Today’s the day: Clean out your computer

Entertainment

Today is the day set aside for your cleaning up your digital devices.

National “Clean Out Your Computer Day” promotes cleaning out files that should have been dealt with years ago.

“For most folks, it’s going to be multimedia files,” says Nicholas De Leon of Consumer Reports.  “Photos, videos, maybe old MP3s that you downloaded in the day.” 

“People download a lot of stuff off the internet, and it just sits there in this one big folder, taking up enormous amounts of space,” notes Lifewire.com’s Lance Ulanoff.

Getting rid of those files doesn’t necessarily mean deleting them forever.  You can just move them to an external hard drive or USB storage stick.

Experts say you should also take the time to clean the outside of your computer and phone as well.  Canned air will help remove the gunk in your keyboard and special wipes are available to clean your screens.

Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Back up your hard drive

Step one should be making a copy of your hard drive and storing it in a safe location, either on a cloud service or physical storage (like an external hard drive or thumb drive). This way your files are protected if something should ever happen to your computer, and you can get rid of unwanted files on your computer, without worrying that you might need them later. You already have them tucked away should you want to get them back.

Sort though old photos and videos

This one should be obvious. Does that folder of 1,500 photos from your junior year of high school bring you joy? Probably not. Take some time and sort through the music, photos, and video saved on your computer’s hard drive. You can easily reclaim gigabytes of storage this way.

Install and run an antivirus software

An anti-virus software is an important defense against the dangerous elements of the internet trying to muck up your computer. Get some kind of anti-virus software, paid or free versions are available, and give your hard drive a scan.

Delete unused programs

That game you downloaded three years ago, but have never once opened? Get rid of it. Look through the programs and apps downloaded onto your computer and decide if you REALLY need them. When was the last time you used them? You can always re-download the program later in the unlikely event that specific use case should re-occur.

Run a disk cleanup and defragmenter

After you sort through your media and software, consider running a disk cleanup and disk defragmenter scan to help optimize your hard drive space. These tools are built into Windows systems (simply search “Disk Cleanup” or “Defragmenter” in the Windows search bar), but you may need to look up and download a program to do this on a Mac computer.

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