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4 Routine Maintenance Cleanings You Should Do on Your PC

The older your computer is, the slower it becomes. There are many reasons for this, and the best way to combat the slowdown is to perform routine maintenance.

That maintenance includes defragmenting your hard drives; cleaning out the registry and temporary files; deleting unused files, duplicates and programs; and performing regular security scans.

Why would any of these things affect performance? It depends on the issue, but for the most part they work to bog down the computer by consuming valuable resources such as storage space, RAM and processing power.

For instance, malware running in the background can use processing power and RAM, slowing down other programs, not to mention it can cause quite a few security issues.

How Can You Keep Your Computer in Good Shape? 

There are a few different maintenance tasks you can perform to keep your computer optimized. If you don’t perform these tasks regularly you may experience performance issues, slowdown or worse. A cleaner PC can improve streaming content, local media playback, game performance, boot times and much more.

1. Defragmenting Your Hard Drive 

A hard drive stores information on a large disc; it’s more complicated than that but it’s easier to envision a spinning disk inside the drive.

As data is stored on the drive, its split into segments and stored wherever there’s an empty spot. In this way, the information and data is spaced all across the surface of the disk in individual fragments. This isn’t a problem because the computer is designed to read this data as a whole – even when it’s fragmented. However, this can affect the performance of the PC, especially when a hard drive is full of fragmented files and data. This can cause the most issues when accessing large files such as movies, games and more.

Defragmenting a hard drive will analyze this data and respace it across the surface of the disk so that the information is closer together.

If you do a lot of downloading, moving files around and deleting, you’ll want to defragment your hard drive regularly. Once a month is a good schedule to follow.

You can use the defragging tool built in to Windows to do this, or you can download software that will do it for you. By design, the stock defragger is rather simple. Third-party tools may include advanced options, and may walk you through the defragmentation process.

2. Cleaning the Registry and Temporary Files 

Think of the computer registry as a comprehensive log; everything you do is recorded here in some form or another. When you uninstall programs and delete files, a lot of times their corresponding registry information is not removed.

Over time, the registry can become bloated and full of dead-end files and information. It’s a good idea to keep this cleaned regularly. However, if you’re not careful, you can do some damage to important system files, which is why it’s important that you find a good registry cleaner you can trust.

We recommend using CCleaner. It will help you safely clean the registry and temporary files – both Internet and system based – that might be bogging down your computer.

Routine Maintenance Cleanings

3. Deleting Unused Files, Programs and Duplicates 

The more you have stored on your computer the slower it’s going to be, period. That’s why it’s always good practice to clean out unused files, programs and duplicates on a regular basis.

If there are software programs sitting around that you never use, uninstall them. If you have files and folders that you rarely access and are not important, delete them.

There are tools that will help you locate duplicate files on your computer too, such as Auslogics Duplicate File Finder.

4. Running Security Software 

Never run a computer that has access to the Internet without virus and malware security software. Believe it or not, your computer can become infected just by visiting a questionable site. Sometimes, virus and malware packages are designed to be stealthy and you’d never know it’s hidden on your computer. Routinely scan your computer for malicious software and files and clean up any surefire offenders.

Keep in mind, sometimes security software can return false positives. That is, they may flag a particular piece of software or file because it seems like a virus or malware package.

If you do not know whether a flagged file is safe or dangerous, do a simple Web search – often you can find the answer you’re looking for. Plus, most security suites offer an information database on files and processes that will tell you if they are dangerous or not.

Now that you know how to keep your PC clean from the inside out, you can do all of your favorite browsing more quickly and safely. 

Do you know any other ways to you keep your PC clean and secure? Tell me in the comments section below! 

Image by Split Shire

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