Computer Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year again when the snow starts to disappear, and you might be testing to see if you can open the windows once again. Whether you are thinking about sprucing up the house or not, you should take a few minutes to clean up your computer files. Call it a digital spring cleaning.

Mailbox Size & Web Browers

The first thing you should do is check your mailbox size. Most email programs have a feature that will help you clean up your mailbox. If you rely on ITC WebMail, keep in mind that the basic mailbox that comes with your Internet account has a maximum size of 1 gigabyte. If you are interested in a larger mailbox, please give your local ITC office a call. You can also choose to delete old unwanted emails, such as advertisements. You can delete mail from your Inbox, Sent, or Drafts folders. Once you have everything deleted, empty the Trash folder to get your space back. If you need help cleaning up your mailbox, please give the ITC Help Desk a call.

While you are at it, you should clean up your web browser. Check your installed extensions for ones you don’t use, and quite possibly don’t remember installing. Deleting old and unused extensions can really help speed up your load time. Don’t forget to clear your browser data to remove cookies and cache for a better experience.

Antivirus & Backups

Check your computer for malware or malicious software. These are suspicious programs that include viruses, ransomware, and spyware. The programs run in secret and do things that you do not want. The best way to check for these is with a trusted antivirus or antimalware program. Be aware that there are bad programs that claim to be antivirus programs. Make sure to check the software before using it. If you aren’t sure about a program, either give us a call at ITC or talk to a computer professional you trust.

As the old saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. This also applies to computer backups. A good backup can help you if you have a computer problem. The good news is that Windows 10 has backup software built-in and ready to go. You will need to supply an external USB drive for the backups. To access it, click the white box with the magnifying glass in it, next to the start button. Type “File History” without the quotes and open “Backup Settings” or “Restore your files with File History.”

Passwords

Finally, you should take the opportunity to review your passwords. I know that this topic comes up often, which goes to show how important it is. As a quick review, your password should be unique for every website you visit, and shouldn’t be a common word. Your password should be hard to guess. Don’t use a pet’s name or things like your favorite sports jersey number. These are all easy to guess by people who know you. You might also consider using a password manager to help you out.

Backups, changing passwords, and emptying trash might not be the most fun, but taking a few simple steps now to clean up your computer might help you out in the future.

- Michael Martinell, The Broadband Guy