Spring-clean your PC

If you’re stuck with an age­ing, slow PC don’t rush to dump it – here are a few things you can do to make the best of a bad sit­u­a­tion

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BEEN sit­ting with the same PC for a few years? Chances are it’s just not what it used to be even though its run­ning Win­dows 10. But fear not – this doesn’t mean you have to fork out big bucks for a new ma­chine. We have a few tricks to try to speed things up.


When last did you clear out pics, docs and PDFs you’ll never need again? Hint: start with your Down­loads folder. Also go through your Doc­u­ments, Pic­tures, Videos and Mu­sic fold­ers – the lat­ter two of­ten con­tain big files. Then head on over to your Re­cy­cle Bin and empty that out too.


There’s a rea­son Disk Cleanup is still a fea­ture on Win­dows. The trusty old process finds un­wanted junk and files you prob­a­bly had no idea were there – such as tem­po­rary files, off­line web pages and in­staller files. To use it in Win­dows 10, sim­ply open your Start menu and type Disk Cleanup.

On other PCs, from the Start menu choose All Pro­grams > Ac­ces­sories> Sys­tem Tools > Disk Cleanup. Once you have the dia­logue box open, sim­ply se­lect Clean Up Sys­tem Files.


These days new ma­chines of­ten come loaded with apps, pro­grams and games you re­ally don’t need. To re­move these in Win­dows 10, right-click on the Start icon on the bot­tom left of your screen, se­lect Apps and Fea­tures. Then just click on the pro­grams you don’t need and se­lect Unin­stall.

In older op­er­at­ing sys­tems click Start > Con­trol Panel > Pro­grams. Un­der Pro­grams, click on the ones you want to be rid of and se­lect Unin­stall.

Be care­ful here though – you might not recognise sev­eral pro­grams that are im­por­tant for ba­sic func­tions. If you’re un­cer­tain, google the pro­gram to find out what it does.


If your com­puter takes ages to start up when you turn it on it could be be­cause you have too many pro­grams trying to be­gin at startup. To change this on Win­dows 10, hit Con­trol + Shift + Es­cape to open Task Man­ager. Un­der the Startup tab se­lect the pro­grams you don’t need to run im­me­di­ately and hit Dis­able.

On older sys­tems you’ll need to use a tool called MSCon­fig so the process is a lit­tle trick­ier – but don’t panic! To run MSCon­fig, open the Start menu and type mscon­fig.exe in the Search box. When it pops up in your re­sults, se­lect mscon­fig.exe.

From there it’s sim­ple! Se­lect the Startup tab and choose pro­grams to dis­able.


“De­frag­men­ta­tion” sounds a lit­tle omi­nous but it’s a pretty sim­ple process. As you add and delete files, gaps are cre­ated on your hard drive where new data can be writ­ten. But some­times files won’t fit neatly into these gaps so they’re frag­mented and writ­ten into mul­ti­ple ar­eas on the drive. This can slow your PC down be­cause it has to scan all those ar­eas to read one file. De­frag­ment­ing your hard drive will fix this right up!

Your com­puter should be run­ning a disk de­frag­men­ta­tion weekly but you can check up on this by click­ing on Start > Ac­ces­sories > Sys­tem Tools > Disk De­frag­menter on older sys­tems or just open your Start menu and type “defrag”.

Once you have the dia­logue box open, se­lect Drive and click An­a­lyse. If the disk is more than 10% frag­mented, it’s worth run­ning the defrag by click­ing the De­frag­ment Disk but­ton. This process can take a while so if you can, let it run overnight.


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