Spring Cleaning: The IT Edition

We’ve finally shaken that cold weather here in South Bend, and Spring is in the air! You know what that means: Spring cleaning! We often associate this routine with clearing out closets and garages. But this can apply to your enterprise’s IT environment, as well.

In this post, our experts share some steps to complete your IT Spring cleaning:

Make sure your firewall is working

Firewalls are critical components of your layered security strategy. Sometimes, they can turn off by themselves, so check your Control Panel (in “Administrative Tools”) to be sure yours is active!

Sort through your “My Documents” files and get rid of those you don’t need anymore
Think of your “My Documents” as that closet you haven’t sorted through in months (or years! Yikes!) and is covered with dust and spider webs. Every time you search, your computer must finger through those unused, forgotten files. It doesn’t differentiate between “unused” and “important.” Make a run through your files to trash and delete documents, spreadsheets, etc. that you don’t use. If you don’t want to lose any files, consider transferring them to an external hard drive.

Empty your trash
Just because you trash files, doesn’t mean they are actually deleted! Empty your trash to clear that space.

Go through your programs and delete the ones you no longer use
Head to the “Programs & Features” folder in your Control Panel and peruse the list of programs there. Select the programs that you either downloaded by mistake, meant to use, or used to use but no longer do. Click “uninstall,” and voila, you’re all set!

Run all software updates
Click to accept those updates that have been popping up and nagging at you but you didn’t have the time to deal with (think Adobe Reader, Windows, etc.).

Clean that junk off your desktop
We’ve all been there – document drafts, meeting notes, reminders, screen shots, etc. get saved on the desktop “for the time being.” But then we move on and the files built up over time. Go through these and re-file any active working drafts with their associated projects or in a new folder titled “working on,” or trash anything that you no longer need.

Back up your files
Backing up data is critical to ensure you don’t lose anything in the case of power outages, water damage, or a data breach. If you have an automated backup system – that is great and you don’t have to worry about this! If you don’t, make sure to do this manually regularly. If you use Windows, try its backup program (click the “Start” button and search ‘backup’).

These steps shouldn’t take too long to complete – 15 to 30 minutes at the most – and they will save you at least that amount of time over the coming months when you and your computer are able to work more efficiently and proficiently.

Happy Spring!