How to Clean Up Your Computer!

If your computer is running slowly and freezing, but you don’t suspect that a virus is at fault, it could be due to a few different reasons.  This article will provide you with a few of the most common reasons that your computer is running slowly, and detail how you can fix the problem.


Reason 1: Your computer is running too much at once

Your computer can only run so many programs and applications at the one time, and if you have too many open at once you will definitely notice the effect on the performance and speed of your computer.  The computer will run very slowly, take a long time to load anything, and possibly even freeze for varying amounts of time.


If you save and close anything you are not using but still have open, you may notice an improvement in speed.  If your computer is getting older, it may be best to have only one or two programs or applications open at the same time.  If you want to see the programs and applications your computer is currently running, you can press the “control”, “alt”, and “delete” (DEL not backspace) buttons, and this will bring up a menu of options on your screen.  You’ll want to select “Task Manager” and this will bring up a popup window on your screen with a list of all the programs your computer is currently running and how much space (memory) they are actively using.  You can use this information to determine if you may have too many things open.


Reason 2: Your computer is too full

If you have too many things on your computer, you will notice an effect on performance.  You can check how much of the available space on your computer that you are using by going into “File Explorer”, clicking on the left side “This PC”, then view under “Devices and Drives” the “(C:)” drive.  If the bar below the name is red, it means your computer is nearing capacity (blue or green is fine), and to see specifically how much free space you have remaining, beneath the bar it will state something like “1GB free of 100GB”.  If your computer is nearing capacity, you may want to delete files that you no longer need from the computer, or place files onto external storage (for example an external disk drive) or cloud storage.  Be very careful with what you want to remove, as you may not be able to get it back.  In addition to unnecessary files, you may have unnecessary programs and applications.


Most of us will own and use the same computer for up to five to ten years.  During this time, we will tend to accumulate a whole host of programs and applications (apps) that we don’t really want or need.  It can increase the speed of your computer to remove some of these unwanted programs and apps, and the first step is to go to “Settings”, “Apps”, “Apps & Features”.  Remove any that you don’t want and no longer use (and don’t need for functionality of the computer).  The second step is to go to “Settings”, “Privacy”, scroll down the left side menu to “Background Apps” and turn off apps that you don’t need running in the background.  This can also assist in conserving power.  You can also go into the control panel and uninstall programs there, as well as C drive to uninstall program files; however, we don’t recommend this unless you are very confident and certain about the programs that you want to remove.


Please note, if you have any doubts as to the necessity of a program or application on your computer, please contact an IT Professional before deleting or removing anything.  If you accidentally delete a system critical program, your computer will stop working completely!  Play it safe, don’t remove anything until you are completely certain that it isn’t necessary for the functionality of your computer or anything that you may need to use ever again.


Reason 3: Your computer needs updates, drivers or firmware

If you are using Windows 10, you will need to ensure that your computer is installing updates properly.  This is very important not only for security, but also for functionality.  Go into “Settings”, “Update and Security”, “Windows Update” and click “Check for Updates”.  Install all updates, then restart your computer to complete the installation.  It is important to check for updates to other programs that are on your computer also, and you can go into “Settings”, “Update and Security”, “Windows Update”, “Advanced Options”, then turn on “Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows” to enable Windows 10 to download other updates as well.  Don’t forget to update web browsers, Windows Office programs, and any other programs that offer updates.


Reason 4: Too many temporary files

Your computer likes to keep records of everything.  Unfortunately, as time goes on, these records stack up and take up increasingly large amounts of space on your computer.  Type into the search bar on your taskbar “Disk Cleanup” and select the desktop app called Disk Cleanup.  This will open a popup window, and here you can check the boxes and click “OK” to delete unwanted temporary files and unnecessary log files on your computer.  The popup box will also tell you how much space you’re saving by deleting these files.


Reason 5: Your computer is too old

Older computers can suffer from a number of issues.  If you aren’t ready to upgrade just yet and want to keep using your older computer, here’s one little trick to keep you going for a while longer.  Windows uses indexing to organise and optimise search functions on your computer, for example, this includes searching for files in File Explorer and searching for emails in Outlook.  If you don’t regularly use any search functions on your computer, it may be worth your while to disable indexing.  If you do regularly use search functions on your computer, it probably isn’t worthwhile for you to do this, as it will dramatically slow down all of your searches.


To turn off indexing, press the Windows key (bottom row of the keyboard) and the “R” key, this will open a popup window, type into the text area “services.msc”, click “OK”.  This will open another popup window, scroll down to “Windows Search”, and double click on it.  This will open the Windows Search Properties, if Service Status shows Running, click “Stop”, then click in the dropdown box for Startup Type and select “Disabled”.  Click “Apply” and then “OK”.  You’ve just disabled the Windows Search Indexing, and you may see an immediate improvement in speed.


Unfortunately, all computers will eventually fail.  Parts get corroded, dirty, and inevitably wear out over time as they age.  Our next blog article, “My Computer is Failing – What Now?” explains in detail what to do if your computer is getting too old to function properly.


If any or all of your business computers are still running slowly after checking through all of these reasons, something else may be at fault and it may be potentially more serious.  We can provide the following services for your business:

  • Professional advice on whether or not you need and are using all of the programs and applications on your computers,
  • Perform a professional clean up and disk defragmentation,
  • We can assist with data storage options,
  • And assess the overall health and approximate lifespan of your computers.

Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to assist in resolving your computing speed and performance issues.

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