While you can spend hours searching for viruses and thousands of dollars replacing your hardware, the most likely culprit is digital dirt. If you haven’t cleaned your computer for some time (or ever) your device might be overloaded with inconsequential data. A regular cleaning isn’t difficult to do, and it could save you time, money, and frustration, especially when you are bumping up against several deadlines. Here’s what you need to know about cleaning your digital spaces.
The Simplest Solution
Plenty of developers are precious about their devices, careful to add and alter data mindfully. Other developers are wanton with their installations and deletions, putting their machine through the ringer. However, when you are butting up against a deadline, and your computer is moving at a snail’s pace, you don’t have time or energy to permit either attitude toward your device.
In either case, it is useful for a developer to use Dr. Cleaner for Mac or PC. When run, this program will sift through the stacks of files on your device, peer into the nooks and crannies and flag anything that seems inconsequential. After you permit the software to remove the appropriate material, you should experience a much faster machine.
However, if you manage to slog through your current project and gain some leeway before your next one is due, you can go the manual route. Here’s what to look for on your own while cleaning your computer.
You have more programs on your device that you use every day; you probably even have apps that you haven’t touched in years. It’s time to sort through your installed software and determine what you can and will use and what can disappear forever.
You should always use the Control Panel (for Windows) or System Preferences (for Mac) to uninstall unwanted programs. If you merely delete files and folders, the program will still take up space on your device, and it will be much more difficult to find and erase their vestiges in the future.
Unused Files and Data
Old drafts of completed projects, unending pages of notes, saved communications with long-gone clients – this is the junk that piles up in your digital spaces. If you aren’t using data regularly, there is no reason to keep it at your fingertips. Instead, you can relocate it to a cloud or external storage drive – or better yet, you can eliminate it for good.
Finding unused files and data is a laborious task, especially if your computer is already overfull. One way to speed up the process is to look for files you have not opened or modified in some time. Using the search function in Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder, you can sort your entire computer’s data by date. Starting with the oldest material, you should evaluate the usefulness and erase as necessary.
Security is vital, especially for developers. If your computer is compromised while you are developing a website or app, it’s likely that your project will be infected, too. However, just because you have an antivirus program installed doesn’t mean it is doing a lick of good; in fact, it might be slowing down your device without offering much real security.
Older security programs often lack auto-clean functions that immediately eradicate flagged files and programs. If your security software hasn’t seen an update in years, you might consider searching for your program’s quarantine and emptying it manually. Then you should update your existing security or replace it with a smaller program that packs a more powerful punch. Ideally, you will set all security functions to auto – auto-scan, auto-clean, etc. – but you might also schedule certain actions to prevent your security from slowing down your computer during prime working hours.
With the right tools and attitude, you can keep your computer fresh and clean for years to come. Then, you can forever avoid the last-minute panic of a slow machine at a project deadline.