• Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

6 Smart Things to Do to Clean Out Your Computer


There's no shortage of holidays to celebrate and yesterday was no exception. The 2nd Monday of February is 'National Clean Out Your Computer Day' and unlike some of these daily holidays that pop up, this one can do you and your technology some good. It's a good idea to perform some maintenance on your gadgets to help them last longer. Clean Out Your Computer Day gives you a jump start with tech Spring cleaning, so let me help you get started with cleaning up your tech by doing the following:


1. Backing up files. Don’t risk losing files photos and videos and end up paying big bucks to Integral for us to retrieve them. You have the option to automatically backup your Windows computer with File History and your Macintosh computer with Time Machine with an external hard drive. You can also automatically backup your stuff to the cloud using the services of Carbonite (www.carbonite.com), iCloud.com (www.icloud.com), Google Backup and Sync (www.google.com), OneDrive (www.onedrive.com) and Amazon Drive (www.amazon.com).


2. Cleanup that Password Clutter. How are you organizing your passwords? Are you doing what cybercriminals want you to do and using the same password for all of your online accounts? Shame on you! For starters, take a moment and create different passwords for ALL of your online accounts. When you're done, get a system in place so you know where to go when you need a password. Yes, you can write them down in an old book, but you're better off using tools like LastPass (www.lastpass.com) to keep track of all of those passwords. You can also configure your web browser (Chrome, Edge, Opera, and Firefox) to save that information as well.


3. Removing programs and apps you no longer in use. Cleaning up means getting rid of old programs and apps. Yes, most computers and smart devices have plenty of storage, but removing programs you're not using any more makes the process of getting to those apps you use on a regular basis so much easier. How do you do it? Here's how:


How to delete apps on Android smartphones and Tablet.

Open Google Play.

Press the hamburger menu icon on the top left corner. Go to My apps & games.

Go to the tab labeled Installed.

Here you will see the list of all apps installed on your device. Tap the name of the app you want to uninstall.

Tap Uninstall on the resulting screen.


How to delete apps on Windows

Open Control Panel. You can do this via the Start menu or via the search bar right next to the Start button. Type Control panel in the search bar and hit Enter.

Now go to Programs and features.

Select the program you want to delete.

Click Uninstall. Follow on-screen prompts to delete the app.

The process is similar to older versions of Windows too.


How to delete apps on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

On your home screen, tap and hold any app icon until it begins shaking or wiggling. All apps on your screen will be wiggling and an X will appear to the top left of the icons.

Tap that X on the app you want to delete.

Now tap the red Delete button. This will delete the app from your iPhone.


How to delete apps on macOS

Open Finder and go to Applications.

Whichever app you want to delete, just drag its icon to the Trash icon in the dock. You can also right-click (Ctrl + click) an app and select the Move to Trash option. Finally, you can also delete an app on macOS by selecting the app in Finder and pressing the Command + Delete keys at the same time.


Some apps might ask you to enter the administrator password to complete the process.

One final thing you want to do is to remove those programs that automatically start up when you turn on your Windows or Macintosh computer. Most of these programs you don't need and they just slow down your computer.


4. Organize those files, emails, and desktop items. A little chaos is good. Too much chaos can cause a lot of stress. For emails, save only those critical emails you need to keep. Once you do that, then you can go back and organize your emails and files. Keep files in their assigned folders ... for example, keep documents in the Documents folder. Pictures in the pictures folder. The same thing with emails, create folders to organize them so you can locate them quickly. As far as the desktop on your Windows or Macintosh computer keep it clear of files as storing too many files will cause your computer to slow down. INstead, create shortcuts and aliases. Alias' and shortcuts take you directly to your file in the proper folder, rather than storing it on the desktop.

Create an Alias on a Mac

To create an alias, highlight the original icon and press Command+L or choose File and then Make Alias. You can also drag an icon out of its file window or to another location inside the window while you hold down the Option and Command keys.

Create a shortcut for Windows

Open the Windows File Explorer by pressing the Windows key and E at the same time.

Browse to the folder that contains the program for which you'd like to create a shortcut.

Right-click on the program and select Create Shortcut from the drop-down menu that appears.

Selector used to create a shortcut in Microsoft Windows.

Doing so creates a shortcut named "<selected program's name> - Shortcut" in the current directory.

If you want to rename this shortcut, right-click the file and select Rename.

After completing the above steps, you can right-click the shortcut to copy or cut it, and then paste it to another location.


5. Disinfect your smart devices. I'm sure you've heard that the average smartphone and tablet have more germs than your bathroom. It's true. Now you're probably tempted to go run for the disinfectant wipes, but don't do that. You'll ruin your device. If you just want to wipe off grime, use a microfiber cloth and water (this works for your flat-screen TV too). If you want to wipe out those germs forever, get you some PhoneSoap. Phone Soap (www.phonesoap.com) is a handy device that uses UV Radiation to zap those germs off your smartphone and tablet.

6. Go wireless. One of the major complaints people have with technology is all of the wires! Well, something that would help is to wirelessly connect your devices to your Internet. Most computers and peripherals have wireless connectivity, so rather than connecting your devices to the Internet or to your network with a cable consider wireless. For your smart devices, get rid of those messy charging cables and use wireless charging.

Enlisting help Don't feel bad if most of these tips don't make sense for you. If you consider yourself a tech dummy or you would rather just use the computer rather than work on it, get the help of your favorite friend to aid you in these tasks.


Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to burton@burtonkelso.com If you prefer to connect with me on social media, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I want to make technology fun and exciting for you. 


If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. My team of friendly tech experts are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a www.callintegralnow.com or phone at 888.256.0829. 


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©2020 by Burton Kelso