Technology is constantly evolving, so unless your computer is brand new it probably isn’t running as fast as it used to. PC’s fill up quickly with documents, music, videos, programs, games, downloads and more. Unfortunately, your PC can also become inundated with viruses and spyware. Not only that, but the inside of your computer can become clogged with dust, dirt, and grime that can cause overheating and other technical problems that will slow down your computer.

Periodic maintenance of your PC can go a long way in securing the longevity of your computer while easing the burden of costly computer repairs or replacements. With a few simple steps, you can easily keep your PC running like new instead of resorting to buying a new one.

To help make the process easy and accessible for any PC user, from novice to expert, we’ve compiled a series of user-friendly tips and tricks for maximizing your computer’s efficiency while guaranteeing a longer life span for your PC.

Digital Housekeeping:

Disc Check is a quick and highly effective way to clean up and de-clutter you hard drive so that you can access your programs and files more quickly. Computers with Windows Vista and newer operating systems provide simple ways to check utilities and update your PC. By doing so, you will remove the errors that are the result of power failures and crashes. Simply follow these steps every few months to make sure the drive is functioning properly:

  1. Click on My Computer
  2. Right click on C Drive
  3. Choose Properties
  4. Select the Tools tab
  5. Under Error Checking, click the Check Now button
  6. Check all of the boxes
  7. Click Start

Disc Cleanup is a useful tool for freeing up space on your hard drive by removing the unnecessary files that slowly clog up your PC. You may not realize it, but as you browse the internet your computer collects thousands of temporary files meant to help websites load more quickly; however, these files can create clutter over time. We recommend cleaning them out once a month by following these easy steps:

  1. Click on My Computer
  2. Right click on your C Drive
  3. Choose Properties
  4. Select Disc Cleanup

Disc Defragmentor works to improve your hard drive performance and speed by piecing together files that break apart over time. As you use your computer, files are constantly added, removed, and changed, causing them to eventually break into chunks of data. As a result, fragmentation occurs, creating more work for your hard drive. The Disc Defragmentor works against this process, piecing those fragments back together so that your hard drive can load data and files more quickly. We recommend using this tool once a month, preferably after you are done using your computer for the day as it can take over an hour to complete.Please take note, on PC's running Windows 7 or higher, the Disk Deframentor runs once a week automatically. Going through this process isn't necessary anymore, but if you feel you need to run it you may still do so. It is also important to note that if you have a Solid State Drive (SSD), you need not run the defragmentor, and contrary to rumors the disk defragmentor won't harm or negatively affect an SSD, as it runs TRIM commands that will optimize the SSD and help keep it running fast. To learn more, read this article.

  1. Click on My Computer
  2. Right click on C Drive
  3. Select Properties
  4. Choose the Tools tab
  5. Under Defragmentation click Defragment Now

Automatic Updates are the most efficient way to see if your Windows XP is updated. Our favorite part about automatic updates is that it checks with Microsoft on its own and lets you know when something needs to be updated. Turning on your automatic updates takes just three easy steps:

  1. Click Start and then click Control Panel
  2. Click Automatic Updates
  3. Choose Automatic

Update Windows if you're running Windows Vista or earlier, we recommend you upgrade to a newer version of windows. Microsoft has officially dropped mainline support of Vista in April of 2017. They are currently still providing security updates, but it's still recommended to upgrade. Windows XP support has been completely dropped, Microsoft will no longer be releasing security updates for it.

Recycle bins are one way to clean up your PC but be aware that simply dropping unwanted files in the Recycling Bin does not eliminate them completely. To protect you against accidentally deleting valuable files, files remain in the Recycle Bin and continue to take up space until you empty the bin. Going one step further and emptying the Recycling Bin helps free space for the files that you do want to keep.

Overwhelmed? Don’t worry we have more easy fixes up our sleeves, CCleaner a great tool for cleaning out temporary files, internet caches, and other program files automatically!

The most common and obvious cause of computer sluggishness are viruses, malware and spyware. Just as technology evolves so too do viruses and spyware. It’s not enough to have computer security software anymore, it’s equally as important to keep your security systems updated.

A few anti virus, malware and spyware tools we recommend are Avira, Malwarebytes Anti Malware, Spybot Search & Destroy. Scanning your PC once a month should keep it healthy and running like new!

Physical cleaning

On Desktop computers you'll want to unplug everything, and move the machine to an empty spot. Next you'll want to carefully open the case and clean off the dust on the fans, compressed air makes this a bit easier. If you plan on doing any deeper cleaning, be aware of what you're touching and how you're cleaning each part as the inner workings are more fragile, and accidentally moving a part or unplugging a wire can cause problems. Keeping those temps low will help keep your computer running smoothly!

For Laptops it's a bit more of a difficult process, and it's recommended to look at the user manual to get a clear idea on how to open your laptop to clean out the fan. In some cases it's impossible to do so without breaking warranty, or damaging the case, so be careful and make sure to read the manual!