How to clean and organize your computer

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Outside of your phone, your computer is probably the piece of technology you use the most. If for no other reason, don’t worry about it. Not only will it last longer, but it will also work better over time as you keep it. In this tutorial, we will share some tips on how to take care of your computer. Of course, it is impossible to cover this topic from every angle, so consider this guide an introduction more than anything else.

How to clean your computer and peripherals

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Windows computers, especially desktops, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the tips we’ll go through here will help you clean your computer whether you bought it already built or assembled it yourself. If you own a laptop, take a look at ours the latest Mac organization guide. All the steps we describe in detail there work equally well for Windows laptops.

Before cleaning the inside of the computer, start with the display and peripherals. At this stage you only need a little distilled water in a spray bottle and a microfiber cloth. You can buy the first one in a supermarket or do it yourself. And if you don’t already have a microfiber cloth, Amazon sells it convenient 24 packages you can get it for about $ 15. When you have them in your hands, apply water to a clean cloth and wipe the computer screen before switching to the mouse and keyboard. You want to start with your screen to avoid transferring dirt and debris to the board.

It is possible to write a completely separate guide on cleaning keyboards, but the short version is that you will want to pick up a cap extractor and use this to allow you unhindered access to any debris and inflation that has accumulated under your keys. If there is a lot of dirt and debris on the caps, the best option is to soak them in warm water and clean the accumulations with a toothbrush. Give them enough time to dry before reinstalling them on the keyboard.

Back to school cleaners

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

When you’re done, turn off your computer and unplug everything connected to it. You will also want to turn off the power supply unit (PSU) by turning the switch from the outside to the “O” position. Then press the power button several times to discharge any static electricity that you may be carrying.

If at all possible, do most of the steps we will describe outside. The last thing you want to do is go through the problems around cleaning your computer and then let it inhale all that dust again.

After moving the computer, start by removing the side panels. Most modern cases allow you to do this without any tools, but you will need at least one screwdriver for most of the work that we will describe in detail in a moment. As for most screws in a computer, a 4-inch Phillips screwdriver should be all you need. Some components, like your GPU, may contain Torx screws and the like, but for now, don’t worry about them because we won’t disassemble them. If you don’t already have a decent set of screwdrivers and have something like a do-it-yourselfer, the iFixit driver kit is the best option for you. The 16,, 32 i 62-bit kits The sale is a great starting point and will come in handy more than your computer.

If your computer has dust filters, remove them immediately and rinse them in the sink before leaving them to dry. Depending on how long your computer collects dust, you may want to remove some components, such as the GPU, to make all cleaning easier. If you feel comfortable and are removing any of the internal parts for the first time, take a photo of the interior with your phone. The pictures will help you to finally put all the parts in their original place. This is important to do because there is an optimal way to install many components in your computer. For example, you always want to install your GPU in the fastest available PCIe tape. When removing any PCI card, first unscrew its holder and then press the appropriate release on the system board before pulling it out.

Back to school cleaners

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Whether you decide to keep all the internal parts of your computer in place or not, you will need something to blow away all that dust. One option is a can of compressed air, but I like to use a Giottos rocket blower. It is designed to clean the camera sensor and will not damage any components. It is also a one-time purchase. Use everything at hand to remove dust that has accumulated on the computer’s internal components, fans, and grilles. Pay special attention to the heat sinks connected to your computer’s CPU, GPU, chipset, and voltage regulators. They will probably find it most difficult to remove dust in your system thanks to their narrow piles of fins. Moreover, particularly poor accumulation can make them inefficient in cooling these components, which in turn will affect their performance.

When cleaning any exposed PCBs, use an antistatic brush (like this one from OXO) instead of a microfiber cloth. You will avoid damaging any sensitive component on the board. You can pass any non-electronic part with a damp microfiber cloth.

At this point, all you need to do is put everything back in its place. As a last tip, if you can in any way avoid leaving your desktop on the floor, you will end up spending less time cleaning it as it will not be close to all the dust and dirt that accumulates there. If your table or living space settings do not provide the option as well PC tower stand is a cheap but effective way to lift your computer off the ground and help it pull in less garbage.

How to organize storage disks on your computer

CleanMyPC

MacPaw

If it’s been a while since you’ve checked all the software you’ve installed on your computer, the best place to start is in Task Manager. Here you can see how much of your resources your computer devotes to certain processes. Because everyone will have different software installed on their computer, it’s hard to offer comprehensive recommendations, but with Task Manager, you can get an idea of ​​the applications that are slowing down your computer. For most people, there will be two main culprits: bloatware and antivirus software.

If you purchased your computer from a system integrator such as Dell, it will almost certainly contain software that your computer should not be running. So you can safely uninstall these apps to improve performance and save space.

This next tip may be controversial for some, but I believe that as long as you avoid clicking on sketched links and stay away from the dark corners of the Internet, Windows Defender is all you need to protect your computer from most malware that exists. Although there are good antivirus programs like Bitdefender i MalwarebytesMost cost too much for what it offers and will only slow down your computer. If you are not comfortable uninstalling antivirus software, be sure to leave it on your computer.

While in Task Manager, you’ll also want to click the Startup tab to see which programs your computer is running when you turn it on. You can speed up this process by simply limiting that list to as few applications as possible. As for the actual process of deleting any software you don’t need, always uninstall programs from the control panel, as this will leave the least leftovers when all is said and done. If you’ve used Windows for a while, you’ll have the wrong files, folders, and registry entries everywhere. It is possible to remove them manually, but this can take time. Therefore, we recommend using a program like Iolo system mechanic or CleanMy PC to completely clean your system.

If you have mechanical drives installed in your computer, it’s a good idea to get them in the habit of defragmenting them regularly. First run the built-in Defragment and Optimize Drives application and click the “Optimize” button. Depending on the size of the hard drive, this process may take some time. Don’t defragment your SSDs, as you’ll only shorten their lifespan by little or no performance improvements.

How to organize your apps, tabs and other windows

Melbourne, Australia - June 13, 2016: By clicking on the Windows Store icon on Surface Pro 4. It is an application store for Microsoft Windows, which allows users to download applications, games, music, movies and TV shows.

ymgerman via Getty Images

Say what you want about Windows 10, but the fact is that it comes with some of the best window management tools built into the operating system. You don’t need to download additional software to organize your desktop, but there are some settings you can adjust to take even more advantage of its signed Snap functionality.

As you may already know, you can press the Windows and Tab keys at the same time to open the task pane. You can add additional virtual desktops here. If you don’t already use virtual desktops, they’re great for organizing active windows so you don’t have to constantly rearrange them when you’re trying to find a specific one. You can quickly press the Windows key, Ctrl, and the left or right arrow key to move between desktops. To make things even easier, go to the Settings app and to the Multitasking section in the System menu. Under the “Virtual Desktops” heading, switch both settings to “All Desktops.” You can now use the Alt-Tab shortcut or taskbar to switch to any application on any desktop.

When it comes to changing tabs, a lot will depend on the browser you use. But as a decent starting point, all the most popular include a feature that allows you to attach tabs. I use this to keep the websites I visit most often during the work day (in my case Gmail, Trello, and Google Drive) constantly open and at the top of the tab bar. That way, those tabs are never lost among the countless other sites I might open for the story I’m writing. Moreover, in the case of the Lock, the browser I use, I can use a handful of keyboard shortcuts to quickly jump to those tabs.

Finally, we want to emphasize how much customization Windows 10 offers you when it comes to organizing your computer. As just one example, you can right-click the items on the taskbar and the Start menu to put the apps and shortcuts you use most often within easy reach. However, if you want to really explore all the possibilities that Windows 10 offers on that side, sites like Windows Central to have detailed instructions which are an excellent starting point.



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