Feb. 8 is Clean Out Your Computer Day


It can be hard to remember to routinely clean out your computer — whether that means running virus scans or organizing your files. That’s why having a day devoted to making sure that your computer is working well and that you can find anything you need on it is a good idea. The Institute for Business Technology originally sponsored a National Clean Out Your Computer Day several years ago, assigning it to the second Monday in February. It’s a holiday well worth adding to your calendar.

Clean Up Your Operating System

It seems to be a fact of life that the longer your operating system has been installed on your computer, the slower it gets. I recently had to back up all my data and reinstall my operating system, and the difference it made is incredible. Even if you aren’t prepared to completely wipe your system, there are some things you can do to speed things up.

Microsoft (s msft) recommends running built-in utilities, like Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter, on a regular basis. There are comparable utilities in every operating system. You can also use an external tool, like Iolo Technologies’ System Mechanic, which can fix common problems and reduce demands on your system, like unused background programs.

Clean Out Files

Even as hard drives keep getting bigger, we keep coming up with files to fill them up. While sorting through all your files may not be necessary, doing a little spring cleaning can make them easier to manage. Personally, I try to get the files I don’t think I’m going to need again off my main computer and on to a separate hard drive every so often, if only to make sure that I have space for more.

It may not be a bad idea to go through what you have on other storage media. I recently ran across a stack of floppy disks, only to realize that I didn’t have access to anything that could actually read them at this point. There are a few files there that I’d like to have, but otherwise, there’s no reason to cart around old floppy disks.

Don’t Forget the Hardware

Even if the only part of your computer that you can actually see is the monitor, it’s worthwhile to occasionally knock the dust off. We’ve discussed cleaning laptops before, and cleaning desktops isn’t too different. Wipe down those monitors, clear out vents and maybe even clean your keyboard and mouse while you’re at it. Just getting rid of the dust can extend your computer’s life.

Make Your Progress Permanent

Once you’ve gotten your computer cleaned out, it’s worth taking a little time to make sure that it stays that way. One of the best options is to make sure that any tools you’re using are set up to run automatically — virus scanners, backups and so forth should be running regularly without you needing to remember to start them up.

Don’t forget to mark Clean Out Your Computer Day on the calendar for next year!?

Photo by Flickr user PhotoOptik, licensed under CC BY 2.0.


IT Services

ok i have been watching “you-know-what” very often this month…i plan to stop but now my computer is really slow. its a vista. is there anything i can do to clean my computer to get rid of viruses or whatever is in my computer?

Clean Computer

It’s always amazing to see how much faster your computer runs are you do the much needed (and frequently neglected) computer cleaning maintenance. Since the slow down happens so gradual you don’t really notice it.


I run Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter at least twice a year, it’s keeping my machine in good shape for now 6 years.

Tom Batey

Doh! Missed it. Have to wait until next year.

I just about manage to keep my desktop clean and do wipe my screen down on occasion.

However, I do need to get into various folders and external hard drives to tidy them up too.

Thanks for the article.


Forget Windows and all the headaches will. Only care files and hardware.


I sometimes think about reinstalling my operating system but I can never find any step-by-step instructions written in plain English. Every article I find is full of cyber-jargon that makes little-to-no sense to me.


Search “RoboBasket” in google, you may find a program from Easy-to-Use Software which can automatically sort your files according to rules that you set up. You can choose to process files based on their date, size, extension, mp3 tags, file name and other properties and choose from action that include move, copy, rename, recycle, open, print and other file operations.


Some good advice, I would also add it’s a good idea to physically clean the computer, a quick hoover up the dust from the heat sinks etc


Coincidentally, I was cleaning out my mac today! I find it a little harder to do than with a pc because I can’t find my cookies folder. I’m a new user, though, so maybe next year I’ll have better practice.

clean hard drive

cleaning our PCs is always recommended and besides..it also improves the quality and performance of our hardware and softwares..frequent defragmenting is a big help for me



(1) clear the stored Flash objects using Adobe’s manager console at


The BetterPrivacy plug-in for Firefox does this automatically.


(2) for Windows, make sure that the operating system is fully patched using Microsoft Update


(3) and that the applications are up-to-date using Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI)


Kimmo Linkama

Solid advice, thanks for the reminder. As I’m running a computer with a pre-installed operating system, I can’t wipe it totally clean as I haven’t got the OS on a CD, but am running antivirus, defragger and disk cleaner software more or less regularly, about once a month.

One thing I’ve found useful for quickly archiving old, not-needed-just-now files on an external drive to get them out of the way is to try to be disciplined when naming files. These days, long file names are not a problem, so I’ve started to precede the actual filename with the date, for example 100208whatever.doc.

This has three benefits: 1) it keeps the files in chronological order (handy when searching for different versions of the same file), 2) it allows quick archiving by month/year or whatever your preferred frequency, 3) it speeds up searches if you need old material for billing, writing offers or just deleting altogether.


I usually reformat my computer once a year. Gets rid of programs and files I looked at and forgot about. It also makes me back up everything I’ve put on my hard drive if I really want to keep it.

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