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Digital Spring Clean

A spring clean with a difference…

Good for your PC, Notebook/Laptop all year round. Actually now is always the best time…


Before you fiddle with your PC in any major way, always make sure that your data is safe.

Physical Stuff

  1. Give it a blowout! – PC’s are fantastic dust collectors, the slight static charge attracts dust from the high volumes of air flowing through your system to aid cooling it. Use a blower or compressed air to clean out dust and dirt from your keyboard, vents, fans, heat-sinks and casings. This will help keep the temperature of your system components as low as possible, maximizing performance, as dust is a good thermal insulator, and fans spinning freely.
  2. Clean your CRT, LCD or hopefully LED screen – Use a soft cloth that’s as clean as possible (the one that came with your prescription or sunglasses is perfect for this!). Use a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water put into a glass bottle (preferably) that can spray a mist. Be careful when wiping the screen to not scratch the surface by rubbing too hard or damage your PC by spilling the liquid onto sensitive components. If you don’t like the idea of DIY screen solution, you can buy special screen wipes.
  3. Tidy up the cables – Inside and out, use zip-ties or wire fasteners to keep them in tight, clean, manageable bundles that keep your desks and entertainment area spick and span.

Tidy up your File System

  1. Disk Cleanup – “Many applications and websites borrow a little space while they’re running by dumping file’s in your computer’s temporary files. This helps them run more smoothly or access things quicker. No big deal, right? Well no big deal until enough space has been borrowed and not returned that it begins to affect your computer’s performance. Disk Cleanup is a Windows System Tool that can help you recapture borrowed space and increase performance. – click “Start”, “All Programs”, “Accessories”, “System Tools” and then “Disk Cleanup”. Select the drive or drives you want to cleanup and click “OK”. Now select the areas you want Disk Cleanup to clean and then click “OK”. [If you don’t know what something means, leave it unchecked!]
  2. Cleanup startup items – Ever wonder what happens when you turn your computer on? In most cases, a lot more than needs to! Too much going on at startup can drastically slow down your computer, but thankfully is easy to clean up. Remove unnecessary items from your Startup folder and you will help your computer run faster by reducing the number of applications that startup automatically. This helps improve load times and free’s up memory and processing power for other applications. – I use Advanced SystemCare from a company called IObit. Click here to download. Look under “Utilities” then “Admin Tools” then “Startup Manager” be a little careful in deleting entries, rather uncheck reboot and make sure your PC runs smoothly.
  3. Defragment – Think “re-organising your filing system”, so your software can get to your data more efficiently in future. Should also help free up more usable space. I like Defraggler or Smart Defrag.
  4. Update, Update, Update! – Drivers, Software and Firmware – Hackers and their products (viruses, worms, trojans, malware) are continuosly working on new ways to infect PC’s and your best defense is ensuring your computer is up-to-date or possibly running an old operating system no-ones interested in any longer. Critical if you’re running Microsoft Windows, Microsoft releases security updates constantly to block the holes found and taken advantage of by hackers.
  5. Remove Un-needed Desktop Icons – Clear the clutter by getting rid of unused shortcuts, files, folders, etc. from your computer’s desktop. When software is installed, shortcuts are frequently put on the desktop, even if you don’t want them. Removing them is as simple as selecting the shortcut and pressing “Del” on your keyboard or right-clicking and selecting “Delete”.
  6. Organize Bookmarks and Favorites “If you have to scroll down to view your entire list of favorites you should really consider creating folders for common topics like News, Sports, Health, Fun Stuff, etc. By keeping your favorites in folders, you’ll be able to access the information you’re looking for quicker than ever.

Updating System Drivers

Sometimes if your PC is not running as it used to or you know it can, it can be down to out dated or incorrect drivers installed. Incorrect drivers will hamper your PC’s performance about as much as trying to run your car on the incorrect fuel.

Drivers are what enable your PC to talk to your hardware. Talk the right language and all is well. The wrong language and confusion or worse occurs. Capisce?

Broadcom – maker of network & bluetooth cards


Realtek – Audio, Wired LAN

Intel – Chipset, Audio, Graphics, WLAN and Wired LAN

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