Maintain & Clean up Your Windows (Apr 2018)

Technology Tips – Published April 2018 in the Guide and Digest

By Don Trauger – Kennett

                             Maintain & Clean up Your Windows 7, 8 & 10 PC                                                                                    


I’ve written various articles about how to clean up unneeded, junk or temporary files that have been used and left discarded on the hard drive of your computer. This article updates the previous one from June 2017.


After months of  build up, neglecting cleanup chores will make the computer unstable and run more slowly. I often wonder how many people buy a new computer because theirs is running poorly. Had they done the required maintenance maybe they wouldn’t have needed a new one. As a side note, installing and configuring a new computer already qualifies it for a cleanup. That’s because there are many hundreds of files used only once to get the new computer up and running.


Generally I recommend that you do the maintenance once a month. I recommend that you download the free CCleaner program from  You’ll find it in your Downloads folder as ccsetupxxx.exe (x any number). Double click the download file to install CCleaner. Uncheck any optional software offers then click Install. Close the next window that says Run CCleaner and also the window that pops up redirecting you back to Piriform. The installation will place an icon on your Desktop screen. Double click it to open CCleaner and click the Run Cleaner button. After cleaning is complete click the Registry button, then click the Scan for Issues button. After this completes click the Fix selected issues button. This free download program provides a fast, easy and safe way to clean your computer.There is a built-in monitor in CCleaner that pops up a reminder window when the computer has accumulated too much junk. Very handy. However, there’s more about cleaning up your computer so read on and if you have a laptop be sure it’s plugged into your battery charger before starting the cleaning and defragging.


Windows includes a built-in disk file cleaner that also removes unneeded files. The trouble is it just doesn’t clean as well as CCleaner. Let’s look at Windows 7 first. Click the orb in the lower left corner of the Desktop screen, then click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, then click Disk Cleanup. The program should start by calculating how much space it can free. After it completes, a new window will open showing many items that can be cleaned. Click the empty box next to an item so it appears with a check. Do this for all items scrolling down as needed. Make sure all items are checked. This is a safe procedure as nothing that is needed or wanted will be deleted. At the top of the window click the More Options tab. Under System Restore and Shadow Copies, click Clean up. In the pop-up window click the Delete button. Click the OK button in the Disk Cleanup window then click Delete Files in the pop-up window. Remember all this is safe to do! This may take awhile. After the window disappears (there is no formal notification) the tool has done its job. Next, repeat the procedure for navigating to Disk Cleanup but this time click Disk Defragmenter. When the Disk Defragmenter window opens click the Defragment disk button. Under the Progress column you will see Pass 1,2,3 etc. After it stops click the Defragment disk button again for another go around. Ideally most computers will stop at pass 5 when fully defragmented. Plus or minus a pass (6 or 4) is fine too.


Next is the procedure for Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10. Type the letters “co” (no quotes) in the Search field next to the 4 pane window icon in the lower left corner then click Control Panel at the top. When the Control Panel opens, click Administrative Tools. If you don’t see it, click Category view in the upper right and change it to Large icons. When Administrative Tools opens click Disk Cleanup. Click OK in the pop-up window. As in Windows 7, check all items then click Clean up system files. Click OK again. Next, in the pop-up window, make sure all items are checked then click the More Options tab. Click the Clean up button under System Restore and Shadow Copies and click Delete in the pop-up window. Click OK and click Delete Files in the pop-up window. Finish by clicking OK then click Delete Files. If you can’t find Disk Cleanup after opening it, look for it on the Task bar at the bottom of the Desktop window. Click it to make the window visible. As in Windows 7 this procedure is safe for Windows 8 and 10 too. It may also take awhile. To Defrag a Windows 8 and 10 computer click on Defragment and Optimize Drives in Administrative Tools. When the window opens, click the Optimize button. Again about 5  passes is the norm so repeat as necessary.


To help you with questions about this or any subject, we meet on the third Tuesday of every month at 7 PM upstairs in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.