Newspaper article The Canadian Press

5 Ways to Clean Up Your Computer and Get It like New Again

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

5 Ways to Clean Up Your Computer and Get It like New Again

Article excerpt

5 ways to get your computer like new again

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TORONTO - At a loss for a New Year's resolution? How about pledging to give a little TLC to the machine you spend so much time using on a daily basis? It doesn't take long for a computer to start showing signs of age -- both in ways that are visible and invisible -- but you can revive it to nearly good as new with just a few steps.

Here are five easy ways to clean up your computer in the year ahead:

1. Get rid of useless programs.

The longer you've had your computer, the longer you've been accumulating software -- a tiny little program here, a gigantic multi-gigabyte behemoth there -- that steals hard drive space and can contribute to slower system performance. So scan through all the programs on your computer and be brazen about uninstalling anything that you never, ever use. If you think you might need an application in the future but want to get rid of it for now, make sure you have the program's install discs as a backup or that you can freely download it from the web.

2. Do a thorough scan for viruses and malware.

As our hard drives get larger, the process of scanning for viruses gets longer and more annoying, sometimes slowing down your computer considerably, so it's no wonder that many users just hit cancel when it's time for their regular automated checkup. If virus scanning always seems to get in the way, then change your software's schedule to begin at a more convenient time, maybe right before bed.

And Apple users may want to try a virus scanner -- there are numerous free options made by the likes of avast!, Bitdefender and Sophos -- if they haven't already. Earlier this year, a major malware outbreak hit Macs, ending Apple's sales pitch that only Windows-based PCs could be hit by viruses. Apple computers are still far less likely to catch a virus, but it may be time to start getting in the habit of routine searches.

3. Backup.

Make 2013 the year you get better about protecting your valuable data. If you're not regularly backing up the files you really don't want to lose -- important documents, digital photos and video, downloaded music and movies -- consider yourself lucky that you haven't suffered a catastrophic loss and get to work. …

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