People tend to forget that their computer, just like their phone, can get over crowded. They typically don’t know about the programs built into the computer’s system that are meant to help keep your system fast, clean and up-to-date. The following are programs that the Windows system has that should be run normally to keep your entire computer working like you just got it:
Disk Cleanup searches your entire computer for files and documents that are unnecessary or are backups that your computer made that are no longer needed. It helps free up a lot of space by deleting these files for good off your computer. Don’t worry, these files are not necessary for you to keep on doing what you have been doing, nor will it delete files that you are using.
The main things it deletes are backups, old Windows updates, and anything in the Recycling bin. You can run this program by going to your search bar and typing in “Disk.” It will run the initial program and another dialog box will pop up, where you should select all the check boxes it gives you. Next, you will want to click on the button on the bottom left side of the dialog box named “.” After it runs again, make sure all check boxes are selected and then select “OK;” it’ll ask you to double check that this is what you want, and it is, so make sure to click yes again. This program should be run at least twice a month to keep your system running smoothly, but at the very least, once every other month.
This is one of the main ways to help make your system go faster, but it is best used right before this next program, Defragment and Optimize Drives.
Defragment and Optimize Drives
After you run Disk Cleanup, files all over your disk drive will be removed to help clean up some clutter. The problem with that: there are empty spaces all over your drive that takes the computer time to process that there are no files there to look at. The solution to that is Defragmenter. Think of it this way: you have a cake that you cut up, but people take pieces from all over, the center, the sides, and the in-betweens. Now it is harder for you to see how much is left because everything is spread out. The same goes with a disk. If you are searching for something, it takes the computer longer to find it because it has to search all these empty places too.
With this program, the system finds all the parts that has valid data and moves it closer together into the middle, allowing the system to only go through files that have content rather than everything. You can run this program by going to your search bar and typing in “Defrag.” Be sure to pick the option that has colorful little boxes next to it. A dialog box will open that will list your drives and two options, Analyze and Optimize. You want to Analyze all of your drives first to see if any need Optimization. Once they have been analyzed, you will see a percentage of that disk that is fragmented; anything over 2% must be optimized, but I run it on anything over 0%. This program does take a while since it is looking through all of your system files and determining where in line to place everything to make your system the fastest it can be, but it will be worth it! This system has the option where you can let it run by itself on a weekly basis, but I suggest you go in and manually check it at least once a month.
Even if you have automatic updates on, it isn’t good enough. Windows is constantly sending out updates for its programs to help with any bugs they have found or any vulnerabilities that were made aware to them after the fact. With automatic update, some of these pushed updated will be downloaded immediately, and some a few weeks later. By checking your Windows Update frequently, you ensure that your system is running the newest and best programs possible. You also can lay to rest that it is the most updated, therefore the most secure at this moment in time. It isn’t 100% hacker proof, but it was a lot better than your previous version.
For this program, you will need to go to your “Settings” app, where you will scroll down to “Update & Security.” There, you will click on “Check for Updates.” Depending on when the last time you did this was, it can take a while for the system to find all the new updates and actually download them. I suggest you plug in your computer and make sure it doesn’t fall asleep any time soon. Once it has found everything, make sure to download it all and then restart your computer when needed. I also suggest restarting your computer once more after all downloads are completed, just to be sure that you have a completely updated computer. This should be done at least once a month, if not once a week.
The last program you should be running constantly in the background is Windows Defender. Now, I don’t care how much you paid for that fancy Anti-Malware system or your overpriced spam blocker, no program is better at keeping your computer safe than Windows Defender. An added bonus: it’s free. When you purchase and install any other systems though, they override Windows Defender, blocking it from doing its job and preventing you from turning it back on. This is not good. Windows Defender is the best program you can have for your Windows Computer to keep it protected. I suggest you get rid of whatever program you are using and turn it back on ASAP.
You can find Windows Defender right underneath our Windows Update tab in the “Settings” app. Once on that tab, it will give you a button redirecting you to Windows Defender, opening up a new dialog box. There, you will have a few options to choose from. Now, if nothing needs to be done, it’ll tell you under each module it has, but you should always double check the Virus & Threat Protection Module. All you have to do is click on the module, press “Scan Now,” and let Defender take care of the rest. Depending on how many files are on your computer, it might take some time, but if it finds any threats, it will eliminate them before any harm can come to your computer. This program should be run at least once every other month, if not once a month. It will run in the background of your computer every time you turn it on, which is why you won’t need to go in and check on it repeatedly. It will also notify you if it thinks that your computer has gone too long without a scan.
My next blog will contain the same type of programs that you should run if you own a Mac computer. Macs are completely different from Windows computers, and therefore do not have the same programs, nor same needs. I will explain what programs that have been built in to help fix any Mac problems as well as what to expect with maintenance.
Check out my previous Blogs for more useful tips:
Stay Tech Savy!