6 Last-Minute Tips for Spring Cleaning Your PC

6 Last-Minute Tips for Spring Cleaning Your PC
By Tibor Schiemann, President and Managing Partner,
TuneUp

Temporary files, Junk files, Cookies etc. we all heard such words and we know that such files consumes lots of space in our space. It is our job to clean up this mess from your PC so that we can have a clean PC for our work. Even if you bought a new PC few weeks ago, it may be cluttered with several gigabytes (GBs) of junk and hundreds of thousands of unnecessary files.

Junk files breakdown

In case we clean our PC still we left out some of the most cluttered areas where junk is residing and for a true spring clean PC we must know where this junk lives and how can we get rid of that.

Where’s the Junk?
Let’s quickly look at just how much junk exists on both new and old PCs. I recently conducted a spring cleaning experiment in which I tested 16 PCs that represented the whole spectrum of data clutter.

  • Out of 126 GBs of junk, 65% was made up of temporary files, mostly created by third-party programs. For example, iTunes creates temporary files during synchronization and other third-party installers copy temporary data during setup.
  • Windows restore points and old update backups consumed 30,000 megabytes (MBs). Once a program is installed and everything is working correctly, there’s typically no reason to keep the restore point anymore, except for the newest one.
  • 96 MBs (or 500,000 written pages) of protocols containing personal and system-critical information were found. Windows, drivers and third-party programs keep track of thousands of operations on your system.
  • 4,500 (or 1,500 MBs worth of) stored web pages were found. To put things into perspective, the average website is 320 kilobytes (KBs), with 1 MB containing three web pages.
  • Hundreds of error reports generated by Windows were stored. The moment an application crashes, Microsoft generates and stores an error report that is roughly 50 KBs. Users are given the option to send these to Microsoft, which contain information on the hardware and software where the problem occurred.
  • In total, 103,000 worthless files were found on all 16 PCs, an average 6,437 junk files per computer.

My PC Seems to be OK—Should I Still Care?
Yes. It’s not just the old PCs that are riddled with junk; it’s the brand-new ones, too. The 16 PCs I tested had anywhere from a few to 30 GBs of junk, all enough to cause problems, like:

  • Clogging Solid State Disks (SSDs). Today’s ultrabooks and upcoming Windows 8 tablets sport SSDs that range from 64 GBs to 256 GBs, with the average being 128 GBs. On these systems, having 10 GBs to 30 GBs of junk lying around hurts performance.
  • Creating privacy issues. Temporary files, browser caches and log files may contain personal information, ranging from history lists to error reports that may store passwords or other sensitive data.
  • System instability from too much data. Crashes often occur when applications try to access or overwrite temporary files that are in use or don’t have enough security privileges. Also, if disk space gets low or temporary files are stored, you can expect all kinds of problems.

The Quick Tips for Spring Cleaning
So what do you about all this clutter?

1) Use Windows’ secret Disk Cleanup tool.
The Disk Cleanup tool that’s buried deep in Windows’ Start menu is workable as a basic cleaner. But it also has a secret setting that enables far more functionality. To access this hidden option, you will need to create a special shortcut. To do this, right-click on your desktop, select “New/Shortcut”, and type in the following command.

Click Next, give the shortcut a name, and hit Finish. Double-click on the shortcut to launch Disk Cleanup. Then, check all of the files you want to delete. If you’re not sure about one, highlight it and read the description Microsoft provides.

” SystemRoot%\System32\Cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 &Cleanmgr   /sagerun:65535″

2) Clean out the Event Log.
Windows logs a lot of background operations, which are aggregated into its Event Log. To see this, just hit WIN+R and type in “eventvwr.msc”.

Event Viewer in Windows

If you don’t need these logs and don’t want anyone else to see this activity, create a new text file and paste this content into it.

@echo off
 FOR /F “tokens=1,2*”   %%V IN (‘bcdedit’) DO SET adminTest=%%V
 IF (%adminTest%)==(Access)   goto noAdmin
for /F “tokens=*”   %%G in (‘wevtutil.exe el’) DO (call :do_clear “%%G”)
echo.
 echo goto theEnd
:do_clear
echo clearing %1
wevtutil.exe cl %1
 goto :eof
 :noAdmin
exit

Now Save the file from “Save as” dialog and click on “All files”. Save it with a name as “EventLogsCleaner.bat”. Now run it for cleaning the logs mess.

3) Get rid of Windows features you’ll never use anyway.
Remember when Windows 95 or 98 let you choose which Windows features to install? This option is finally back in Windows Vista and 7; however, it’s buried within the Control Panel.

First, click on Start and go to Control Panel; open Programs and click on Programs and Features. Click “Turn Windows features on or off”. In the next window, you can uninstall the following built-in features.

Bulilt-in Windows features
After you make your selections, hit OK and wait until Windows is done with the removal, then restart. If you need any of the uninstalled features, re-install by doing the same steps. All source files are stored inside the Windows folder, so CDs are needed. 

4) Get rid of unwanted toolbars.
A lot of toolbars clutter and slow things down. To get rid of these, open the add-on management function of your web browser. With Internet Explorer 9, for example, there’s a small icon in the upper right-hand corner. Go to “Manage add-ons”, and the next window should show a handful of unnecessary add-ons. Turn these off. Confirm with Disable and repeat this step to remove unnecessary toolbars. 

5) Delete massive data hogs.

Track down hidden junk deep inside your folder structure, like apps and smartphone backup files, which were automatically created during synchronization, and game data such as texture, sound and map files.

You can manually look for these files manually or use a tool like TuneUp Disk Space Explorer to help you.

6) Revive your registry.
Installing, using and uninstalling programs clutters the Windows registry. Depending on the usage, this could lead to hundreds or even thousands of registry files, like pointers to non-existing files, incorrect settings or hardware components no longer in use. Because the registry plays a critical role in any Windows operating system, issues with it will likely result in reliability problems.

These tips will take you a long way towards spring cleaning your PC like never before. Thanks to Tibor Schiemann, President and Managing Partner, TuneUp who also shared a guest post earlier on How to Set Up Multiple Copies of Windows 7 Using Virtual Hard Disks with us.

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