Spring Cleaning: How to Refresh Your Computer – Part Two B Digital Cleaning Continued

A Full Hard Drive

Image Credit: William Hook

Did you know that the official first day of Spring in 2013 is March 20? That date is quickly approaching. Get your computer ready for spring, and the rest of the year, with these helpful spring cleaning tips.

This article is part of a larger series. If you haven’t read Part I about physically cleaning the outside of your computer, please do so now. And, after you’ve done that, please read Part II A, which focuses on digital cleaning. This post is the second half of the digital cleaning portion of the series.

Okay, so by now the outside of your computer is sparkling, and your desktop and important folders look a lot cleaner. Now you’re ready to finish digitally cleaning your computer.

Run AntiVirus and Malware Scans

Once you’ve cleaned up all your main storage areas, it’s time to begin a deeper cleaning of the hard drive.

Open your antivirus program, and run a full scan (not a quick scan). Make sure to have the program check for malware too, if this is a separate option (many scanners do both).

If you don’t have an antivirus program, you could try a free one. AVG-Free is popular, or you could use a free online scanning program such as House Call.

Just remember to run one antivirus program at a time. In fact, if you have more than one installed on your system, uninstall the one you use less frequently. Having more than one antivirus installed can make each program think that the other is a virus, and can cause more harm than good. Some people believe that multiple virus programs mean better virus

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protection, but this is simply not the case.

If any malicious results are returned, quarantine and clean those items.

Free Up Disk Space

Once you have done all of this, it is time to free up some disk space. Over time, the file allocation system on a hard drive gets a little cluttered. Running a scan disk and defrag allows your computer to declutter and better organize the data on the drive, so that it can access information more quickly.

Note: You’ll want to perform these steps when you don’t need to use the computer, as this will require some downtime for the scans to run and correct any errors.

If you have a newer OS, such as Windows 7 or 8, click Start and type in Defrag. Click the item that appears.

To manually access these settings in Windows 7, XP, or Vista, go to Computer, then Right Click on your C: Drive. Click on Properties, and then click on the Tools tab.

Here you will see two buttons – Error-Checking Check Now, and Defragment Now. Run through the Error Checking first to check and correct system errors, bad sectors, and more.

Once that’s done, run the Disk Defragmenter. When prompted, select the C: drive, and choose Defragment Disk.

And that’s it. Once these scans are done, your computer should be running faster than before. And, as an added bonus, you should be able to find documents, pictures, and other items more easily because everything is now organized and in its place.

Stay tuned for the final portion of this series where we explore ways to clean up your hardware to get your computer running faster than ever before.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you have a clean, fast running computer. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

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