Have you noticed your computer getting a little sluggish recently? Remember when your computer was new and booting up seemed practically instant compared to your old system, but now it wakes up with a yawn and says “just five more minutes” when you turn it on? It could be your computer just needs a little TLC to make it feel like its old self again.
Simple steps to boost your desktop computer
One of the most common causes of computer slowdown is simply that it just needs a bit of a clean, physically and on the hard drive.
This may sound complicated, but it’s actually very simple and shouldn’t take too much effort. Here’s how to give your computer a good basic clean.
Cleaning your computer’s inner workings
The inside of a computer is an area that often gets neglected. After all, taking the case off and checking out the components can be a bit scary. There’s no need to worry – cleaning dust and fluff away is quick and easy.
Dust and fluff gradually builds up inside your computer over time. They coat all the chips and clog up the fans, meaning the computer can’t keep cool properly. As the computer heats up it won’t work as efficiently. The computer becomes noisier as the fans struggle to keep things cool, putting extra strain on the components.
All you need to clean your computer is a can of compressed air and a lint-free cloth. Additionally, you may want to wear an anti-static wristband to avoid the risk of damaging the electronics if you touch them by mistake.
Important: We strongly advise you not to use a vacuum cleaner to clean the inside of your computer. Vacuum cleaners can produce static electricity that can cause major damage to your computer.
- Remove the computer case
- Following the directions on the can of compressed air, blow away the dust and fluff from the inside of the computer
- Spray from the inside towards the outside
- Hold the fans still while you spray through them to ensure they’re well cleaned
- Blow excess dust of any heatsinks and chips
- Use the lint-free cloth to brush away any remaining dust, being very gentle if you touch any components
- Replace the case once you’ve finished
Cleaning your hard disk
Over time, your computer can accumulate all sorts of bits and pieces you no longer need. All this excess data can start to slow your computer down over time, but a few simple tasks can get the system back up to speed again.
1. Clean up your mailbox
Unless you’re very lucky, you probably get a fair bit of junk mail every day. Your computer probably sorts the worst of it into a separate folder, but it’s worthwhile emptying this out every so often to free up a little space. While you’re at it, now is a good time to go through your mail mailbox and archive or delete any messages you no longer need.
2. Empty the recycle bin and clear out temporary files
All those documents, images and videos that you’ve banished from your computer tend to hang around in the recycle bin until you finally evict them. Your computer will also tend to horde lots of temporary files. Give them their marching orders for a bit of extra space. Here’s how to do it in Windows 10:
- From the Start menu, select Settings
- Choose Storage
- Click on This PC and choose your hard drive
- Select Temporary Files
- Under Recycle Bin, select Empty Recycle Bin
- Under Temporary Files, select Delete Temporary Files
- Under Downloads, select View Downloads and delete any you no longer need
3: Uninstall any programs, apps and games you no longer need
The more space you have on your hard drive, the better it tends to perform. Getting rid of old programs is good practice and frees up resources your computer can use.
- From the Start menu, select Settings
- Choose System and select Apps & Features
- Wait for the list of installed programs to appear
- From here you can see how much space everything takes up
- Delete anything you no longer need, but do double check if you’re not sure what the program is
If you’ve not given your computer a good once-over in a while, you should notice a reasonable performance boost now.
Discover the best way to clean your screen and external computing equipment with our guide on How to clean your computer.
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