IT Support 101: Housekeeping your Windows laptop
This blog aims to provide an elementary and simple to understand housekeeping techniques you can do on your Windows laptop. Your laptop is slowing down, and the longer you have had it for, it always seems that it is becoming less responsive.
The real reason is, it is a machine, and just like most machines, they do require maintenance. So let us show you a handful of things you can do to refresh your computer and speed things back up. Here we go.
Step One: Defrag your hard drive
Most laptops today still use hard drives or hard disk drives. These are disks that store data using a needle. The needle does the reading and writing. The problem is, the needle needs to find the file you need continually.
Imagine a room filled with boxes. It is more useful for boxes to contain toys next to each other and the boxes that contain books to be next to each other. This helps you find a book much much faster or a toy much faster. Rather than look through every box in the room, you only have to focus on one bunch of boxes. That is what defragmenting your hard drive does. It consolidates all the files one program uses as close to each other as possible. And it does this for many programs. So when you use that program, the needle reads data the program needs efficiently and much faster than if it were to try and find them across all of your disk drives.
Search 'defrag' on the search bar located on your taskbar. And click on the program "Defragment and Optimize Drives". Then click on Optimize to run the defragmentation process on your main drive, which tends to be C: drive. Let it run and restart your computer. That is the first thing you need to do. Now on to the next step.
Step Two: Disk cleanup
Your laptop stores much information and many of that information that accrues over the years are non-essential. For example, temporary internet files, windows update installer and many others that sit there and take up storage space. Trust us; you do not need them. If you are a casual everyday user, even if you are using your laptop for work, this presence of these files play no importance to you. They are expendable.
Search for "clean" this time and open the application "Disk Cleanup". Let it calculate the space and do not panic if it is taking a long time. It can sometimes take up to an hour to calculate the space that is available for cleaning.
Now do not do anything yet. Click on "Clean up system files". Now it calculates the space again, but this time it should be faster than before. Now that is done, you should see even more options than before under "files to delete". Here you can tick on all the boxes.
Click on all of them and click "OK" to proceed. Do not worry about all the files here; they are not necessary. They are not your documents or anything that is of any use to you. So clean way and get rid of them. You may be able to free up tens of gigabytes of space here, which is a lot.
Step three: MSConfig
Now finally we are entering some expert level, almost IT god-level stuff. MSconfig. So mostly what we are doing here is taken a deep dive into all the applications and services that are running in the background. Unbeknownst to many, most of these applications and services are redundant, and all they do is just slow you down. It would help if you had speed, you do not want to be bogged down by some software for no apparent or good reason.
Again go back to the search bar and type "MSConfig" and click on the program to run "System configuration".
Go to the "Services" tab. Here you can see all of the background services that are running. So this might blow your mind, but if you disabled all of these, your computer would still run just fine. Of course, we are not precisely recommending that, since many of these services are simply in preparation for some of the programs that you might use. So it is useful. Things like DHCP clients, Windows audio and Bluetooth service, for example. These are useful to leave running. Since you may want to yank out your Bluetooth headset and turn it on to connect automatically to your laptop, this is what you can do: Click on "manufacturer" as highlighted in the image above. And look through any non-Microsoft manufacturer and disable them. Click on the "Startup" tab now.
Now click on "Open Task Manager".
And you should be able to see a list of programs just like the image here. These are all the programs that start up when your computer starts. It can include programs like Spotify, DropBox and Microsoft One Drive. In any case, many of these programs we know how to open when we need to use them. And it does slow down your computer when it runs in the background. So click on these programs and disable them, one by one of course.
We, of course, do recommend you exercise your better judgement here. If you use Spotify every day, it is best to leave it enabled. But things like iTunes helper and iCloud Services, those you should disable should you not want them popping up for no reason asking you to download something or update something. It is just a colossal waste of time. I mean when you are ready you plug in your iPhone, right?
Step four: Add or remove programs
Program or applications in your laptop are useful, and you do not need many of them. Most of it is merely taking up unnecessary space and is of no gain or use to you. And new Windows or old windows computer have many idle programs sitting there taking up space. Space primarily is used up and decreases the efficiency and speed of your laptop.
Once again, we search. Search is the best. Here we search "add or remove" and click on the system's settings that say "Add or remove programs".
Here you can see a list of every program you installed on your laptop. We recommend that you start from the top and work your way to the bottom and clicking on "uninstall" as you go along. Take your time here, this is housekeeping after all. Uninstall these programs at your discretion, of course, and do them one at a time. Here you find plenty of odd things like games such as Solitaire for example.
If you are not using it, thrash it. Marie Kondo it. Remove what does not spark joy, in this case, .which can be a little time consuming, but all in all this entire housekeeping process should not take that long. The more often you do it, the faster it is to do the next time. Regular housekeeping here is critical. Once a month is excellent and more than good enough. And after you finish, a fresh restart completes the entire process and refresh your laptop.
Now your laptop is left feeling fresh and a little faster. Things load up better and quicker. You have successfully maintained and done some housekeeping on your laptop.