Spring clean your business – Part 2
In the second of our posts on giving your PC and workspace a spring clean, we’re going to take a look at some of the more technical things you can do to improve the way that your PC runs. Once you’ve gone through all these steps, you’ll be amazed at how much quicker and how much more responsive your machine can be. If you’ve had a look at the previous post, then you’ll already have improved your workstation and given your PC a good clean, so there should be nothing stopping you taking this one step further.
Defrag your hard drive
Nestled in the Windows Start Menu are a number of programmes that can help your PC run faster by cleaning up and streamlining the way it organises data and programmes. The Disk Defragmenter tool does what it says on the tin – it reduces the amount of fragmented data on your computer’s hard drive. While your files might seem organised when looking at it on the computer, behind the scenes the data isn’t necessarily stored in a logical sequence due to the way that computers save and organise data. Defragmentation remedies this, moving data on the hard drive so that relevant pieces are stored in sequence. This can speed up the responsiveness of a hard drive as it doesn’t have to look in multiple locations for different pieces of a particular file.
While there are third-party disk defragmentation tools, Window’s own Disk Defragmenter is easy to use, and gives you a visual representation of the different fragments that make up the data on your hard drive. To use it, go to Accessories on the Start Menu, then go to System Tools and click on it Defragmenter. Then click on the Analyze button to see how badly fragmented your drive is. Once the analysis is finished, you can then tell the programme to start the defragmentation process. Depending on the state of the fragmentation, this process can take a while, so be patient.
Remove unwanted applications and data
One of the simplest ways to remove unwanted data from your computer, and so free up valuable hard drive space, is to use the Windows Disk Cleanup tool. Once it is run, the programme will show you how much space is being taken up by unnecessary files, including temporary internet files and the contents of the Recycle Bin. Simply tick the box next to the data you want to delete, and click OK. This can allow you to free up gigabytes of storage space.
A more involved way to remove data that your computer doesn’t need is to use something like CCleaner to delete software that you no longer use, or which came pre-installed on your computer. Use CCleaner to list every programme installed on your computer, and go through the list to double check the ones you use. You can then delete anything you don’t need, further freeing up system resources. CCleaner can also be used to do a more thorough disk cleanup than the tool that comes with Windows if you’re looking to free up as much space as possible.
Speed up boot times
One of the biggest complaints against older computers is how long it takes them to start up. Many older machines can take minutes from being turned on to actually being usable. While it doesn’t seem like a long time, everyone knows that when you’ve got a busy data ahead of you it can seem like an eternity. One of the main causes of this is multiple programmes trying to load when the computer is booting up. Many programmes do this by default, and you can disable this in individual settings of the programme itself. Skype is especially guilty of this, as is MSN Messenger. These programmes all fight with the OS for a share of the computer’s resources during startup, slowing everything down. CCleaner can be used to analyse which programmes are trying to activate themselves during startup, and allow you to deactivate them. Just be careful to not deactivate something you might need when the computer starts.
In the third and final post of the series, we’ll tackle some harder projects, including adding more RAM, using an SSD to speed up boot times, and ensuring that all of your software is up to date. If you want a hand with any of this, why not get in touch with the team?