It’s time to make resolutions to detox and declutter. We show you how to apply the same resolve to your PC life, speeding up your machine in the process.
Although many of us will have already broken our New Year’s resolutions, it’s not too late to change some old habits. One of our annual vows is to get outside and get into shape; since it’s far too cold to tackle that particular hurdle, turning our attention to home – and home technology – improvements makes sense.
A useful project is to give your PC some attention, sprucing it up and helping it to run smoothly. If nothing else, we suggest giving your computer a good clean to blow away all the cobwebs.
But it’s not just the PC’s exterior that could do with a tidy. Over time, installed programs, unused desktop shortcuts, saved files and downloaded data can bog down your system. Organising these files will go a long way to improving productivity when you need to work on a particular document.
The hard drive, temporary file folders and Windows Registry will also need a good sort out. Any programs and files you rarely use will serve only to slow down your PC. Get rid of anything that’s no longer needed, dump duplicate files and uninstall old programs you’d forgotten about; this will help recover the pep your PC once had.
Although these ideas sound pretty laborious, free downloads can do most of the hard work for you. We particularly rate Revo Uninstaller, which deletes programs and related junk files, and Easy Duplicate File Finder, which trawls your hard drive for duplicate files. Be sure to back up your machine before using any third-party tool or Windows utility, however.
These steps should make your PC boot up faster, but to speed up startup further you’ll need to investigate the programs that autoload when you turn on the PC. Boot-analysis tool Soluto offers advice on which programs can safely be removed from the boot-up process, and can even defer their launch until a later time.
Clean up and organise your desktop
Step 1. Digital documents should be stored in relevant folders, not on the desktop. Create a folder by right-clicking the desktop and choosing New, then Folder. Named ‘New Folder’ by default, you can rename your archive simply by typing over the highlighted text. Drag-and-drop relevant files into your folder.
Step 2. Remove unused shortcuts from the desktop – this won’t uninstall the programs they link to, but it will help to keep things tidy and organised. Next, right-click the desktop and choose View, ‘Auto arrange icons’. This will force your remaining shortcuts into a neat grid on the left side of the screen.