PC’s and laptops can be thought of very much like your auto, you wouldn’t dream of going a year or so without an oil change. Likewise, you shouldn’t use your computer for long periods without doing routine maintenance.
A PC that has not had regular maintenance will slowly grind to a halt, depending on the mileage you put on it. If you follow the steps outlined here, your PC will run just as good as the day you brought it home from the electronics store.
The first thing to check to begin optimizing your system is the task bar in the lower right hand corner of your desktop display. If you see more than say 10 tasks running, you may be exceeding the capacity of your system’s random access memory. Hold your mouse over the icon, right click, and shut down any tasks you do not need.
All Windows-based PC’s are notorious for storing offline web pages on your machine without you even knowing it. The reason this is done is to speed up your internet surfing and other tasks. Over time, this cache of stored pages can become very large. To delete them, click your Computer icon, then right-click on your hard drive, in most cases this is the C drive. Choose Properties, and then choose Disk Cleanup from the options. This utility will tell you exactly how much space will be cleared by this operation, and if you haven’t performed this operation in a while, it could run quite a while.
Now that you have cleaned your hard drive, you still have one more task to perform. Windows operating systems do not store all files contiguously, meaning parts of files can be scattered about the hard drive, which degrades performance. To consolidate all files on your hard drive, again, click the Computer icon, right-click your hard drive, choose Properties, and click on the Tools tab. Here you will find an option called Disk Defragmenter. Click the Disk Defragmenter box and if you have never performed this operation, be prepared to wait for a few hours.
If you perform the clean and defragment jobs on at least a weekly basis, you’ll see immediate improvement in the speed of your machine. Just like your car, your Windows-based PC has to have this normal maintenance to keep you online and productive at home and in the office.