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January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month

Happy 2020! 

It's a new year, a new decade, and the perfect time for a fresh start. The beginning of the year seems to bring out the best in people. We have new resolve and we're motivated to set goals. If you haven't set your own New Years' resolution yet, we have the perfect idea to share... clean your computer inside and out!

Many of us use digital devices every day. As we complete work tasks, create new documents, download apps and pictures, and multi-task our way through never-ending to-do lists, we also make digital waste along the way. Unlike an overflowing laundry basket, leaves in the yard, or dishes in the sink, digital waste can hide. Chances are your computer needs to be cleaned up. Great news! January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month.

To get ourselves jumpstarted, we interviewed our very own Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder, Scott Lavelle, about his recommendations for cleaning our computers. Join us as we sort through files, review old apps, and break out the compressed air.

Why is it important to keep my computer clean?

"You want your computer to run fast and optimally all the time – cleaning up your computer regularly is a great preventative measure."

What are the signs that my computer needs to be cleaned? 

"There's physical clean out and there's software clean out. Both parts matter. When it's physical, your computer might start making noises. Your fans are labored because they're covered with dust, and they may start whining, squeaking, or grinding. From the physical perspective, you can hear it. You can see what looks like fur on the grates of the front and back of your PC. There are fans that pull air in and fans that blow air out. Just like your heating and air system at home, those grates get covered with dust, thus making the fans inside of the grates collect dust which has to be cleaned off.

"When it comes to software, you may notice things like your hard drive being full, your system running slow or it taking an unusual amount of time for your computer to boot up. Those are immediate signs. Another sign of needing to clean up your computer is if it slows down just in regular use. If you launch an application, it may take a long time for the application to start, seem different from what it was last month, or crash more often.​ These are all signs it's time to clean your computer.

"Often, it's because something is on your system that you're unaware of. It's not just about cleaning stuff you intentionally put on your computer – it's also stuff you find that you don't remember having put there. It shows up in the form of chrome plugins in your browsers, or in applications that have been installed, which we call PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). Those "potentially" unwanted programs are seldom wanted. You rarely see someone apply one on purpose. PUPs are a huge slowdown and should be cleaned regularly."

If my computer is a mess, what's the most important to clean first? 

"We highly recommend not letting your computer get that way in the first place, versus having to constantly react to a problem. Prevention is better than cure. However, if it's already there, make sure you don't have PUPs. That is what is going to affect the performance of your computer the most. They significantly slow down your system and may even make you think you need a new computer."

What tips can you share for cleaning up your computer? 

​1. Regularly Review the applications that are installed.

"You likely install a lot of applications and you use them once then determine they aren't needed, but don't ever remove them. Go to the start button and type "add," and you'll see "add/remove" programs" come up. If you look at that list of programs, you probably won't remember downloading most of them. Go through them and decide what you no longer need."

​2. Know what to delete. 

"If you don't recognize it, it's not necessarily something that doesn't belong there. There are a lot of things that are running on Windows, but it doesn't mean that you can get rid of them all. There is a lot of that stuff that is supposed to be running. It's much like breathing, your heartbeat, and your ability to feel a cold wind on the back of your neck. You don't want that to go away just because you're not necessarily using it right now. That's how that system works."

Want to learn more? Check out this article from CNET for ways to clear up drive space and get a quick performance boost. Need a more in-depth solution, or a solution for your entire company? Our team is here to help. Click here to request more information. 

​3. Reboot your computer frequently. 

"Everyone needs a reset every once in a while, and computers are very similar. It's wise to simply reboot your computer from time to time. This can help your computer run faster and is a great option for easy maintenance."

We hope this inspires you to participate in National Clean Up Your Computer Month. OUR business is making technology work for YOUR business, so if you have any computer maintenance needs, we're here to help. Contact us with any questions, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with new and interesting topics in technology.

Sunset of Windows 7 Coming January 2020