Tidying Up Your Computer

Keeping your computer clean is important for the appearance, function, upkeep, and ease of use of your computer.  Here are some super-simple things that anyone can do to clean your computer (without taking it apart), and also, to organize the stuff INSIDE your computer (that is, your software and other processes).

Clean Your Keyboard

  1. Unplug the keyboard.
  2. Turn it upside down and tap it (to loosen any crumbs and other icky particles).
  3. Use a can of compressed air to blow gunk out from between/under the keys.
  4. Use a handiwipe or cloth with rubbing alcohol to wipe down the keys.
  5. Dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol to wipe between the keys.
  6. Let it dry, then reattach to the computer.

Clean Your Mouse

  1. Unplug the mouse.
  2. Use a handiwipe or cloth with rubbing alcohol to wipe down the mouse.
  3. If you have a tracking ball, open the mouse and clean the tracking ball and inside of the mouse with the moist cloth.
  4. Let it dry, then reattach to the computer.

Clean Your Monitor

  1. Unplug the monitor.
  2. Use an anti-static cloth, or just a soft clean cloth to wipe the screen. (You can moisten it lightly with water, but never spray liquids directly onto your screen.)
  3. Let it dry, then reattach to the computer.

Clean the Outside (Case)

Use an anti-static cloth, or a soft clean cloth to wipe the casing.  Moisten with water, or glass cleaner.

Keeping It Clean

  • Don’t eat (crumbs!) or drink (spills!) by your computer.
  • Keep it cool, and ensure it has proper airflow (especially around the vents and fans).
  • Dust it periodically.

Cleaning “the Inside” (e.g. the computer software)

  • Back up your hard drive and your important files (use the cloud, such as Outlook, SharePoint, Dropbox, Google Drive, and/or a simple USB drive to double-save your work).
  • Invest in antivirus and malware protection.
  • Update your software and programs as necessary.
  • Declutter your software programs (uninstall nonessential programs that you no longer use).
  • Clean out your old files. Back them up, or delete them if you have a more recent version or if you don’t need them anymore.
  • Empty your computer recycle bin.
  • Clear your browsing history, cookies, cache and more.

Organize Your Files

  • Name your files in a way that you can clearly and easily identify them. Use a similar naming convention for each one.
  • Create folders (preferably not on your Desktop, which can quickly become cluttered) for keeping similar files together. For example, multiple documents for one project.
  • If you need to rename (or even delete) folders in bulk, you can highlight and adjust them all at one time.

Organize Your Email

  • Use different email providers for different types of emails (personal, work, subscriptions/junk).
  • Create folders for organizing your email (much like organizing your documents).
  • Assign priorities and categories for types of emails.
  • Create rules for automatic sweeping and blocking in your email.
  • Unsubscribe and delete junk and other unsolicited email.
  • For suspicious emails, do not open them. Mark them as phishing or junk and/or block them.
  • Set up your contacts and use the calendar to keep yourself organized.