Helping you balance your online life

Nov 5th


Time to Clean the PC

If your computer is running painfully slow, that doesn't mean you have to trash it and run out for a new one. Give it a second chance!

Fast and slow progress loading bar

We have lots of tips to help get your older PC moving faster and more efficiently. If you try all of these and your computer is still crawling along at speeds that make you cringe, then you can look into a replacement. But before you start browsing new models, try these tips on how to clean up and optimize your computer.

Clear the clutter! As computer programs are installed, many machines can get bogged down with unnecessary programs that run all the time, taking up processing power. To de-clutter your computer, check your control panel and delete any start-up items that aren't necessary. Consider installing software to do this automatically at regular intervals. It's okay for some programs to run constantly, like antivirus programs and those you use often.

Keep your computer cool. Several resources recommend cleaning your computer's vents, as dirty ones won't cool it properly, potentially leading to reduced operating efficiency or damaged system components. You can clean your laptop or desktop yourself, or use a service that will walk you through the process over the phone or do it for you.

If you're up for cleaning it yourself, here's how: For laptops, take out the battery and unplug it before removing the panel, then blow compressed air in short bursts into the fan. For desktop machines, use a cloth to wipe down the outside of the machine before opening it up and gently vacuuming the major dust and dirt. Finish by blowing dust out of the fan with compressed air.

Year-round help. Once your computer is cleaned up and optimized, consider using a program that automatically maintains it so your laptop or desktop can retain peak performance all year long.

AOL's Computer Checkup, for example, keeps PCs optimized and secure by repairing file fragments, spyware, outdated drivers and cluttered registries that can lead to slow performance and compromise your security. It will also recover files you accidentally deleted. The program is easy for beginners to run, but plenty powerful for advanced users.

System Mechanic is another user-friendly PC tool that repairs common problems such as slowdowns, crashes and freezes, leading to smoother, quicker and more reliable operation. The software cleans up hard disk clutter for faster performance.