Spring is just around the corner, and you know what that means – it’s time for spring cleaning. As you prepare to scrub your home from top to bottom, consider tackling your technology, too. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned out your computer, you may want to add your laptop or desktop to the list of things to declutter. Here are seven tips on spring cleaning your computer.

How to Spring Clean Your Computer at Home

How to spring clean your computer

#1 Make sure your antivirus is still active.

If your computer came with a free trial of an antivirus program, it may have expired. Keep your computer in optimal shape by ensuring your antivirus software is always up to date and active. Scan your computer often for bugs, viruses, or malicious files and remove them as soon as they’re caught to keep your computer running smoothly.

#2 Backup your files.

You don’t want to be caught by surprise when your computer crashes and you’re unable to recover important information or precious photographs. If you aren’t storing backups of your photos, documents, and important files, you’re putting yourself at risk of losing everything if something happens to your computer. Purchase an external hard drive to store duplicate copies of your files, or consider saving everything to the cloud. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box all offer this service for free, so there’s no excuse!

#3 Uninstall programs you aren’t using.

If your computer takes ages to start because it’s busy booting up a million programs, you might want to remove a few. Scroll through your list of installed programs and see when you last used them. Remove any files you clearly don’t need. Be careful and don’t delete anything that looks important, but if you find games you haven’t played in years or out-of-date programs taking up valuable memory, clean them out. You’ll be amazed how much quicker your computer runs after freeing up a considerable chunk of memory.

#4 Clean up your email.

It can be easy to let your inbox get a little out of control – especially if half the stuff you receive each day is spam or simply unimportant. Spend some time sorting through your inbox manually or use a tool like Unroll.Me to cancel any email subscriptions adding clutter, not content, to your email inbox. To make life easier later on, create a few folders to keep your inbox organized and easy to maintain. At the very least, I recommend separate folders for personal correspondence, bills, and work-related emails, but you should structure yours to suit your needs.

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#5 Sort out your desktop.

You should strive to keep your desktop relatively clean and organised. It can be tempting to quickly save files to your desktop when you’re in a rush, but if you spend five extra seconds filling it away in the appropriate place, you (and your computer) will be more organized. Delete any shortcuts you aren’t using, files you haven’t opened in years, or icons taking up clutter.

#6 Update everything.

It’s easy to ignore the updates your computer tries to push, especially if you’re in the middle of something when you’re prompted to pause and reboot. However, it’s important to keep your system up to date. Most updates help protect your computer against vulnerabilities to viruses or add new functionality. Take some time to make sure everything is running on the most recent version.

#7 Don’t forget about the exterior.

You shouldn’t forget to physically clean your computer, too. Clean out your keyboard, wipe down your monitor, and sterilize your mouse or trackpad. If you have a desktop, consider removing the case and using a can of compressed air to clear out the dust. You’ll be amazed how much accumulates, and too much build-up can cause your computer to overheat and crash.

It may be tempting to leave your computer off of your spring-cleaning checklist. But if you’d like to keep it running in tip-top shape, add it to the top of the list! When is the last time you added spring cleaning your computer to your to-do list?

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