The snow is gone, and the flowers are blooming—but no matter how wonderful this may sound and feel, it means it’s that time of the year again: spring cleaning season. While, personally, I’m an anomaly (I actually enjoy cleaning my home, as I can listen to podcasts and audiobooks and just turn my brain off for once.), I figure that a lot of you hate this annual task.
What most don’t realize though is, that giving your PCs, ultrabooks, tablets and laptops a cleaning is critical for keeping them in tip-top shape—and shouldn’t happen just during the springtime but consistently throughout the year. Why?
- Today’s tablets and ultrabooks typically come with a flash-based hard disk. This technology is faster but sports a lot less disk space. For instance, Windows 8 tablets most often come with 64 to 128 GB, but the OS alone (Windows, user accounts, basic program files, recovery partition, etc.) takes up more than 30 GB. You heard about the Surface complaints, right? The fact is, even a few GB of data junk, which can quickly accumulate with regular use, can hurt these devices, the OS and their performance.
- Privacy concerns are a fact of life, and they should be part of any digital spring cleaning. Every Windows version and several third-party programs do not cover up traces and wipe temporary files that may be full of personal information. This includes history lists (used to save the most recently used files) and entire error reports, which can store passwords or other sensitive information. Microsoft has commented on this issue, but in case of an attack on your PC, the less log files and traces on it, the better, right? I also wouldn’t want other users to snoop around in my “recently used files” lists and know what I’ve been up to over the past few days or weeks.
- Application and Windows crashes also may occur due to temporary files in the user and Windows folders. It generally happens when applications try to access or overwrite temporary files that are in use or don’t have enough security privileges. Plus, if disk space gets low on your primary partition :C due to too much data junk, you can expect reliability to be impaired. For example, if PCs are cluttered with temporary files, users may experience difficulties logging into Windows 7 (Event ID 1509) or run into problems installing and even running applications. I’m not saying that cleaning out your hard disk will solve all of your PC problems, but this is an important aspect of spring cleaning that should not be forgotten.
- Users can experience better web browsing as well, if they compress databases, clean out caches and delete old cookies, among other things. Ever had a delay of several seconds when opening a new tab? Or did you ever wonder why a website would return an “HTTP error 500” on one PC, while it would work perfectly fine on another machine? These are just two problems that usually occur due to browser residue and that can be easily resolved with the right spring cleaning techniques.
- Cleaning out data junk doesn’t just involve deleting temporary files and web browser residue, but also old applications and games. By removing these and, in turn, freeing up more disk space, you should see a significant boost in PC performance. That should say it all!
These are only five of the reasons why spring cleaning is essential for PCs, and as I said before, system maintenance is really something that should be done year-round. Stay tuned for a series of blog posts over the next several weeks in which we’ll offer basic tips to revive your system as well as cover more advanced tweaks to make sure that even those hard-to-reach places of your PC are spick and span.