It's time to deep clean your PC to remove programs and files that are no longer used. You can free up space on your machine's hard disk and may see improved performance. Technology analysts claim that we use less than 10 percent of the installed programs on our computers. If you haven't done this in awhile or have never done it, you may be surprised at how junk is stored on your PC's hard drive.
While Windows offers several tools for hard drive clean-up, consider using two "deep cleaning" tools that will remove files Windows leaves behind; both are free and can be downloaded from download.com.
Deep cleaning is a two-step process.
The first step is to remove programs you no longer use. Revo Uninstaller works like Windows Uninstaller by generating a list of programs that have been installed on your computer and then launching the program's uninstall utility. But uninstall utilities are notorious for leaving files behind. Revo reaches beyond the uninstall to find and eliminate the leftovers.
Download Revo. A shortcut icon will appear on your desktop. When you launch Revo with a double click, a window will appear that shows a list of all of the installed programs on your computer.
Keep programs that are necessary for browsing and opening documents such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader. Remember, you are looking for programs that were installed by the computer manufacturer that you never use -- sometimes referred to as bloatware -- or programs that you installed in the past and no longer use.
When you see a program you'd like to uninstall, click on it and then click on the "Uninstall" icon at the top of the window. Once you confirm the uninstall command, you'll be asked to select a mode from four choices. For the deepest clean, choose "Advanced."
Revo will create a System Restore Point and then activate the program's built-in uninstaller. At this point the uninstall is equivalent to the one you would perform using Window's uninstall tool, but Revo moves on to the computer's registry to locate leftover items.
A window will appear showing the path to any found items, which will be labeled in bold. Check the box next to the bold items and then click on "Delete." Even if you check all of the boxes, only the items in bold will be deleted.
Click "Next" and a window showing leftover files and folders associated with the program will appear. Click on "Select All" and then "Delete" to complete the process. When Revo is finished, the program and its leftover debris will be removed from your computer.
Remove useless files
If you've ever uninstalled a program in the past, you're now probably wondering about all those leftover or orphan files on your hard drive. Along with other unnecessary files, CCleaner can remove them, cleaning more thoroughly than Windows' Disk Clean-up alone.
Download CCleaner. Like Revo, a CCleaner shortcut should appear on your desktop. Double click to launch the program and then select the "Applications" tab. Click the "Analyze" button. You will have to close any open browsers during the process if they're open. If you've kept up with regular computer maintenance, the analysis will likely take less than a minute; if not, it could take longer, but we're measuring minutes not hours.
The analysis will provide a list of files to be deleted such as temporary Internet files and the total amount of data that will be removed. Click "Run Cleaner."
Select the Windows tab and follow the same steps as those for "Applications." This will clean up Internet Explorer and other Windows' programs that generate temporary files.
Once you've finished your deep clean, restart your PC. If you made a mistake or have simply changed your mind about a particular program that you uninstalled, you have two options. First, you can reinstall the program using either the original discs if you have them or download the program from the manufacturer's website if it is available.
Even if you can't reinstall it, you can still recover any lost programs by choosing to restore your computer to exactly the way it was before you began the deep clean. The following directions are based on Windows Vista, so if you're using a different version of the system, look for similar labels.
Here's how: From the Start Menu, open the Control Panel and then select Backup and Restore. Under the heading "Restore files or your entire computer," click the link that reads "Use System Restore to fix problems and undo changes to Windows." To see a list of all available restore points including those created with Revo, select "Choose a different restore point" and click "Next." Choose your restore point, click on "Next" and then "Finish." That's it -- your computer's files will be restored to where they were prior to your clean up.
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