Computer Maintenance 101-Cleaning and Defragmenting your Hard Drive

Computer Health

I hate to think of all of the millions of people in this world who neglect the health of their computers. Computers, just like most everything else on this vast, blue planet, have a life span. In time, they will ultimately meet their demise.

We have become SO dependent upon our technology (being able to connect with others, run businesses, study for classes/go to college, watch tutorials on anything and everything of interest, as well as for entertainment) that we assume our devices will always be dependable and work when we need them to. Wrong! If you want your computer to continue to work efficiently, a little doctoring is required.

Prior to each daily shut down, I run scans on my machine to lengthen its life cycle. I need this baby to work as long as possible! A new PC is NOT an expense that I can fork out right now!

So, today I am going to walk you through the steps on how to properly clean your hard drive, as well as how to go about defragging your pc. These are actions that can, and should be done each day.

I, personally, go very few places on the web, so I can generally get away with only defragmenting my hard drive once a week. But, if you are jumping from site to site, clicking on this and that, and saving/deleting on a consistent basis, then you should run defrag daily. Basically, all of these images/audio files/video files and so on that you save onto your computer are “assigned” their own special spot on your hard drive. When you decide that you’re tired of whatever that item is and you delete it, it then becomes an “empty slot”. To eliminate these empty pockets, and speed up the process of finding items on your pc, you tell the computer to run a defrag and compress all of those empty pockets together to give room for new content. It’s kind of like a trash compactor; it starts out massive, and winds up as a teeny tiny cube. Thus, making room and speeding things up. It’s a win, win baby!

So, let’s quit talking it over, and get to it…

Cleaning your Hard Drive:

  • Click on your Windows (bottom, left corner) button
  • Open up Control Panel
  • Click on System and Security
  • Under Administrative Tools, click on “Free up Disk Space”
  • You should receive a prompt asking you to select which drive you wish to clean.   Select your “C” drive, and hit okay.
  • A little box will pop up and tell you that disk cleanup is calculating how much space you will be able to free up. Let it run until the next prompt. If you’ve never done this, this step could take a while.
  • A new prompt box will pop up and give you the option to select which files you wish to delete. If you are unsure, just leave it alone. I generally select them all, but if you are a gamer for example, you might not want to lose your game statistics. Just be cautious. Once you have decided, click the OK button. Another prompt box will appear on your screen confirming that you wish to PERMANENTLY delete these files. Select Delete Files.

That’s it! Super easy, right?!

How to Defragment your Hard Drive:

  • Click on your Windows (bottom, left corner) button
  • Open up Control Panel
  • Click on System and Security
  • Under Administrative Tools, click on “Defragment your hard drive”
  • If you get a pop up box that says that “Disk Defragmenter was scheduled using another program,” hit on the button that says “Remove Settings.” If not, disregard this step.
  • In the disk defragmenter box you will be given several options. Choose which is best for you. You can configure a schedule, which is pointless if your computer isn’t on, but useful if you leave it running. I, personally, prefer to run this operation manually. You also have the option to either “Analyze Disk” or “Defragment Disk.” You can choose which of your drives to perform this operation on. In most cases, your “C” drive is the hard drive that is primarily in use.
  • Plan on running these overnight, especially if you’ve never done it. It is VERY time consuming!

There you have it. By implementing these two actions, you will increase the life of your trusty pc. If you have a virus program installed on your computer, nine times out of ten, they have additional scans that you can use to maintain the health of your pc. My Norton has Scans (online/offline), Live Updates, History Sweeps, Identity Protection, Backup/Restoration of Files, Disk Optimization, File Cleanup, Diagnostic Manager, Startup Manager, and more. This is a fabulous tool for keeping a happy and healthy computer AND user! A lot of habits in life are bad, but this is a great one to start!

Do you have any additional PC Cleaning tools/tips to add?

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