A house that is not regularly cleaned up and vacuumed is not a pleasant home to live in. The same applies to your computer. If you do not provide regular maintenance, it will become a messy mess and Windows will eventually start to run less well. We admit, maintenance is sometimes quite a bit of work, but Windows needs to reinstall a lot more.
Tip 01: Clean up physically
In this article, we focus entirely on the software-based cleaning of your computer, or: from Windows. However, we cannot write this article without also paying attention to the hardware of your PC. You can keep Windows completely tidy, but if the inside of your PC is a dust nest, then that also affects the performance of your PC. The cooling can become clogged, for example, causing components to overheat and even melt. There is not much that is needed to make sure that your graphics card is dead.
These things can easily be prevented by just opening the cupboard once in a while (for instance twice a year) and removing some dust. Is that too much work, then you can also just hold the vacuum cleaner against the fan at the back of your pc to remove dust. That does not do much for the dust in your PC itself, but in any case, the fan can run properly. Remember that a graphics card can also have a cooling that can become blocked by dust.
Tip 02: Desktop folders
We have all seen the horror pictures on the internet of people who have thousands of icons on their desktop. Probably it has not come to that kind of scenes, but the chances are that there are quite a few icons on your desktop. Interestingly, in this context, iPad and iPhone users have complained for a long time about the lack of the ability to drag icons into folders. That functionality has been there for some years now. But the possibility of making folders on the desktop of the PC is hardly ever used. Sin, because it is childishly simple. Right-click the Desktop, clicks New and then clicks Folder. Give the relevant folder a name and press Enter.
You can now simply drag the icons of programs and files to the folder and thus create a structure. The great thing about this is that once you’ve done this. An added icon by a new program suddenly becomes very noticeable, making you more likely to drag it into a folder. In this way, keeping the Desktop tidy up will almost take care of itself.
With the help of smart wallpapers, you can easily segment your desktop
Tip 03: Smart wallpapers
Some solutions are as simple as they are brilliant. Your desktop background is one whole; it is not possible to create special surfaces for certain apps. You can, however, pretend, with segmented desktop backgrounds. These wallpapers have different surfaces with a text frame. When you use such a desktop background, the desktop is suddenly dividable into various segments. Those segments are of course only visual, but that does not matter, because as long as you place your desktop icons neatly within these segments, this visual framing works great.
You can, of course, make these desktop backgrounds yourself in a photo editing program, but of course, there are always people who have already done this work for you. You will find an interesting collection of smart wallpapers here. The nice thing about this site is that the backgrounds are provided with segments with space for headers (such as productivity, games, etc.), but that these texts have not yet been filled in. So you can do that yourself in a photo editing program, just as convenient for you.
Tip 04: Start menu
There was a time when we did not have much influence on the appearance of the Start menu. That is different in Windows 10, but we all use far too little of it. Click once on the Start menu, and take a good look at it. You will see that there are all kinds of parts that you do not use, while parts you do use are nowhere to be seen, and that while it is so easy to adjust that menu.
Then, you adjust the titles of the segments by clicking on the icon with the two dashes next to the title. After this, you can remove a tile that you do not use by right-clicking on the tile in question and clicking on Detach from Start. You can add a program by searching for the program in the Start menu, right-clicking on the icon found and choosing “On Start”. You can then easily drag the icon to the desired segment. If you drag the icon onto another icon, you will see a new folder. By right-clicking on a tile and choosing Resize, you can make the tile more prominent.
A program that you no longer use, of course, remove immediately, right? No? Understandable, we do not do. However, it is definitely worth checking occasionally in the list of installed programs to see if there is anything you can delete (the answer is almost always yes). The reason is simple: programs that you do not use are the unnecessary ballast. And remember, if you ever need the program again, you can install it again.
Tip 05: Quick access
The taskbar in Windows 10 is also a part that you can completely decorate to your own taste. When you right-click on the taskbar you immediately see all kinds of options that you can switch off. This makes the taskbar quieter. When you click Taskbar settings, you have much more control over the appearance and behavior of the taskbar. What are the primarily interesting thing in for this article, however, is the possibility to add Quick access to the taskbar. Search for Explorer in the Start menu, right-click on the icon and choose Attach to the taskbar. Now when you click on the icon of the Windows Explorer with your right mouse button, a quick access menu appears with all the folders. This saves you a lot of searching for work and ensures that you can work a lot more efficiently.
Virtual desktops provide peace and overview on your PC
Tip 06: Virtual desktop
Finally, a final visual aid to make sure that Windows becomes more organize and organize for you. Since the release of Windows 10, we have finally also been able to use virtual desktops in Windows (Mac and Linux have already had that option for much longer). This function is super convenient when you do a lot of different things. For example, if you want to open Facebook but do not want you to be distracted when you are doing other things. Then, this function comes in handy.
You can create various desktops for that, where you decide which window will be placed on which desktop. So you can have a desktop with all kinds of productivity apps open, a desktop with things you do during your break and so on. Task view, right next to the Start button). At the bottom, you see a desktop, and on the right a plus sign. Click to add more desktops. You can now easily drag the open windows to the desired desktop.
Tip 07: External storage
We have given you tips about keeping Windows organized and organized, but that does not make your computer faster. That is why some tips now help you to improve the performance of your computer. The first, and in our opinion a very important tip, is the use of external storage. By storing files on an external hard disk, the system disk is relieved. And, that improves performance (although this applies especially to the traditional hard disk and less to SSD).
Windows will always have enough space to do what it should do. While you can access the files on your external drive just as easily as if they had been on the system disk. External storage also offers another big advantage: your data becomes portable. You can easily connect the drive to another PC. And, if your PC has to crash once, your files will not be locked in a system that you can no longer access. It does not necessarily have to be an external drive: storing on a NAS (a network drive) also works great, but is more expensive and requires more management.
Tip 08: Doubles
You may have to deal with a full and slow hard disk. But, you really have no idea how and where you can gain space. The chance is more than the present that you have a large number of duplicate files on your hard drive, and that is, of course, a waste of space.
Unfortunately, Windows does not have a good built-in method for detecting duplicate files, but fortunately, there are useful programs for this. A program that we have been using for years is Fast Duplicate File Finder. Once you have installed this free program. Drag the folder you want to scan for duplicates (can also be just C) to the Folders panel. Then choose Method whether you are looking for identical files (i.e. name and content) or, for example, files that are identical, but whose name is slightly different (that will take longer). After the scan, you immediately see how much space these files occupy. You can then easily remove the duplicates.
Windows knows it messes up and therefore has a built-in disk cleanup
Tip 09: Disk cleanup
The first step towards solving a problem is to realize that you have a problem. Microsoft knows that too, and the company does notice that Windows itself can sometimes make a decent mess of it. That is why Windows now comes with a program. And, that is specifically designed to clean up your hard drive. You can find this program by Disk Cleanup typing in the Start menu, and clicking on the found icon.
A small window will now appear that immediately shows what Windows can still do. If you have just done this, this will probably be a few MBs. But, if you run this program for the first time or after a long time, you will see that you can book up to ten gigabytes of space savings with one click of the mouse. Tick the items you want to delete and then click OK. You do not have to worry about throwing away parts that are essential to the functioning of Windows. Those parts are not shown in this window.
Tip 10: Defragment
“You have to defragment your hard disk”: it used to be the magical sense of the PC expert to help people with a PC that suddenly became slower. Nowadays we hardly have to do that anymore, not (only) because It is necessary to improve the technology, but also because Windows 10 automatically performs a defragmentation session on a weekly basis. Having said that, we want to tell you that there is no harm in taking your own hand from time to time and defragmenting the hard drive yourself if you feel that it does not function optimally.
You do this by right-clicking in the Explorer on the C: drive and click on Properties. In the window that appears, click on Extra and then on Optimize. You will then see an overview of when a defragmentation and optimization session was last performed. And, by clicking on the Optimize button you can start such a session immediately. Do not expect miracles, but it can just make the difference.
Tip 11: PC Decrapifier
If we still have to clean up and optimize, nothing is better than just going through the broom. The PC Decrapifier program allows you to do this. It is not such an extensive program as CCleaner (which we will discuss below). But, it is a program to quickly get rid of unwanted or unnecessary programs. The program does not require installation; when you downloaded it (Note that you do not accidentally click on the Google Ads download banner, which is misleading) and start, the program scans your computer immediately.
What is interesting about PC Decrapifier is that this program makes a division into three categories. Programs that it recommends to remove, programs with a question mark and programs that other users delete them regularly. After the scan, you can click through each category to see which programs you want to remove. Super fast and efficient, though we recommend you to the category Everything Else (i.e. programs that other users often remove) equally well to pay attention. Because, Office is also there between jokes.
If we have to optimize, nothing is good then just go on with the broom
Tip 12: CCleaner
CCleaner calls itself the most popular cleaning software in the world. And, although we find it quite a statement, we do know that we have been using this software for years. When you have downloaded and started the program, you immediately end up in an extensive interface. The Cleaner component searches for files in Windows that can be deleted (such as temporary files and cookies).
Registry searches for errors and duplications in the Register. The Windows Registry is the heart of Windows, errors in it can cause many problems. Finally, you will find under the heading Tools sorts of useful extra tools to clean up your systems, such as disk analysis, an overview of browser plug-ins and a tool to detect duplicate files (albeit not as extensively as the program we have discussed before). The basic version of CCleaner is free and allows you to do the most important things. If you really want to turn your system inside out, you have to take the Professional version for 14.95 Euros. But, so far we have not really felt that need at CCleaner.
Tip 13: Automatic start
Elsewhere in this article, you will read a tip about removing programs that you no longer use. Sometimes programs start automatically when you start Windows, which affects the performance of the operating system. You do not have to delete such programs completely; you can also simply ensure that they are no longer starting automatically when Windows starts. To do this, type Task Manager in the Start menu, and then click Task Manager. In the window that appears, click Startup. You will now see an overview of all programs that start automatically when Windows starts. And, probably that a lot more than you thought.
Click on the programs that you want to prevent to start automatically and then click Disable. The program simply remains on your computer, but only starts now if you want to. Note, however, what you disable, there are probably also programs that are useful (when you disable Dropbox, you also disable synchronization for example).