Introduction: Making Computers Faster!
We all know that our personal computer (PC) can become slow and unresponsive at times. I have made a guide to assist those who need to do a basic cleanup of their Windows 8.1, (and in some cases, windows 8 and 7) PC.
Don't worry if you see some really technical information. I will use the word "stuff" (I will use it quite a bit)
The skill level required for this is BEGINNER.
I am going using screenshots of my account (on the PC only) to show the necessary steps of... making your computer faster!!!
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Step 1: The Control Panel Is Your Best Friend!
Uninstalling unnecessary programs, apps and features
Apps (Applications) also known as programs and/or features, is stuff on your PC that you (or some other person) have installed. They can be good or bad, and in some cases, good and bad!
There are a lot of apps that are bad, this are called PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) viruses, malware, bloatware, and my favorite term, crapware!
But there are apps that are good, like Internet Explorer (a joke?) Google Chrome, MS Security Essentials, Adobe Reader X, Spotify et cetera... you want to keep these in accordance to your organizing and personalization for your PC, that's why its called a PERSONAL computer :)
SO! First you want to use your CONTROL PANEL. You can access it by:
- Using Search from your live tile menu (PICTURE A, B and 1)
- Now change your viewing option to large icons. (PICTURE 2 and 3)
- Click on PROGRAMS AND FEATURES. (PICTURE 4)
Now, here is the slow part. You want to uninstall any PUP or app that YOU deem is unnecessary for your computer. Key words Like "PC Doctor" "Coupon" "Wizard" and any other unfamiliar name that you haven't seen before are key in identifying those PUPs. (PICTURE 5 and 6)
Pro Tip: you have more than one type of the same program, i.e. Microsoft Office, uninstall the one you don't want, preferably the older one.
Step 2: CCleaner Is the Best!
CCleaner is a great cleanup app from the Company Piriform©. You can have a free version or a paid version. There are other Piriform products, such as Defragger, Speccy, and Recuva. However, we are only going to use CCleaner.
First, head on over to:
https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/builds (for other geeky stuff about CCleaner)
Click on "Free Download" and "Download" until you reach (PICTURE 1)
Now, you want to download and install:
- In Internet Explorer, Click "save" or "save as". (PICTURE 2)
- If you are in Chrome, you want to click the small arrow next to your download, and select "show in folder" PICTURE 3 and 4
- CCleaner will now download to your downloads folder (PICTURES 5 6 7 8 9)
- Go to your downloads folder in the file explorer
- Open "ccleaner5XX" (XX is whatever number is current for that version of CCleaner, mine is ccleaner502.exe)
- Follow the installation instructions carefully, don't install and PUPs, if you don't want them!
7. Now! run (open and use) CCleaner. At the left hand side menu, you can customize and run a scan, fix registry stuff, and other various options. (PICTURE 10 ,11)
SCAN: customize your options and analyze or clean up your system.
DELETE: CCleaner will show you what you have scanned/deleted and how much space you have freed up.
Pro Tip: I have seen CCleaner delete over 5 GB (5000 MB) of junk off of computers!
Step 3: Safe Mode Is VERY Useful
Safe Mode is exactly what it sounds like. Safe Mode! A mode where Windows will only start and run the most important services and stuff. You would use safe mode to access your computer for virus or to troubleshooting problems.
There are various options for safe mode: regular safe mode, safe mode with networking (internet), and safe mode with command prompt (geeky stuff).
You choose which best suits your needs (or the technician working on your computer ;) )
TO GET INTO SAFE MODE
We are using windows 8.1, so getting into safe mode is a little different than from windows 7:.
- Hold down SHIFT, and at the same time, shut off your computer (settings->power->shutdown).
The alternate method is to navigate to your recovery and update settings via CHANGE PC SETTINGS from the charms bar (menu thing that swipes from right hand side)
- Go to Settings->Change PC Settings (PICTURE 1)
- A purple windows with with a white gear will open (PICTURE 2)
- Click on Update and Recovery->Recovery. (PICTURE 3,4)
- Here you can choose Refresh, Reset or Advanced Setup (We will go over this stuff in step 4!)
- Click on ADVANCED STARTUP
You should now be at a light blue menu where various recovery, scan, and recovery options are available, in including SAFE MODE.
I have found safe mode options to be in the WINDOWS START UP SETTINGS menu (PICTURE 5,6)
(images courtesy from askvg.com, since they are had to get a screenshot of)
Pro Tip: follow the instructions Windows gives you, you choose by number what kind of restart you want from the number menu.
Step 4: Know Your Recovery, Security and Update Settings
Recovery, security and updates are very important to keep your PC healthy and long lasting.
These options are in the METRO (flat colored style) full screen app called SETTINGS (purple app)
You can navigate there via Settings->Change PC Settings (purple app with white gear)->update and recovery.
Here, you have THREE options: Windows Update, File History, and Recovery (we here there in step 3).
WINDOWS UPDATES: important stuff to keep your PC up-to-date. Automatic updates are highly recommended. But you can manually check and run (download and install) updates. (PICTURE 1)
Pro Tip: this menu is the METRO menu, you can access the old style menu via our old friend the CONTROL PANEL (Control Panel->Windows update).
FILE HISTORY: Backing up your files is very useful if your computer crashes and you had work open (That 10 pager for Technical Writing with Microsoft Word!) You will need another drive attached to your computer (or an internal one!) to use this feature. (PICTURE 2)
RECOVERY: this is from step 3, whee we went into ADVANCED STARTUP, the other options there ara REFRESH AND RESET. (PICTURE 3)
REFRESH will well.. refresh your PC! You wont lose your personal files and folders (Videos, Pictures..) but you will have to reinstall your games and programs (Minecraft.. Microsoft Office).
RESET will recycle your PC to factory settings (brand new out of box) (ALL YOUR STUFF WILL BE DELETED). Only use this if you are desperate.
Finally ADVANCED STARTUP is also from step 3, where the restart options are present and it beings you to that metro light blue menu
Step 5: The End!
I hope you have had success with this steps to Clean Your Computer! My goal is to educate the end-user with some simple PC tasks.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated!