A Free DIY Monthly PC Tuneup
I’ve loved computers my whole life. When you love computers, you learn a thing or two along the way. People see that you love computers and use you as their go-to personal IT guy. My favorite question is always “can you make it faster?” While solutions to this problem can vary, I’ve learned that by running a few native programs and third-party applications, you can clean up a computer and deliver that little speed boost people are looking for.
Maintaining your computer is similar to maintaining your car: proper maintenance will prevent future breakdowns, frustration, and costly repairs. Much like you take your car in to the shop every 3,000 miles or six months, you should run a computer tuneup every month to keep your files safe and your computer running at premium performance.
Note: This tune-up is designed for Windows PCs Only
Make sure you set aside the time to complete the tuneup. These processes will take some time, so we advise you spread the whole tuneup out over a few days. Also, run the programs while you are not using your computer, like at night before you go to bed or during the day while you are at work.
I recommend running steps 1 & 2 on day 1, and the rest on day 2.
Depending on what version of Windows you are running, enter the control panel and select the “Performance and Maintenance” tab. Find the option to “Defragment The Hard Drive,” or on Windows XP, to “Rearrange items on your hard disk to make programs run faster.” Run this program. It’s going to take a few hours so go get a cup of coffee, or turn on a good movie and wait for the program to do its job.
As you use your computer, your files are scattered throughout the hard disk. When it comes time for the computer to locate and use those files, it has to search for them. Defragmenting the hard disk condenses the files to a smaller space so the computer doesn’t have such a wide search area; saving you and your computer valuable time.
Step 2: Run Your Computers “Disk Clean Up”
Found in the same control panel tab as the degrafmenting program, your native disk cleanup will find unused and outdated files on the machine and swiftly send them off to cyber heaven. Like spring cleaning for your computer, this process will get rid of clutter and eventually speed up your machine.
Step 3: Run Malwarebytes
Download, install, and run this glorious free program. It’s designed to scan your computer and detect malicious software hell-bent on ruining your next game of Angry Birds. Let the program run a full scan and follow the on-screen prompts to rid yourself of the pesky invaders.
Step 4: Run Spybot Search & Destroy
Similar to Malwarebytes, Spybot Search & Destroy is another open-source, free program designed to target the “bad” files and get rid of them. Install and run the program’s “full scan” and quarantine or delete the files when prompted. A perfect compliment to Malwarebytes, Spybot uses a different algorithm to determine the “bad stuff” so it may pick up on some things missed by previous scans.
Step 5: CCleaner
The final step in the process is to install and run CCleaner. This program clears out all the temporary files that are stored by programs like Internet Explorer. These files are essentially useless to you and take up valuable space on your machine. Run the program and determine exactly what files you are comfortable deleting. It can delete cookies, stored passwords, other stored forms, so mind the check-list of “file types to be deleted” if you have trouble remembering your email password.
That’s it. You did it. No grease, oil, screwdrivers, or headaches. Run through this process once a month to keep your computer clean and running smoothly.
Note: This is not a replacement for security software and will not protect you against security threats. This is intended to tune-up your machine and remove old and outdated files that slow you down.