The Web Worker Daily blog reminds us that today is National Clean Out Your Computer Day. Want to do some serious PC cleaning but not sure where to start? We’ve got your back, so let’s get with the purging.
Photo by karindalziel.
Clean Out Your Inbox
One of the first places you’ll probably find bogged down with a bunch of junk you don’t need is your email inbox. If you use Gmail to manage your email, follow these simple steps to free up loads of space without losing important emails. Once you’ve wrestled your inbox into submission, assign a Trusted Trio of three folders to keep your inbox clean: Follow Up, Archive, and Hold.
Daring productivity mavens may want to take this tip a step further and try out our own Gina Trapani’s idea and eliminate the Archive folder:
Gmail comes with an archive area built in: click on the “All Mail” link to see it. When you archive a message in Gmail (either by clicking the Archive button, selecting the menu option or hitting the E key), the message gets yanked out of your inbox and archived in the “All Mail” view. That means there’s no need for the Trusted Trio’s Archive folder. That is, you only need Follow Up and Hold buckets.
Give Your Filesystem a Thorough Once-Over
Now that your inbox is looking svelte, let’s move on to the stuff going on around your PC’s system. If you think your computer may have been infected with some form of malware but have been putting off hunting it down, you’ll want to find a solid, deep-cleaning malware-removal tool and get rid of what ails you. Once you’ve done that, get a better deadbolt on your system with some reliable antivirus software. (In fact, around Lifehacker HQ we tend to think that Windows security tools are pretty great.)
Even after you’ve removed the malware, you may still have quite a few uninstalled-then-forgotten apps sitting around cluttering up your system. To completely get rid of your unwanted apps, try previously mentioned Revo Uninstaller (we’re happy with the free version).
Once you’ve relieved your PC of all the garbage that was weighing it down, make sure it stays in pristine condition with an automated Windows file cleaner like CCleaner (which you can automate to run nightly), and keep your oft-used folders organized with Adam Pash’s Belvedere. Use Windows’ built-in Scheduled Tasks, to make sure your hard drive performs regular health maintenance tasks.
Clean Out Your Hardware Dust Bunnies
Now that your PC’s brain is purring along, let’s give its innards a good cleaning, too. Don’t be intimidated at the thought of opening its case to evacuate PC dust bunnies. Grab a Phillips head screw driver, some mechanical oil with a dropper, and a can of compressed air, then get to work.
These are a few of our favorite ways for cleaning up our PCs in honor of National Clean Out Your Computer Day, but we know you’ve got your own great suggestions, too, so let’s hear them in the comments.