Recent Class on How to Cleanup and Optimize Your (Windows) Computer

Every Tuesday afternoon, from 3:00-4:30pm, I offer a tech class spanning topics of general interest to the public. This week’s tech class was on the subject of how to cleanup and optimize your computer (with a focus on Windows computers), and I admittedly wasn’t too surprised at the high attendance. The average Windows computer user is often beset with slow performance issues due in part to low-end system specs (marketed as a budget-friendly products), system clutter and detritus as a result of use as well as misuse, and even potential malware. The high attendance at the session was clearly an indication of how common the experience is for Windows computer users.

I reviewed and demoed a number of steps that users can take, involving both native as well as 3rd party utilities (all free), to address and potentially remedy performance issues with their computers. Short of these, we covered simple hardware upgrades that their computers might also support to provide better performance for their computers. What follows is an outline of what we covered in the class…

Class Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what can cause a computer to slow down.
  • Know how to uninstall software, programs, or apps.
  • Be able to choose startup programs.
  • Be able to clear up hard drive space on a computer.
  • Understand the role and importance of hardware.

Frequent causes of computer slowdowns:

  • Malware/Viruses
  • Bloatware
  • Missing OS Updates
  • Antiquated hardware
  • Startup Programs
  • Background Apps
  • Harddrive fragmentation (non-SSDs)
  • Preconfigured “eco” settings

Possible Steps to cleanup & optimize…

  • Scan for malware. Recommended scanners…
  • Remove bloatware. Recommended…
  • Run disk utilities. Recommended…
    • Run Windows Check disk utility: Open File Explorer (Former known as Windows Explorer). Click on This PC. Right-click the Hard Disk you wish to run CHKDSK on. Click on Properties > Tools > Check
    • Run Ccleaner (warning: don’t use the registry cleaner option!)
  • Update OS: Windows Logo Key > Type “update” without quotes 
  • Run System File Checker (SFC): Windows Logo Key > Type “cmd” > Right-click on Command Prompt > Select “Run as administrator” > Select Yes > At prompt type “sfc /scannow” without quotes 
  • Review storage usage: Windows Logo Key > Type “storage” > Select “Storage” in System Settings 
  • Install/Run WinDirStat utility and review report results 
  • Remove unnecessary files/folders: E.g., Windows.old. Windows Logo key + R > type “cleanmgr” without quotes 
  • Check Services and disable unnecessary ones: Windows Logo Key + R > Type “Services.msc” without quotes > Check box to “Hide all Microsoft services” to review non-MS services that are running 
  • Install/Run Autoruns: Visit Microsoft’s Technet Support site and download. 
  • Control Notifications: Windows Logo Key > Type “notifications” without quotes 
  • “Nuclear” options…
    • Refresh your PC or Restore your PC: Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery

Run and review useful system reports for more targeted troubleshooting:

  • Run System Reliability Report: Windows Logo Key > Type “reliability” and select “view reliability history”
  • Resource Monitor: Windows Logo Key > Type “resource” without quotes

Possible hardware upgrades…

  • Visit Crucial.com and scan for eligible RAM chip and/or harddrive upgrade/replacement options

Class slideshow: 20170321_How to Cleanup & Optimize Your Computer

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