Friday, March 20, 2009

Clean Sweep

Today is the first day of spring. The weather is getting warmer, the trees and flowers are blooming, and the birds are returning. Unfortunately, that means that Spring Cleaning time is here too. Although I enjoy the clean house that comes as a result of the work, I don't enjoy the process itself. This afternoon I eased into the project by spring cleaning my computer.

This article by Microsoft was my inspiration. My computer was running a little slow; when I read that a spring cleaning could help my computer run faster I was interested. When I realized I could do this cleaning from the comfort of my chair, I was all ready to start!

These are the steps I took:
  • Got rid of the clutter--I removed some extra icons from the taskbar, and cleaned up the unused icons on my desktop.
  • Removed old programs--I didn't even know I could do this. On the Control Panel, there's an Add or Remove Programs command. The benchmark in the article was to get rid of a program that hadn't been used in over a year. I wasn't quite that brave (I'm always afraid I'm going to remove something vital and my computer will stop running), but I got rid of several things, including an obsolete photo-organizing program. When I was done, I also removed the files from the Recycle Bin, along with the hundreds of others that were there; I obviously hadn't cleaned that out in a long time!

  • Defragmented the computer--I actually do this on a monthly basis, thanks to an Outlook reminder, so I virtuously patted myself of the back and moved on to the next task.

  • Upgraded the operating system--My computer used to tell me when there were Windows updates, but I guess it stopped doing that, because there were two packs that needed to be installed.
  • Cleared the cache--I started out by trying to delete selected files, but that was taking too long so I completely cleaned out the whole thing. I'll have to look up all the passwords on the sites that used to "remember" me, but it's worth it to get rid of all the junk cookies.
  • Assessed the memory and tools--After I did all the work, I rebooted the computer. The computer flew through the shutdown process, and every program opened extremely quickly. I checked the amount of free space on the hard drive (there's plenty) and made sure the mouse and keyboard had fresh batteries, so they wouldn't stop working in the middle of a job.
When I had completed all the recommended jobs, I added one of my own. I changed the display settings, using a springlike wallpaper that will make me smile every time I see it!

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