Spring cleaning tips for Windows 10
JUST as you tidy up your home for Chinese New Year, your computer can probably do with some decluttering too.
Here is a handy guide on how to clean up, declutter and speed up your Windows PC, with a focus on Windows 10.
1. RUN A VIRUS AND MALWARE SCAN
This scan will make sure that your Windows installation is free from nasty bugs. Avira Free Antivirus, for instance, is free and scans for both viruses and malware. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is another free app, though it focuses solely on removing malware.
2. UNINSTALL OLD PROGRAMMES
This helps to clear disk space. Simply click on Start, then "All apps" and right-click on any programme you want to junk and choose "Uninstall".
You can also right-click on the Start button and choose "Programs and Features". Select an app to uninstall it. To remove Windows Store apps and traditional desktop apps, go to Settings >System, then the "Apps & Features" page, which lists both kinds of apps.
3. CLEAR OUT OLD LARGE FILES
Find out which files are taking up the most space with Windows 10's built-in storage analyser.
Go to Settings >System >Storage and choose a drive.
Windows will show you a list of categories and folders with their sizes.
See if there are any large, unused files you can delete.
If you want something more powerful, SpaceSniffer is a freeware alternative that does the same thing.
Another option is ShowMan, which works with any Windows system and analyses folder content graphically.
4. GET RID OF JUNK
Use Windows' Disk Cleanup utility to delete unnecessary files on your hard drive.
Go to Settings >Control Panel. Type "Admin" in the Search box and choose Administrative Tools >Disk Cleanup.
Select the drive you want to clean, then tap "OK".
Then, pick the files you want to delete, tap "OK" followed by "Delete files".
To delete system files, click "Clean up system files".
5. STOP APPS FROM SLOWING DOWN SYSTEM START-UP
After installation, some apps will set themselves to launch at the same time you boot up your system. This can be convenient - it reduces load time for commonly used programmes - but it can also slow down your start-up process.
To see which programmes load at start-up, press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC on Windows 10. Switch to the "Startup" tab. Right-click to disable any that you do not use.
Windows 10 will even tell you which programmes have the biggest impact on start-up speed.
6. DEFRAG YOUR PC
An oldie but a goldie method to speed up your Windows machine is to defrag the hard drive, except if you are using an SSD (solid state drive).
If you are, Windows 7, 8 and 10 should automatically stop you from doing so.
If you are running Windows 7 and above on a hard disk, your system will be set to run defrag automatically on a regular basis, so you will not need to do so manually.
But if you have turned this feature off or if you usually switch your PC off every time you finish using it, Windows might not have defragged your hard disk in a while, in which case you can do it manually.
Click on the Search button, or go to Settings, and search for "Disk Defragmenter". Select the disk you want to defrag.
Disk Defragmenter will tell you when the disk was last defragged and whether or not you should optimise it now.
If you are unsure, click "Analyse disk" to check.
If the level of fragmentation on the disk in the "Last Run" column is above 10 per cent, it is recommended that you defrag the disk.
7. CLEAN UP YOUR WINDOWS 10 TASKBAR
Windows 10's taskbar comes with new icons but you can turn them off for a cleaner look.
If you do not use virtual desktops (known as Task View on Windows 10), right-click the taskbar and uncheck the "Show Task View" button.
To reduce Cortana's large search box into an icon, select Search and check "Show Cortana icon".
If you do not want to use Cortana, check "Hidden" to remove it from the taskbar.
To bring Task View or Cortana back, simply right-click on the taskbar and check the same options again.
If you have pinned items on the taskbar which you no longer use, right-click the item and choose "Unpin from taskbar".
8. TURN OFF ALL NOTIFICATIONS
Finally, turn off those annoying notifications so you can focus on your work.
Go to Settings >System >Notifications & actions, and turn them off there.