careful around wires and avoid directly touching the motherboard or any expansion cards. Next, use compressed air to blow out the front grill, heatsink and power supply fans. Hold the fan blades to prevent them from over-spinning and damaging the internal bearings. You will likely have to follow-up with a second vacuuming.
If your PC is low to the floor, we recommend moving it to the top of the desk or installing a screen to prevent dust from being drawn into the computer. The screen can be installed inside the case near the front grill and easily removed and cleaned when it gets dirty.
Clean Your Keyboard and Mouse
You can clean your keyboard simply by flipping it over and shaking it for several seconds. Vacuum the the keys to remove any stubborn debris. We do not recommend removing the keys themselves; if they are dirty, gently wipe them down with slightly damp rag. If you’re still using a trackball mouse, unplug it and toss it in the trash. New laser mice will require very little maintenance. Simply wipe the bottom pad to remove any grit that might be causing it not to glide properly on your desk.
Update Your Software
You should also run software updates on your major programs. If you do not have automatic updates turned on in Windows, click the Microsoft Update link in your Start menu and update the Operating System. In addition, update Java and Adobe Acrobat Reader, if installed, as running older versions can be a security risk.
It’s also a great time to update your web browser. You can improve the speed and functionality of your web browser if you’re running the latest version. Most browsers can be updated by visiting their website or by clicking in the Help or About menu and using an update link, if provided.
Run Software Maintenance
Now that you have cleaned your computer inside and out and run essential updates, it’s now time to perform some general maintenance. Usually, we recommend this maintenance be run quarterly. So if you haven’t performed these tasks, Spring is now the time to do it.
Clean The Windows Registry
CCleaner is a great, free program you can use to clean your computer’s registry. In addition to cleaning your computer’s registry, CCleaner will remove browser cache files, empty the Recycling Bin, and delete your browsing history.
Run Disk Defragmentor
Lastly, complete Spring cleaning for your computer by running Disk Defragmenter. You can access this utility by going to Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Defragmenter. This process will organize your data so your hard drive can access this data quicker.