Basic Skills
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To keep your computer running sweetly, you have to do a bit of "housekeeping" occasionally.  Here are some simple things you can do. 

+Emptying the recycle bin:

You delete items that you no longer want, but they have not disappeared completely off your computer! They go into the Recycle Bin on the desktop, and you need to empty that periodically. An easy way is to right-click on the recycle bin, and choose "Empty Recycle Bin" from the menu. If you are not sure what you have in there, double click on the icon and have a look. If there is anything that you did not mean to put there, right click on it and choose "restore" from the menu, and the item will be returned to where it was on your computer.

In the same way you need to clean up your email occasionally. Any email you delete goes into the Deleted Items Folder. Now and again go through your Inbox, and your Sent Items, and delet those messages that you no longer need. Then go to the Edit button at the top and choose Empty Deleted Items Folder from the menu...

+Clear cache:

The cache consists of pages from the internet that you have looked at.  They are downloaded onto your computer as temporary files. You do not need these files and they take up space on your computer so it is a good idea to delete them occasionally.  They can also be a nuisance because sometimes you go to the internet to look at a news page that you know changes every day, and you are frustrated to find that you are still looking at yesterday's page.  This could well be because you are actually looking at the page in your cache from yesterday!  Clear the cache and try again.

Your Internet Explorer Cache is located in the "Temporary Internet Files" folder which is inside your "Windows" folder. The easiest way to clean out your IE cache however, is to go open your browser (Internet Explorer), go to Tools, Internet Options, and Delete Files.  (in older browsers it may be nder the View menu instead of tools.)

+Cleaning the mouse:

If you have a mouse which runs on a "ball" you will find that it accumulates lots of goo inside it and when this builds up the wheels stick and the mouse does not run smoothly. Clean it regularly.... turn it upside down, open it up (some need a screwdriver, or it may just have a  little plate to twist) and you will see the small cylinders with a buildup of stuff on them. Use a sharp edge - tweezers, long fingernail(yuck) or matchstick to scrape them clean. Then you can use alcohol to wipe down the ball, and inside the lid. You will be amazed at how smoothly it runs!


Defrag is indeed wonderful and everyone should run it at least once a month, if not once a week, depending on how much they use their computer. Defrag even speeds up your computer by putting your most-used programs "first" for faster access. But Defrag can be very frustrating if there are programs running in the background that interrupt it and cause it to restart. Make sure that there is nothing running - shut down you antivirus program and your screensaver if you have one.  Then go to Programs, Accessories, System tools, and run the defragmenter.  It is a good idea to do a clean up first...  run Disk Cleanup. Defrag can take a couple of hours... start it and then just leave it until it is finished. 

+Vacuuming your computer:

Heat is one of your computer's worst enemies, and can shorten the life span of some of your computer components. Dust, hair and other debris can accumulate in air vents and the cooling fan's air intake. You should vacuum out any air holes and the cooling fan's intake on a regular basis. A regular basis might be once a month if you have kids or pets that stir up dust, or every couple of months if you have a quieter household. The cooling fan is on the back side of the computer in most cases. You may even have two.