Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dan's Computer Tip #1: Cleaning Your System

CCleaner Screenshot
I run this everyday.

One of the largest complaints I hear about someone's computer is the speed. Seems no one is ever satisfied with the speed of their devices, especially their automobiles. There are a number of things that can slow down a once speedy system. The one quickest thing a person can do to make their computer system more responsive is to clean it.
I am not talking about a physical cleaning though that is important enough and we will come back to it. What really needs to be done is to keep the file system clean. This can be done in a Windows machine by using the Disk Cleanup utility. Check with the included system documentation to find the correct procedure for the version of Windows operating on the machine in question.
Windows Disk Cleanup utility icon
Disk Cleanup

For most versions of Windows just follow this command path: Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >> Disk Cleanup. By following along with the defaults the cleaning procedure shouldn't be any problem. The person who has difficulties with this may want to consult with a professional or at least with someone more comfortable with their computer system.

For my money,  I prefer to use the CCleaner utility from the Piriform company. It is an amazing little utility. Not only will it clean the Windows system of the temporary files that end up accumulating and slowing down the system, it digs deeper than the Windows Disk Cleanup utility for a more thorough cleaning.

CCleaner utility icon
CCleaner by Piriform
CCleaner also has an option for cleaning up the System Registry along with other utilities such as an Uninstall Tool, Startup Tool, and System Restore tool. These utilities do just what their names suggest. For additional information take a look at the CCleaner Screenshots as well as the CCleaner Help page.

So my recommendation to all of my friends, family, and clients is to install CCleaner and use it on a regular basis. With all of the plugins and tracking by the browsers themselves I usually start off my day with a good system cleaning. Hope this helps.

Another cleaning that needs to be performed on an annual or semi-annual basis is a physical cleaning. With all of the fans and vent ports on a typical PC dust gets pulled into a system and is deposited over the components. Removing the case cover and using compressed air to remove this collection of dust will extend the life of the machine. Upon last check, most manufacturers were recommending a twice a year cleaning.

For those who are uncomfortable opening their computer case, seeking the assistance of a qualified technician is advised. It is possible to remove some of the accumulated dust by directing compressed air through the fan ports and vents. But a more thorough cleaning is recommended and will require opening the case.

There are other techniques for speeding up a personal computer that can be addressed at another time. A system cleaning should help the majority of users with their systems. Have a good day and enjoy a speedier system. See you all later.

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