Attention, high-tech pack rats: With Clean Out Your Computer Day arriving on Feb. 14, now’s the time to finally torch all those old e-cards and uninstall that precious backup copy of Windows 3.1.Whether you use popular programs like System Mechanic ($40, www.iolo.com) or just the backspace key, here are several tips that can help you speed up your PC, streamline file organization and otherwise tidy up your desktop.
Defrag Your HD Accumulated files, folders and deleted items often scatter across your hard drive. Defragmenting helps rearrange data to speed access times. Built-in tools on Mac and Windows PCs or downloads such as DiskWarrior provide ready solutions.
Turn Off Unnecessary Features This includes automatic updates, which can eat up time and bandwidth.
Install Virus and Spyware Blockers Running free programs such as Avira AntiVir (www.free-av.com) or AVG Anti-Virus (www.free.avg.com) can help detect threats and prevent unwanted intruders from running quietly in the background.
Manage Files and Folders Windows XP, Vista and 7 users should activate integrated Disk Cleanup functions to remove temporary files, software downloads and unused programs, and empty out the Recycle Bin regularly.