System Cleanup by Chris Reich of TeachU

Do This Now for a Better Year Ahead

The time between the Christmas holiday and the official first work day of the new year is an ideal time to clean up your computer. We all tend to save too much stuff. We save emails we don’t need. We save files that are way out of date. This is an ideal time to clean that stuff up.

The Myth

No, your computer won’t slow down as you save stuff. It’s not like adding weight to the trunk of your car. However, if your computer is approaching ‘full’, it could slow down and it could increase the likelihood of crash. Your computer needs a little free space to operate efficiently. That makes sense, right? So it’s not the amount of stuff on your computer that matters, it’s the amount of free space your computer has to use as it needs. Think of it like desk space. If your desk is totally covered in books, tools and papers, it’s pretty hard to work without moving things around.

Even if you have plenty of free space, it’s a good idea to get rid of unimportant files and emails. (Check your company’s retention policy)

Why? Having a lot of unnecessary junk on your computer will slow YOU down. Have you waded through 600 emails trying to find that one important note from a meeting? The more stuff you have to sort and search, the more time YOU waste. Seriously, do you need the “Today’s Special Offer” email that expired 3 months ago from your favorite online store? Take the time to clear that stuff out.

To clean email, start by sorting by “From”.  If you don’t know how, call me and I’ll help you. (Free)  Once sorted, it’s easy to see those emails you really don’t need. Delete them and empty your trash.


Files can be a little trickier to clean up. Back up your important stuff and delete what you no longer need. Here’s a little trick I use. Create a folder called “For Deletion” and one called “Save These Files”.  Anything you can get rid of can be dragged into the For Deletion folder. You can drag whole folders into that folder. I save closed projects for a while and then delete them. I can drag folders with docs, spreadsheets, pictures, etc., from completed projects into this folder.

Stuff I think I might need later can be dragged into the Save These Files folder.

Now that I’ve done that, I can keep the stuff in For Deletion for a while. Once I feel comfortable knowing I no longer need anything in that folder, I can clear it out. Got it?

And the stuff in the Save These Files folder is very easy to backup. I can drag the entire folder into my ‘burn to DVD’ program. It may need 5 or 6 DVDs to get them all, but the program will take care of that. It makes the archiving process easier.

Just Get it Done

Whatever method you use, just do it. Now is the ideal time and I guarantee you’ll feel better knowing those pictures are backed up and having all that junk out of the way.

Finally, run your system tools after you clean things up. Run your disk cleanup and defrag programs.

With a clean house, you’re ready to launch into a great new year!

Chris Reich, TeachU