How To Clean Your Computer Files, Programs and Images

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How to Clean Your Computer

Do you have any idea what is on your computer? We’re talking programs, temp files, support files, toolbars,  updates, coupon printer software, registrations, enhancements and even downloads you used once a long time ago. Yeah, us either. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t know even know what half of those are.

You’re not alone.

There are so many files on your computer (likely in the folders you pass over all the time) that are sitting on your hard drive, taking up room and even running in the background. This slows everything down and takes up room.

We’re purging all month and the computer isn’t exempt. If it’s not helping us, it’s hindering us so GET RID OF IT!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A COMPUTER GENIUS

There are so many ways you can get rid of the unnecessary files that take up memory and they are easy. All you have to know is if you have a Mac or a PC. If that question even has you wrinkling your forehead, an apple = Mac. Everything else is a PC. There, that was easy.

We’ll provide multiple SIMPLE ways to clean your hard drive. All resources will be summarized at the end with a list of links (in case you missed them the first time through).

DELETING FILES MANUALLY

A very simple way, and something that should be done on a regular basis, is disk cleanup. It’s already on your computer and it is a simple process. But no matter how simple someone says a task is, there are always questions. We’re famous for having a question that is NEVER found on a list of FAQs. WikiHow walks you through the disk cleanup step-by-step for a PC with images included. Bless their hearts for what they’ve done. Then, there’s the hard drive cleaning and physical cleaning of your PC. Don’t be intimidated by the wording if you’re not the computer savvy type. Just follow the steps and you’ll be just fine. “Shhhh shhhh shhh shhh, there-there, it’s okaaaay”. Hey, it calms my 5-year old son; I figured it would calm you, too.

FILES TO REMOVE AND FILES TO KEEP

Unless you are some computer genius or you built your own, there’s no way to know every little thing about all the programs and files you have on your computer. Some support programs you use on a daily basis while others are parts of a program you may have deleted a long time ago. It’s just taking up space. We’ve run across a FREE program for PC called Should I Remove It? It tells you exactly that. This is like a treasure hunt. Or better yet, a way of reflecting on what you’ve been doing on your computer. Sometimes our downloads get tricky and install a bunch of crap on our computer that we don’t want.

SOFTWARE FOR FILE CLEANUP AND ORGANIZATION

Talk about simple. There’s software you can download for a very reasonable price (none over $30) and even FREE that will constantly run on your computer and organize as you go. When you’re looking for a file, you don’t have to try and remember where you saved it, you just go to the folder you know it should be in and BOOM, it’s there. Think of these programs as a super-assistant. Everything you do on your computer just magically ends up in the right place without any effort on your part (after setup).

If you have a Mac: Hazel is “Automated organization for your Mac”.

  • Hazel allows you to set up rules (tell it what to do), make comments on your files, color-code your files and tell her to archive in a way that works best for your brain. She’s quite a lady, that Hazel. The Hazel software is $28, which is a one-time fee, and it does all the work for you. As far as we know, Hazel is the be-all, end-all for Mac. Nobody seems to want to take the ol’ broad on.

If you have a PC: Belvedere, FileJuggler and DropIt are options.

  • Belvedere allows you to set rules so your files go where you want them but the maximum amount of rules, at last check, was six. If you use the rules wisely, you can organize the rest on your own. Just find your trouble spots (after the disk cleanup) and assign rules to those. Belvedere is FREE.
  • FileJuggler works in a similar way as Belvedere and is being compared to Hazel for Mac (refer to the paragraph right above this one). The FileJuggler software is $25 but they do offer a 30 day free trial so you can test it out.
  • DropIt does claim to have a lot of features and is simple to download. DropIt is also FREE (they do ask for a donation if you feel so inclined – not mandatory). You can customize the options within the software to show you what it’s doing by showing you a progress bar or you can disable it knowing that it’s doing work in the background and you don’t have to deal with it.

CLEANING OUT YOUR EMAIL

This is a whole new project, wouldn’t you agree? Patti walks you through email organization and purging HERE. It’s less of a task than you might think and it’s totally necessary.

FINDING A PLACE FOR PHOTOS AND IMAGES

Photos take up a ton of room on your hard drive. Especially with all the selfies we take in one day. What? Don’t tell me you don’t flip that phone camera around to snap a shot of yourself because you think you owe it to the world. Is that just me? Whoops.

If you sync your phone with your computer, your images have to go somewhere. For iPhone users, you can put those photos on iCloud. I have yet to talk with someone who has plenty of room on iCloud for their images without paying extra. I upgraded one time and refuse to do it again.

If you upload photos from your camera on to your computer, you can literally see your hard drive shrink in memory. I was using DropBox but, again, I was having to continuously upgrade to make enough room for everything. It’s expensive!

Our solution: External hard drive and/or flash drives. It may seem old school for some but we can’t justify spending $20 or more to hold photos we will need access to maybe once – in about 10 years. While it’s not the case for all our photos, it’s the case for most of them.

We’ve purchased an external hard drive which is (in simple terms), a piece of equipment you plug into your computer. Just drag the images over to the folder created by the hard drive. It’s like packing your images in a box and taking it to storage – just digitally.

Viola, you’ve freed space on your computer. You can do the same with flash drives.

Once you’ve completed your necessary steps for cleaning, you can sit back knowing that you’ve eliminated the crap on your computer and you’re ready to add more to it!

tawsha connell

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Tawsha Connell
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Tawsha Connell
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