Take back control over your windows computer!
Part 1: un-install programs, update Windows, defragment hard drives
This is the first of many more articles to come. I will show you step by step how you can take back control over your windows computer. Just follow my instructions and soon you will be using your computer to work or play again instead of spending hours trying to just keep it running. Best of all, I won’t try to sell you anything. I will show you ways to do many things on your computer for free. As with most instructions, please read the whole thing before doing anything.
Lets start with a little house cleaning. Close all programs on your computer. Click on the “START” button in the bottom left corner, select “Settings”, then “Control Panel”. A new window should have opened up. Double click on “Add/Remove Programs”. This will show you most of the programs installed on your computer. Go through the list and if you find any that you installed, but no longer need or use, just un-install them. This will free up disk space. Some un-install programs will ask you to restart your computer. When you are done go ahead and restart again. Windows loves to be restarted. Be careful that you do not un-install programs you are still using and also do not un-install any Windows updates. Basically, if you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it!
After a clean restart, we will now make sure your computer has the latest updates installed. Click on “START”, then on “Windows Update”. If you do not have Windows Update in the START menu, open Internet Explorer, then click on Tools, then on Windows Update. Follow instructions on the Microsoft Update website and install all available critical updates for your computer. Restart when prompted to do so. Also, select to automatically check for updates. But do not select to automatically download and install them. You always want to be asked before downloading and installing updates! This can take a long time and just let your computer do it’s thing. You can do something else in the meantime. Restart when you are done.
Now that your computer is updated and we’ve also done a little house cleaning, it is time to de-fragment the hard drive. Windows is not very efficient in where it puts stuff on your hard drive. After a while it gets fragmented. But Windows includes a tool to clean that up. You should do this at least once a week if you use your computer on a daily basis. Double-click the “My Computer” icon on the desktop. A new window will open and show you all hard drive, CR ROM drives and other storage devices connected to your computer. In most cases your main hard drive will be labeled the “C:” drive. If it has any other letter, that’s OK too. Right-click on it, then select “Properties”. Another window will open. At the bottom to the right click on “disk cleanup”, then select all check boxes. If you have off-line web pages, do not select them. If you don’t know what they are, you probably have not used that feature and can select it. Then click on “OK” and on “Yes” in the confirmation box. Once this is cleaned up, click on the Tool tab and then on “Defragment now”. In the new window, click on Defragment again and let the computer defragment the hard drive. Depending on the size of your hard drive, this can take several hours, especially if it’s the first time you do this. Just let it run until it is done. Repeat these steps for all other hard drives you have on your computer.
That’s all. You have now deleted un-needed programs, updated Windows and de-fragmented your hard drive. Restart your computer and your computer will be more secure and run better than before. Check back for more articles on how to take back control over your computer.