It’s the beginning of the year, a time of year when many of us start to clean out our closets and clean up our house. It’s also a good idea to clean up your computer. There are a lot of things you can do to clean up your system. Some are simple, some may be a bit more complicated, but they are all something that should be done periodically, so while we’re cleaning up other areas in our lives, why not our technical life as well?

First, take out the trash! OK, not literally, but let’s start by emptying the Recycle Bin. Don’t even look at what is in it. If you haven’t missed it by now, it’s not something you’re going to need. To do this, simply right click on the Recycle Bin, click on Empty Recycle Bin, then confirm when the dialog box pops up.

emptybin

Another thing you can do is clean out your old documents. Just like we need to shred our old bills and papers, it’s not a bad idea to clean out documents that you no longer need. If you, like me, have a 5 year old Christmas list in your documents, it’s probably OK to delete that one. I’m sure there are many more that could be safe to delete. Or if you don’t feel you can delete them, maybe move them to an external drive or a flash drive, or open up a cloud storage account, with Dropbox or One Drive or the many other options out there. All those files are doing is taking up space on your computer.  To delete the file, simply right click, and on the menu that pops up, click delete. You can do the same for pictures.

In a similar fashion, go through your Program list. See if there are old programs that you never use. Maybe you installed a game long ago that you no longer play. Maybe you downloaded some trial software that has expired. Take a look at this list, but be careful not to go too “delete crazy” as there may be some files in there you need that you may not recognize the name of.

uninstall

To see all your programs, go to the Control Panel, then click Programs and Features or  and look for Uninstall a Program (or click directly on Uninstall a program under Programs Windows 8). They are sorted by name by default, but I find it easiest to sort by Date Installed to see how old the program is. To do this, simply click on the words Installed On at the top. This will sort the programs from newest to oldest installations. If you see a program you want to uninstall, simply double click or click on Change/Uninstall at the top. A dialog box will pop up to ask if you are sure, and if you click yes, it will begin the uninstall process.

We’ll continue with more cleaning up suggestions in part 2.

~Audra