How to clean your computer inside and out

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. adults own a computer. Whether you use your device for work or play, it’s always a good time to clean it up — inside and out — to help it run faster and safer.

There are many things you can do to tidy up your devices. To make it easy, we spoke with Geek Squad Agent Derek Meister to learn his top tips.

Here’s what he says you should know.

Start with your desktop

Saving files to your desktop is convenient, but it can get out of hand if you don’t eventually store your files elsewhere. Go through your desktop regularly, delete files you no longer need, and move those you want to keep to a location with more storage space.

Once you delete your old files, don’t forget to empty the Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac).

Internet browsers and downloads

If you download files online, they are likely collecting in a “Downloads” folder. Locate that folder and delete the files you no longer need. Again, you’ll want to empty the Recycle Bin or Trash when you’re done.

In your web browser, bookmarks and favorites can also take up space. Sort through them to remove duplicates or those you no longer need.

Stop apps and programs that start automatically

To disable programs that start automatically on Windows 10, visit Start > Settings > Apps > Startup, or check the icons of apps by clicking on the ^ arrow on your taskbar next to your clock. On Mac OS X, visit System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items and disable any auto-startup programs.

Uninstall unneeded apps and programs

On Windows 10, from the Start menu, search for “Add or remove programs.” This will provide a list of installed programs that you can select and click the Uninstall button to remove. You can even choose to sort by install date to help list your oldest programs. On Mac, you can open the Applications folder from your Finder and either drag unneeded apps to the Trash folder or right-click and choose “Delete Immediately. Remember to empty the Trash.

Clean up that hard drive

With Windows 10, the Storage Sense app automatically removes unneeded temporary system files to free hard drive space. The app can even save old files to a One Drive account online to save even more space. Check that Storage Sense is set up to run automatically on your system by searching for Storage on the Start menu and making sure the app is on.

You can also use disk optimization tools built into both Windows 10 and OS X devices that will search for duplicate files and clean up your hard drive.

Time to upgrade?

Consider adding more memory by replacing your hard drive with a Solid State Drive (SSD), which allows your computer to juggle more data while working on multiple tasks. An SSD is generally much faster at accessing data but tends to be not as great for storing large amounts of data.

Don’t forget to physically clean your computer

Spray your keyboard with canned air to remove dust and debris, and use screen cleaner intended for your device with a microfiber cloth to safely wipe down the screen.

 

Visit or call your nearest Geek Squad Precinct to have a PC Tune-Up service for your Windows or Mac performed.