March 4, 2024

Human with computer

While spring cleaning traditionally means brushing the dust off from winter, it is a good reminder to follow best practices with your devices and data. In addition to helping it run faster, regularly “cleaning” your machine keeps your system secure.

Put things where they belong

It is important to keep the desktop, folders and hard drive of your computer organized. First, audit your existing computer files. It may help to create a ‘“clean-up” folder on your desktop to save files as you audit if you have any less-visited files you are unsure you still need. You can sort through them later or back them up in the cloud and remove them from your computer. If you’re positive you don’t need a file, delete it. 

Next, clean up your computer desktop. Texas A&M University provides employees with several collaboration tools to ensure shared file access whether at work, at home or on the go. It is smart to save your working files on Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive if you ever need them while you are away. Also, on the chance you need a system restore from a previous backup, desktop items are not protected and will be deleted. While you are organizing your desktop, you can also organize your cloud storage.

It may be tempting to keep everything on the desktop; however, organizing files and placing them where they belong is a best practice that helps protect the retention of important data. If you have several program shortcuts, look them over and decide if you still need or use all that software. If you decide to keep the program, think about deleting the shortcut and just accessing it through the taskbar, start menu or launcher.

Transfer large files to an external drive or cloud storage

Large files can take up space in your computer’s hard drive and can affect the speed and efficiency of your machine. Examples of large files include image-heavy presentations, desktop publishing or graphic design files and videos. Consider purchasing an external hard drive to store large files used infrequently. 

If you prefer to keep your files on one device, look into the cloud storage options provided by Technology Services. Many cloud storage platforms include features allowing the user to store files exclusively within the cloud when not accessed after a certain amount of time. Utilizing a cloud service will require proper “data hygiene” and cannot be treated as a catch-all for files, regardless of size.

Clear your browser cache and history

If you are experiencing slow loading times, it could be your cache. Cleaning your browser's cache and temporary internet files regularly helps your computer or device run optimally. Regardless of your preferred browser, clearing your history is easily completed within your settings. In addition, step-by-step instructions are available with a quick internet search if you have never cleared your cache and history.

Don’t forget the recycle bin and downloads folder

Empty your recycling bin regularly. It is essential for maintaining the performance and cleanliness of your computer. When you delete a file, it goes into the recycling bin rather than being permanently erased from your hard drive. Over time, if not emptied, the recycling bin can take up significant space on your computer. The same holds true for the downloads folder. By opening these two folders regularly, you can reclaim valuable storage space and ensure unnecessary files aren’t slowing down your system.