How To Clean Your Computer From Junk Files To Make It Run Faster
One of the most common questions that many computer owners have is, how to clean my computer to make it run faster? Interestingly enough, PC owners tend to have this question more often than MAC owners. Therefore, I’ll be talking specifically to PC owners who are using computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems.
First, let’s talk a little bit about why people might need to use a free computer cleaner and repair program. Most people don’t realize that computers often start running progressively slower and slower the longer you own them. When you bring your computer home from the store, it will have a freshly installed copy of windows on it. The longer you own and use the computer, the slower it is going to become. This is because you will likely install more software on it as time progresses. In most cases, what ends up happening is you will have many programs installed on your computer that you never actually use. The more software you have installed, the slower your computer is going to be. Therefore, if you are concerned about achieving optimal performance, it’s in your best interest to uninstall software that you don’t use.
When you first buy a computer and bring it home, it will actually come with a bunch of software installed on it that you’ll probably never use. Most of the time, these programs are annoying “trial versions”. The developers are hoping that you’ll try their software and like it so much that you’ll buy it. What actually happens is that most people don’t even realize that this “bloatware” is on their computer and slowing it down.
So, what can you do if you want to make your computer run faster for free? Fortunately for you, there are some really good programs that are 100% free that are designed just for doing this. Follow along and I’ll teach you how to get your system running lightning fast again. It may even run faster than when it was new after performing these steps.
- Step one is a make a backup of any of your personal files so that if something goes wrong, you don’t lose anything that is important to you.
- Next you’ll want to create a restore point in Windows. Microsoft Windows has a feature called “System Restore” that makes it easy to return your system to it’s previous state in the event that one of your changes cause a problem. If you would like to know how to do this, you can click here: How To Create A Restore Point
- Next, you should update your computer’s anti-virus software and run a thorough scan. After I scan my computer using it’s installed virus protection software, I like to use a free online virus scanner called “HouseCall. Running two different types of virus scans provides a bit of extra insurance that your computer is actually clean.
If these scans show that your computer has a virus, none of the steps outlined in this article will work to make your computer run faster. When I run HouseCall, I use the “Thorough scan” setting and this usually takes several hours to complete. Click here to download HouseCall for free.
If these programs find any viruses, they need to be dealt with before you can proceed. How to properly remove viruses is beyond the scope of this article. I’ll be writing an article about how to properly do this and when I do, I’ll provide a link to it here. If these programs don’t find any viruses, it’s time to move onto the next step.
- Next, it’s a good idea to run a check for malware. Malware is often missed by many anti-virus scanners. The program I like to use for these scans is called Malwarebytes and it’s free as well. There is a version that you have to pay for but I always use the free version. Click here to download the free version of Malwarebytes.
After you download the software, you’ll want to install it, run the update to make sure it’s prepared to catch the latest versions of Malware, and then run a “Full” scan. If it doesn’t find anything, you’re ready to move on to the next step. If it does find something, follow the instructions to remove the malware, restart your computer and run the scan again to make sure nothing was missed. If your computer is free from malware, you’re ready to proceed to the next step.
- Next, you should download a free program called CCleaner. Click here to download CClearner. Make sure that you remember where you save it so you will be able to easily find it after the download completes. After the setup file has finished downloading, click on the file to install the software onto your computer. Follow the on screen instructions during the installation process. It’s really pretty self explanatory.
- Now you should close any programs that are running and run the freshly installed CCleaner program on your computer. You’re going to use this software to do a few things. The first is to uninstall programs that you don’t use and don’t plan on using. You’ll find CClearner’s uninstall utility under the “Tools” tab. Alternately, you can uninstall them from within Windows but I typically use CCleaner’s uninstall utility for this since I’m using the program for other steps of this procedure already.
Note that if you don’t know what a program is, don’t uninstall it until you find out what it is and if it’s actually important or not. I often find programs that I don’t recognize. When this happens, I usually just do a Google search to find out if it’s safe to uninstall the mystery program.
- Next, you’ll want to click on the tab marked “Cleaner”. When this tab opens up, you should click on the button that says “Analyze”. This is going to find all of the temporary files and other files that get stored on your computer’s cache that can be safely deleted. You’ll notice that you have full control over what types of files you want to clean from your computer. If you want to leave stored cookies or other files untouched, uncheck the box next to the type of file you want to remain on your computer. After the program has identified files that can be cleaned from your computer, click on the button marked “Run Cleaner”.
- The next step isn’t required but I like to do it. Note that some experts consider it risky to mess with your computer’s registry and advise against doing so. The registry is a file that basically sets the “rules” for how all of the programs on your computer interact with each other. If you mess this file up, you’re computer could crash. Every time you install a program on your computer, the rules for that program are written to your computer’s registry. Unfortunately, when you uninstall a program, these entries aren’t removed from the registry and the file can become full of orphaned or unused registry entries. Some experts say that this can slow your computer down while others say that it won’t. I personally, don’t like unnecessary programs or registry entries on my computer so I choose to use CCleaner to clean my computer’s registry. If you choose to do this, you simply click on the tab marked “Scan For Issues”. This will find problems that CCleaner thinks should be fixed. Next, you click the button marked “Fix Selected Issues” and a window will pop up asking if you would like to save a backup of your registry before the program makes any changes to the registry. I ALWAYS choose “Yes”. After I’ve made the backup of the registry, I click the button marked “Fix All Selected Issues”. I usually perform this step two or three times and each time the software seems to find fewer and fewer errors until it won’t report any remaining errors.
- Next, I like to kill any necessary programs that are loading when I start my computer. It’s not uncommon for programs to automatically load on startup and run in the background of your computers memory. It really bugs me that software developers are sneaky and don’t give users a choice about whether they actually want these programs to load on startup. Fortunately, it’s easy to block these programs from starting by clicking on the “Tools” tab and then on the “Startup” button. When you do this, you’ll see a list of programs that are automatically started when you turn your computer on. To prevent this from happening, simply click on the name of the program and you can choose “Enable”, “Disable”, or “Delete”. Unless you really know what you are doing, I suggest clicking “Disable”. Then, if you don’t like the results, you can always come back and change the setting for any programs to “Enable” later. You will probably see several programs that are running on startup that you don’t recognize. I usually do a Google search for the keyword phrase like, “Is, ‘name of program’ required on startup”? This will usually result in several webpages that tell me what the program is an if it is safe to prevent it from starting. After you’ve completed this step, you should restart your computer. It’s important to know that when your computer restarts, it will probably show a warning message that says something like “Some programs were blocked at startup”. There will also be a box check that says, “Don’t show this warning message again”. I always check it and click “Okay”.
- The last thing you should do is run a defrag utility on your computer. When files are stored on your computer’s hard drive, bits and pieces of data are often scattered all around the drive. The computer has to search the hard drive more frequently when files are fragmented and this results in slower performance. All versions of Windows come with a defrag utility but I don’t like using any of them. Instead, I choose to use a free defrag utility called Auslogics Disk Defrag. Click Here To Download Auslogics Disk Defrag For Free.
After you have downloaded and installed the software, it’s time to run the defrag utility. When the software loads, you’ll see that it lists all of the hard drives on your computer. I like to check the box next to all of the drives when I’m defragging my hard drives. I also click on the down arrow box next to the “Defrag” button and choose the “Defrag & Optimize” option.
- If you’re aiming for optimal performance, you may want to consider making some changes to the way Windows looks. If you don’t have fast computer hardware or a lot of RAM, many of the graphic intensive features of Windows can cause your computer to run slowly. I’m not going to get into all the settings that affect performance in this article since it is already quite long but I will mention that turning off some visual effects that are resource hogs, can drastically improve the performance of your computer. When I write a post about configuring Windows for optimal performance, I’ll link to it here.
Okay, there you have it. The answer to the question of how to clean my computer to make it run faster. I hope this article was helpful to you. If it was, maybe you can thank me by telling your friends about my website on Twitter and Facebook. This would be a big help to me and you could very well be helping your friend by providing them with the solution to their slow running computer. I’m sure they will appreciate you for doing that for them.