I’m always on a quest to be as organized as I can possibly be. Unfortunately, having a PC as I do does not make it so. It’s easy to let things get out of hand, and before you know it, your system crashes. It can be very frustrating. You don’t need a new computer. You just need to know how to keep things under control. Some of us might need more help than others, but I can get you started now. I will be following these steps right along with you, because my system is bogged down too, just like yours could be. This article is the first in a series. This is the major premise, and in subsequent articles I will show you how to “zoom in” and organize your music, photos, documents, etc.
Clean Up and Optimize
The first part of the process, and probably one of the most important would be to run Disk Cleanup. It can be found under Start>Accessories>System Tools. Click Disk Cleanup. Alternatively, just type “cleanmgr.exe.” in the search or run box. Here, you can choose what files you want to delete. Don’t worry, if it’s not safe to delete, it won’t be listed as an option. Before you delete everything, I recommend checking your recycle bin for anything you may have accidentally deleted or are not sure about. When you are ready, just click “OK”. Depending on what there is to clean up, it could take a anywhere from a few seconds to the better part of an hour. Even so, you can move on to other things while it’s working. Trust me, if you’re low on space, this can be a true life saver.
Next, you’ll want to defragment your drive. If you don’t know what that means, it’s when Windows moves your files around on your drive to make things more efficient and smooth. Don’t worry though. You won’t actually see a difference in the location of your files, it’s just that sectors have been moved around on the drive to allow for the greatest efficiency. The way to do this is to Start>Accessories>System Tools and click Disk Defragmenter, or, in the search or run dialogue type in defrag.exe. In Vista and and Windows 7, your system is probably scheduled to defrag itself weekly, which is great. Some prefer to do this step manually however. However you choose to do it though, you can pick the drives you want to defrag by using the “Select Volmes” option. Even if you have a scheduled defrag, you can do this anytime you want to.
I have a lot of programs on my computer, so it’s easy for my system to get bogged down. If you’re like me, sometimes you download a program you only need to use once, or you install something that wasn’t what you really needed at all. Sometimes, you forget to uninstall these programs, or you do uninstall them, but they leave behind traces in your registry. That’s where a third party uninstaller comes in handy. I like to use Revo Uninstaller. It’s not free, but they have a trial, and there are plenty of free third party uninstallers and program managers at www.download.com . The great thing about Revo, though, is that you can select the thoroughness of your uninstall. I won’t go through all of the features of this program, but it’s relatively straightforward and simple. Eliminating unwanted programs (including their entries in your registry) is also great for clearing up valued real estate on your drive and optimizing efficiency.
It’s a Desktop, not a Grab Bag
Having a desktop full of icons is not only annoying to look at, but it also drags down the performance of your PC. Take time to put files on your desktop in the right place; documents in your Documents folder, etc, etc. If there are files that you store on your desktop that you open frequently, create a folder on your desktop, name it whatever you want, and place shortcuts to those files in this folder, that way, you can keep everything in its place, while keeping them readily accessible.
Once you’ve done all of that, you’re ready to organize your home directory. Stay tuned!