How to Spring Clean my Computer

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Because a computer is made up of a software and a hardware component, when talking about spring cleaning of a computer system, it actually means not only ensuring that the system itself is running smoothly but also all components are free from dirt or other physical obstructions that may hamper its overall operation. In almost all instances, computer users are successful in protecting the software component from Trojans, adware, viruses, spyware, and other malicious codes. However, users seldom check the best operation practices of the computer. Similarly, computer users are often not concerned about maintaining the physical cleanliness of the machine similar to that when it was newly bought from the shop.

Materials Needed:
- A can of compressed air
- Screwdriver
- 70% Rubbing alcohol
- Water
- Paper towels or anti-static cloths
- Cotton swabs
- system utilities
- backup storage media
- Operating System upgrade
Step 1
The harsh reality is that many computer users take for granted the process of keeping both hardware and software components clean. To implement hardware component cleaning, proceed to Step 12. To begin software cleaning procedures, go to the next step.
Step 2
The first and most obvious process is to remove clutter from the machine. The term clutter actually references programs on the user’s desktop that are not frequently used. To clean the desktop, simply right click on the icon and choose delete. This will not affect the program itself, only the shortcut link.
Step 3
Check the items loaded by your system during the boot-up process. Click on the 'Start' button and select Run. To open the System Configuration Utility, type the 'msconfig' command in the 'Open' box.
Step 4
Click on the 'Startup' tab and clear the check marks on the boxes that do not really need to be loaded on boot-up. Click on the 'OK' button and restart the machine to apply the changes.
Step 5
Old programs which are no longer needed should be uninstalled because they only take up important storage space. Click on the 'Start' button and select 'Control Panel'. Click on the 'Add/Remove Programs' category.
Step 6
Click on the program to be uninstalled and click on the 'Remove' button. Restart the machine after completing the removal process.
Step 7
Defrag the hard drive by clicking on the 'Start' button, choosing 'All Programs', and selecting 'Accessories'. Click on the 'System Tools' and choose the 'Disk Defragmenter' option. This will reorder the contents of the hard drive to make access to files and programs faster.
Step 8
Another option is to download system utilities that make the previous steps easier by automatically accomplishing them. Some of these tools which can be freely downloaded from the Internet include CCleaner, Glary Utilities, WinPatrol, Regseeker, Evonsoft Computer Repair, Fresh UI, Autoruns, Revo Uninstaller, Wise Registry Cleaner, and Auslogics Disk Defrag among others. These utilities can be configured to periodically clean the system.
Step 9
Clearing the memory cache including the Recycle Bin will free up important system memory as well as storage space. The more memory and hard drive space available for programs to access, the faster and better they will perform.
Step 10
Check processes running in system memory. Under the Microsoft Windows Operating System platform, simultaneously pressing the CTRL, ALT, and DEL keys will bring up the Windows Task Manager. Terminate any unnecessary processes to release allocated resources.
Step 11
Older Operating Systems do not only execute slower but also lack functionalities present in newer versions. Whenever possible, upgrade to the latest Operating System that can be supported by your hardware or keep your current Operating System updated by downloading patches and security releases from its website.
Step 12
In majority of computer systems, heat is the most common cause of component breakdown and system slowdown. Heat is normally attributed to clogged vents and dirty cooling fans which reduce the airflow. Overheating may also lead to software crashes including the dreaded BSoD (Blue Screen of Death). To begin a hardware spring cleaning, unplug the machine from the electric socket.
Step 13
Remove the screws and open the PC case. Make sure that you have an anti-static bracelet and your hands are dry.
Step 14
With the exposed internal components, take a can of compressed air and spray over the interior components holding the can upright and approximately four inches away from the component.