Optimizing Your Computer

When it comes to computer optimization, there is one overarching key: do what works for you.  When trying to optimize your life, the absolute worst thing to do is to do something someone else tells you, having it not work for you or having it make you feel uncomfortable, and forcing yourself to deal with the discomfort only to find that a week in, everything is in shambles.  So take everything I give here as a list of tips, but be aware that this system may not work for you…viewer discretion is advised!

Remember, it is wise to back up your computer before deleting files and running 3rd party programs.

Step 1: Clear off your desktop

Right now, create a new folder on your desktop and call it CLEAN.  Put everything in your desktop into this folder.

Step 2: Create a folder system in your Home directory

Now you need to create a long-lasting folder system in your Home directory, so you not only have a place to put things, but you will know where they are.

By the way, your home directory is where most of your personal stuff is on the computer.  On Windows, if you press Win+R (windows key and the r button) and then type: %HOME% it will open your home folder.  On Mac/Linux, your home path is ~ (that is just the tilde and it is a shortcut for accessing your Home folder).  You can access it on mac by going to the Go menu in Finder and typing in the tilde.  On Linux, it varies depending on the distro you are using.

The important part of this step is to create a system that you can use.  Whether it is just about setting up a couple of folders to hold pictures, music, movies, and documents or it’s an extremely complex system involving frequency of access and urgency, it MUST work for you (so don’t let that geek around the corner tell you that your system is stupid!).

Step 3: Purge what you no longer need

Before moving everything to your new folder system, make sure that you don’t move unnecessary stuff, so go through CLEAN and get rid of all that stuff that you no longer want or need (like those letters you wrote to your boss telling them how their toupee makes them look like an 50-something year old going through a mid-life crisis – when he’s only 28).

Step 4: Put everything in its place

This step is pretty much self explanatory — you didn’t do all that work for nothing, you know.

Step 5: Clean up Applications

You test out new applications, you forget about them, and that’s it.  Well, it’s time to remember about all those games, productivity software you never used, and all those applications your friends told you to try.  If you need help, ask GeekHowTo and details will be emailed to you (make sure that you spell your email address correctly if you ask a question).

Step 6: Finish Cleaning

Now that you’ve deleted all those programs and all those files, you are going to have a mighty clean computer right?  WRONG!  On most platforms, programs don’t just work in that one file…they work in a variety of numbers ranging from quite a few to WOAH that’s a lot of files.  The uninstallers don’t always remove everything that needs to be removed, so you have to do that yourself.  On Windows, I recommend using our product Software Maintenance.  It will clean up the junk files that are on your computer and optimize your disk (by defragging and such).  On Mac, I recommend the program Onyx; it pretty much does the same thing as Software Maintenance, but on the Mac platform.  Linux users, you’re on your own (I don’t know if you even need to do this step).

Step 7: Make it your own

All of these steps are well and good, but they takes the U out of computer.  Most of us don’t work well on systems that we haven’t optimized for ourselves, so make sure that you make the system usable (which might be as simple as changing the wallpaper, installing some applications, or changing your homepage).

Remember, the purpose of this article is to give you some advice on how to optimize your computer and it is part of the Optimize your Workflow series …the keyword there is YOUR.  If this doesn’t work for you, don’t do it…I won’t be offended 🙂

 

The series will continue with Optimizing your Mind.

 

Featured Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nerdsoncall/5759398547/

Zach Bornheimer (46 Posts)

Zach Bornheimer is a musician and professional geek from South Florida currently attending the University of South Florida and is pursuing a degree in Music with a concentration in Jazz Composition. Find out more: http://zachbornheimer.com.


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