It’s time to declutter and clean your technology.
It’s that time of year when the grass is becoming green again, and we can go outside without bundling up before hand. This also is the time of year when we get around to cleaning out our garages and the clutter that somehow accumulates all winter.
There should be a technology aspect to Spring Cleaning as well, because our technology can pick up as much clutter as our garages do!
Here are 10 Tech Spring Cleaning Tips.
Recycle Old Hardware
If you’re like me, you have old chargers, phone cabling, computers and other computer accessories just taking up space in a closet somewhere. It’s hard to get rid of because some of those items (especially monitors, chargers, and computers) shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. But face the facts that those items will not magically become useful again and get ride of them. So what do you do with old computer and other IT equipment? Most computer repair shops will accept older electronics and recycle them for you free of charge. Best Buy allows you to recycle up to 3 large items per day. Another option besides recycling is to donate working hardware to organizations like Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Look Through Installed Programs
Take a moment to look at the programs installed on your computer. Chances are, there are a couple that were installed and used only once, and never used since. It’s not necessarily detrimental to have those programs installed, but in the spring cleaning spirit, remove those unused apps. They may have been running in the background or at startup and you may see a slight speed up in your computer by removing them.
Look Through Installed Apps
We just looked at the programs installed on our computer, but don’t forget your smartphone! Apps on your smartphone take up space which usually isn’t expandable. It’s a great idea to go through the apps installed on your phone and uninstall the ones you don’t use anymore.
Delete or Save What’s in Your Download Folder
Our downloads folders tend to be overflowing with pictures, documents, and other files that we use only once. Go through your downloads folder and delete what isn’t needed anymore. Then, take what’s left over and sort it into a spot in your Documents or Pictures folder.
Make a Backup of Your Documents and Pictures
Most people only have one copy of their important data, like family pictures or saved documents. Purchase an external harddrive to use only for backups and save a copy of what’s on your computer to it. Label the harddrive with the date and a short description so in the future it’s easy to know what’s on it.
Empty Recycle Bin
The recycle bin doesn’t empty itself. Those files are not completely gone (and therefore still taking up space) until you empty it. To do this, you just right click on the recycle bin icon and choose “Empty”.
Check for Updates and Install Them
Windows 10 is really good about keeping itself up to date, and so is Windows 7 to a degree. The applications you run may not be a diligent and only check for updates when they are opened. Take some time to open up your less used applications and let them check for updates.
Run an Antivirus Scan
Whether you use Windows Defender or a 3rd party antivirus like TrendMicro or Webroot, you should manually run a scan and let it complete. Take action on any items found.
Dust Your Electronics
Dust likes to accumulate, especially near fan intake slots. Dust your computer case, behind your monitor(s), behind your TV, and the outside of any electronic equipment. This will do wonders for their ability to keep air circulating, which in turn extends their lifespan. If you have compressed air, you can use it to blow air through the fan slots on laptops and desktop computers; however you should probably do that outside or in a non-carpeted location so that the dust that comes out can be cleaned up easily.
Clean Your Keyboard
It’s amazing how keyboards collect stray hair and dust bunnies better than most couch undersides! To clean you keyboard, unplug it from your computer and hold it upside down. Shake it back and forth and lightly tap the backside to loosen any debris that may be hiding between/behind the keys. You can carefully use compressed air to clean out amongst the keys.