Just as your car requires regular tune-ups, your computer needs frequently scheduled maintenance sessions. Unlike your car however, you can’t go six months between “oil changes”–your computer needs far more frequent maintenance. To keep your machine running fast (that was the point of spending all that money on the latest and greatest, wasn’t it?) here’s what you should be doing weekly.
Take out the trash. Forgetting to empty your trash bin can impede performance when the bin contains the movie a friend sent you via Sendspace, plus the pictures of your cruise, and other random files that accrue there. There’s a difference between putting something in the trash, and actually having it hauled away, just as in the real world. Until you actually empty the trash, it’s full. It’s not taken out or handled. It’s clogging your speedster. If you use a photo viewer such as iPhoto, remember to empty that trash, too. Deleted pictures that you thought were gone forever end up in this trash can, which is separate from the main computer trash. You can quickly accrue many gigs of performance-robbing trashed files. And you thought taking out one trash can a week was enough!
If you use a Mac, this important step will save you some headaches. Head to your Finder, click Applications, scroll down to Utilities, select Disk Utility, then select your hard drive. After that, click “repair disk permissions.” This short and sweet step is key to prying malicious code out of your system and improving performance quickly. If you use a PC, be sure to defragment regularly. The way that Microsoft’s software is arranged, when you delete or move many files (think about the last time you sorted through your last batch of 500 pictures and how many didn’t make the cut) gaps are left behind. Defragmenting closes the gaps, restoring speed immediately.