Do it yourself
    06 March 2019

    Megan Ellis

    How to organise your computer

    Did you know that 11 February marks Clean Out Your Computer Day? Here’s how to do it.

    The beginning of the year is the perfect time to spring clean your desktop, folders, files and browser. While this sounds easy enough, if you use your computer frequently and have had it for a long time, you’re likely to have a cluttered hard drive, unused programmes and a messy desktop. Here are 5 tips to get you started on organising your computer.

    1. Sort out your desktop

    Start with your desktop screen (the default screen you see after starting up and logging into your computer).

    The first thing you should do is delete any unnecessary shortcuts. Next, remove any files that you have saved to your desktop and place them in relevant folders. For example, if you have Word documents on your desktop, rather move them to your Documents folder. If you have downloaded images on your desktop, either delete them or move them to another folder. 

    Once you have deleted unnecessary shortcuts and files, right click on your desktop, select ‘View’ and then ‘Auto Arrange Icons’ to align all your icons and remove empty spaces left by deleted icons. 

    Auto arrange your icons after deleting old files

    2. Manage your document folders 

    Certain folders tend to become cluttered quickly, especially your Downloads and Documents folders. Go to these folders and delete any files that you aren’t going to use again. Arrange the files you want to keep into subfolders or move them to more relevant folders so that they are easier to find in future. For example, sort work documents into a new subfolder called ‘Work’. 

    3. Uninstall unused programmes

    One of the best ways to organise your computer is to get rid of programmes or apps you don’t use. On Windows, you can access this tool in your Control Panel, under ‘Add or Remove Programs’. Here you will see a list of installed apps. If you want to remove the program, click on it and select the uninstall option. On Mac, click on ‘Go’ in the top navigation bar and select ‘Applications’. Drag any apps you don’t want into the Recycle Bin.

    4. Empty your Recycle Bin

    Files are only properly deleted from your computer once they are removed from your Recycle Bin. Deleted files are stored here in case you wish to restore them. To permanently delete these files, right click on the Recycle Bin shortcut and select ‘Empty Recycle Bin’. This will free up the hard drive space these files were taking up.

    You must empty your Recycle Bin to truly be rid of files and apps

    5. Clean out your browser cache and temporary files

    Your internet browser stores a significant number of temporary files, as well as other files such as cookies and caches. Over time, this builds up and can take up quite a bit of space. To clear your browser cache and temporary files, go to your browser’s settings menu. Here you should find the option to clear out certain files and data. 

    Clear out your browser cache

    Now that your computer is all neat and tidy, don’t forget to follow the above steps every few months to make sure that you stay on top of it. It will be much quicker and easier if you do this regularly. 

    Megan Ellis