Spring clean your PC: 3 easy ways to boost speed and security

Just like your home, your computer can benefit from a good spring cleaning! Here are 3 easy ways to refresh your PC and keep it running smoothly and securely:

1. Fight the Filth: Remove Viruses and Malware

Think of your computer like a fortress. Viruses and malware are like invaders trying to steal your information or hold your files hostage. A industry report found some nasty threats lurking online:

  • Ransomware: This nasty program encrypts your files, demanding a ransom to unlock them. It’s become common and easy to use, making it a real danger.
  • Botnets: These are networks of hijacked devices that can be used to launch attacks or generate fake ad clicks. With the growth of the “Internet of Things” (smart devices), botnets are becoming even more powerful.
  • Ad fraud: Some malware inflates ad revenue by simulating clicks on websites. This can be sneaky and hard to detect.

So how do you fight back? Here are your weapons:

  • Safe Mode for File Deletion: Windows Safe Mode lets you boot up your computer with only the most basic programs running. This can help you avoid malware that tries to load at startup. In Safe Mode, you can use the Disk Cleanup utility to safely delete temporary files that might harbor malware. Important: Stay offline while doing this cleanup to avoid encountering more malware.
  • Install a Tune-Up Utility: Think of this as a digital toolbox for your PC. A good tune-up utility can clean out junk files, patch vulnerabilities in your software, and even improve your computer’s speed. Many tune-up utilities can also remove malware, giving your defenses an extra layer of protection.

2. Spring Cleaning Boost: Back Up Your Data

If your PC is seriously sluggish or infected, you might consider a more drastic approach: a clean reinstall of your operating system (like Windows). This wipes the slate clean, but it’s important to back up your data first! Here are some options:

  • Local Backup: Use an external hard drive for a fast and cost-effective way to back up your files. Hard drive prices have dropped significantly, making this a good choice.
  • Cloud Backup: This option stores your data on a remote server managed by a service provider. Cloud backup is often safer than a local backup because it’s stored offsite, and many cloud storage solutions offer more space than a typical hard drive. Consider a scalable, automated solution for worry-free backup.

3. Keep it Clean All Year Round

Just like your physical spring cleaning, regular maintenance is key to keeping your PC healthy and secure. Here are some habits to develop:

  • Update Regularly: Install the latest updates for your operating system and software as soon as they become available. These updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities that malware can exploit.
  • Be Cautious Online: Don’t click on suspicious links or attachments in emails, and be careful about what websites you visit.
  • Scan Regularly: Use a reputable antivirus and anti-malware program to scan your computer for threats on a regular basis.

By following these tips, you can give your PC a spring cleaning that will boost its speed and security, keeping it healthy and protected all year round.