Cleaning supplies next to a desktop and laptop computer

Spring Break, a Perfect Time to Spring Clean Your Computer

Spring break affords us the opportunity to rest, rejuvenate, and reassess, as well as a chance to spring clean. And what better way to feel a sense of accomplishment than spring cleaning the device you use daily, your computer! Here are a few ways you can make small changes that will greatly improve the performance and security of your computer.

Run that operating system update you’ve been putting off

Just click update, make some lunch, and when you return you’ll have the satisfaction of fixing any known security issues and bugs, and generally keeping your computer up to date and less vulnerable. If you’d like to go one step further, check for available updates on frequently used applications and update your Chrome and/or Firefox browser.

Close your browser tabs

Simply closing your browser and starting fresh will often return your computer to the speedy performance you remember it capable of. If you simply cannot part with your open tabs for concern of losing track of work, reading, research, documents, purchases, etc. you can always bookmark all your tabs in a bookmark folder to open at a future point. Or manage your browser tabs into groups. If you would like to read further on this subject, Doug Willen has written a good post on managing browser tabs for this Information Technology blog.

Making sense of where your files are

Creating a folder called “Desktop mm/dd/yyyy” and moving all your desktop files into the folder is the equivalent of sweeping dirt under your rug. Having a solid organization system and moving your files may help with feeling overwhelmed by the visualization of a messy desktop or the inability to locate files.

Remove unwanted files from your computer

Identifying and removing unwanted files and programs on your computer will help you free up more space on your computer. Programs like Disk Inventory X for Mac and WinDirStat for Windows can help identify which files and programs are gobbling up all your space. 

Turn it off and turn it back on again

If you have no time for anything else, the easiest thing you can do this week is to turn your computer off and turn it back on. This will close out any applications that are draining your processing power, battery life, slowing down your ability to browse the internet or perform simple functions in frequently used applications thus saving you time from waiting for apps to load or simple actions to complete. Restarting your computer on a regular basis will help return your computer to a start up state. It boosts computer performance, flushes ram and computer memory, resets internet connectivity, and clears temporary “temp” files. Setting up a regular schedule to do this, such as the end of every Friday, will help keep your computer optimal and more secure. Just remember to save any documents, files, or projects before shutting down your computer. And remember to turn your computer on if you plan on accessing your computer remotely.

If you have ongoing issues despite these suggestions don’t hesitate to open a ticket at or contact your Academic Technologists to discuss your software or computing needs.