Cleaning Windows can result in a tremendous performance boost. Here is the main checklist or Checklist for cleaning your Windows computer.
Over time, the computer slows down. Of course, aging hardware plays a role, but for most people, the more common cause is poor maintenance of the operating system.
A clean reinstall of Windows is the last option. Getting rid of all the accumulated junk and starting over instantly makes your machine run faster and smoother.
However, you don’t need to take such drastic steps. Spending some time cleaning Windows can give pretty much the same result. Sure, your five-year-old laptop may never be able to play the latest games, but you’ll still see big improvements.
Here’s the main checklist for how to clean a Windows computer.
Remove Unused Software (Apps)
Let’s start with the obvious. The first step on your way to a clean computer is to remove any old software that you no longer use. If you are not a “diligent eraser”, you will be amazed at how many unnecessary things you have installed on your machine.
To see all the applications on your computer, go to Start > Settings > Apps > Apps and features. Scroll down the list and click Uninstall on anything you don’t need.
Obviously, you need to be careful. Don’t just dump stuff you don’t recognize run a Google search first to make sure it’s safe to delete.
Run Your Antivirus
Next, you have to run your antivirus software. One of the most common causes of a slow computer is a virus, so it’s a great way to clean a Windows PC.
The exact instructions for running a scan vary from app to app, but you should try and find an option called Full Scan, Deep Scan, or something similar. The scan will take longer to complete, but you can rest assured that it will not ignore anything.
Windows 10 offers a Disk Cleanup tool. It has been a part of the Windows operating system for years, and is still just as effective at cleaning up unnecessary files and improving performance.
To run Disk Cleanup, type the name of the application in the Start Menu or open Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Disk Clean-up.
Before running the scan, click Clean up system files. This allows the application to run a more thorough scan by checking Windows Update files and old log files.
Generally, you can delete all files found by the scan. Mark the checkbox next to each result type and click OK. However, note that when you choose to clean Previous Windows installation(s) use options Clean up system files, you will not be able to revert to a previous version of Windows.
Defragment Your Hard Drive
Windows 10 performs disk defragmentation when needed. However, since we’re doing a thorough cleaning of your computer, there’s nothing wrong with not running it manually.
You can find tools Defragment and Optimize Drives by running a search or by opening Control Panel > Administrative Tools.
To use the app, highlight your primary hard drive and click Optimize in the lower right corner of the window.
Remove Old Driver
Windows retains old drivers. The logic behind retention is sound: you’ll never get stuck if a new driver doesn’t work as expected. The offshoot, however, is that your machine is probably full of drivers from devices you stopped using years ago.
Refresh Your Startup List
Any experienced Windows user knows that the operating system lags far behind macOS, Chrome OS, and Linux when it comes to slow boot times.
Usually, this problem is caused by the number of programs Windows tries to run the first time it starts. Most of them are not necessary.
To clear your startup list, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select Task Manager. In the new window, click More Details, then select tab Startup at the top of the screen.
You should now see all the applications Windows is trying to run on boot. To disable the application, highlight the appropriate line, and click Disable.
Clean AppData Folder
When you uninstall an app, you will often find remnants of its former existence scattered around your machine. One of the most common locations is the AppData folder.
By default, the folder is hidden. You can find it at C:Users[Nama User]AppData or by typing %AppData% into Windows search.
Inside the main folder, there are three subfolders: Local, LocalLow, and Roaming. Make sure you open all three folders to find traces of old software. Again, don’t delete anything unless you’re sure it’s safe.
Delete Old Files in Program Files
Another place you’ll often find trace elements of old application files is in the Program Files folder.
On most machines, there are two Program Files folders. You can find it at C:Program Files and C:Program Files (x86).
Like the AppData folder, go through the contents of each folder carefully and delete all files and folders that are no longer in use.
You’ve probably heard stories about registry cleaners, which are too aggressive and can easily damage your machine.
But it is important to keep your registry tidy. Think of it as a library: the bigger the library, the longer it will take you to find what you are looking for. Similarly, the more junk in your registry, the longer it will take Windows to find the entries it needs.
Why not take matters into your own hands? This is easier than it sounds. Run a search regedit and press Enter. Then, go to ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE and ComputerHKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftware. Within each folder, slowly work through the list and delete entries for software you no longer use.
Clear All Cache
Windows 10 is full of cache. Without getting too bogged down in technical jargon, caches are non-permanent files that Windows may need again in the future.
But what if Windows doesn’t need it anymore? You have all the files lying around on your hard drive.
How Do You Clean Your Computer?
So, we have introduced you to some important steps if you want to clean your operating system. By working through all the processes, it is guaranteed that you will see an increase in performance.