A cluttered computer can prevent you from enjoying your digital life to the fullest. For example, maybe you’ve read our handy guide on how to restore old family photos. If you’re ready to digitize iconic moments from your family history, a Mac or PC full of junk could crack those plans.
In fact, even a surplus of junk can get in the way of your professional life. If you work from home, you probably need to save, create, and upload files from time to time. The messier your computer is, the longer your work takes – which makes your days even more difficult.
If your Mac or PC isn’t working as well as before, grab your digital feather duster to clean out the dust in your system. Not sure where to start? No worries. Here are some easy ways to kickstart the process.
1. Remove Sensitive Files from Your Desktop or Folder
When we delete a file on our Mac or PC, we assume that it is gone forever. In fact, it’s just been sent to the Trash or Recycle Bin. It does not delete these files permanently.
In fact, one could still see these files months later. Think private documents and the treasure trove of sensitive data you’re leaving behind. Someone can peek through all this stuff – right under your nose.
Plus, if you haven’t emptied your bin for a while, it can slow down your computer. Think of it as the digital equivalent of your physical trash can: The contents are cleaned out only when you take the extra step of emptying them. Tap or click here to permanently erase your personal data.
If you want to back up your important files before deleting them, we recommend a secure cloud service like IDrive for anything you want to keep safe. It is much more secure than storing it locally.
The good news: iDrive Komando is a sponsor of the show, so we’ve just snagged a special deal just for listeners and readers like you. Save 90% when you sign up for IDrive.com and use promo code “KIM” at checkout.
2. Remove programs you don’t need or use anymore
First, it only makes sense to remove programs that you no longer use. Many apps can take up a ton of space, so cleaning them up leaves more room for your interest.
Secondly, outdated apps can really put you at risk. If you haven’t been using a particular app, you might not have known that an update has surfaced to address security flaws. By keeping this old program on your computer, you are leaving a door open for hackers to try and steal your personal data.
Here’s how you can detect and uninstall space-consuming apps with ease.
3. Make sure you are using the latest OS
Although we can associate with older versions of operating systems, not updating them is bad for your computer’s health. Cyber security experts work hard to roll out new patches to block well-known bugs. By failing to update, you are leaving critical security features vulnerable.
That’s why you should always download the latest OS updates.
4. Take a look at what’s going on in the background
Checking your Task Manager and Activity Monitor is a good way to see if anything funky is going on in the background of your computer. If you see anything you don’t recognize, Google the name. That could be totally fine, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
To do this, go to Data Usage Meter or Data Monitor. Compare the amount of data you are using now with the amount you took in earlier.
If you see small changes, this is normal. Sudden spikes are what you want to see. If you notice that your activity has increased, even though you are not using it more often, it is a good gift that you are infected.
This is also true for your smartphone. Tap or click here to check data usage on your iPhone or Android.
If you want to see recent activity, press the Windows button. Type events in the search bar, and then click Event Viewer.
From there, you can view your recent computer activity. If you see activity on a day when you weren’t using your computer, it’s a sign that someone may have broken into your system.
5. Encrypt Your Hard Drive
If you want to add an extra layer of security to your computer, try encrypting your hard drive. It turns your private data into unreadable code that only you can understand. Basically, you use a specific key or password to unscramble the data. This means you are the only one who can access it – no creepy third parties allowed!
Fortunately, Windows comes with a built-in encryption tool called BitLocker.