Good computer maintenance is one way to keep your laptop or desktop working like new five years from now. Many people don’t think about maintenance until something catastrophic happens, but you have the good fortune to be thinking about it now. One part of the maintenance process is keeping your computer running at top speed. (Not only will this help your computer stay healthy, but it will help you continue to enjoy using your computer!)
There are many reasons that computers begin to run slow: viruses (or more commonly now, adware), not enough memory, too many applications & software bloat (goes along with insufficient memory) and/or a lot of files. Whatever the reason, something needs to be done so you don’t have to work at a snail’s pace.
One easy way address slowness is to run a hard drive defragmentation, or defrag. Defragging is a process where your computer finds a way to free up space on your hard drive. This may mean deleting temporary files that are no longer needed, rearranging and reorganizing to create bigger blocks of free space and generally helping to improve performance. Defragmenting your computer is a good first step when performance is not at its best, and is especially useful when your hard drive is reaching its full storage capacity.
Performing the operation once a week is more than enough for those who use their computer every day and create a lot of documents and files. For the average computer user with a computer less than 3 years old, once a month or every 3 months is just as effective.
This tool can be set up on a schedule so that it works behind the scenes (like Santa at Christmas or the Easter Bunny hiding eggs every year). Schedule maintenance operations at low-usage times like early in the morning or in the middle of the night, when you are not on your computer in order to keep them from slowing you while you’re trying to work.
Your computer comes with a defragmentation tool.
Windows: Most Windows users will find it listed under “Disk Defragmenter” in either Accessories or System Tools.
Mac: If you are a Mac user with Mac OS X, your computer is automatically optimizing your disk space so you don’t need to worry about doing this yourself, but if you have previous versions of Mac OS, you can find what you need in the Disk Utility program.