Spring Cleaning for Your Digital Life

by on ‎04-08-2013 08:00 AM

When I was a young working mother and email was still relatively new, there was a popular e-newsletter with easy household cleaning ideas for harried moms (and dads). Each day, you’d get a tip or an idea of something in the house to clean or organize. The idea was if you addressed one or two items per day, you’d never get overwhelmed and your house would have minimal clutter and mess. At least that was the idea, since I’d usually ignore the emails for days at a time and then go overboard in a frenzy of once-a-month cleaning.1-shutterstock_69658996.jpg

 

These days, we’re a much more organized family, and with the kids helping us (and the regular weekly visit from our cleaning person), we’ve got the dust bunnies and cobwebs at bay, the laundry folded and put away and the hint of lemon scented furniture polish in the air. Where I still need to stay on top of household chores is with our computers and our so-called “digital life.” Whether it’s emptying my trash folder, running a full security scan or making sure our family photos are backed up, I try not to let digital devices slip off my list of things to clean and maintain.

 

It’s a good idea to expand the traditional concept of spring cleaning to include a cleanup for your digital life. While I don’t think any of us needs a daily email with a reminder for cleaning or organizing our computers and data, I think it’s a great idea to set aside some time for minor digital cleaning tasks and then set up a system for the lengthy chores to run automatically another time. Think how great you’ll feel knowing you’ve secured your family’s most important files and photos – and know how to find them!

 

If we don’t do regular maintenance, it’s easy for our devices to get disorganized, run out of memory or just become annoying to work with. A poorly functioning computer might open programs slowly or seem to get stuck when you open another file. Additionally, computers can fail and storage formats can become disused so it’s important to back up copies of whatever is most important to your family.1-shutterstock_15004441.jpg

 

Thinking more about the physical situation of your computer and work area, are you satisfied with how everything in your home office is configured? Do you have a spaghetti mess of cables and cords under the desk? Do you know if your computer is running efficiently or overheating? Do you have a fully functioning printer/scanner? Do you know how to move images from your camera, phone or tablet to your computer? And don’t forget to occasionally wipe smartphones (and their cases), monitors, keyboards, mice and touch screens free of fingerprints and germs!

 

Most of these tasks, while not always fun to complete, are pretty easy to handle yourself. But sometimes a good cleaning can uncover issues you can’t resolve on your own. In these instances, NortonLive Services can be a great option. NortonLive Services experts are well-versed on a range of issues affecting computers, printers, scanners, MP3 players and digital cameras. NortonLive experts can figure out what’s wrong with your stuff and fix it, right over the Internet – 24/7, 365 days a year. This team is so good that it recently received two Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service!1-shutterstock_126187337.jpg

 

Here are a few easy ways to get started on spring tech cleaning:

  1. Clean up the icons on your desktop. Why? Having lots of icons on your desktop can slow down your computer’s boot up time. Removing an icon just removes a shortcut but shouldn’t remove a file or program from the computer.
  2. Get rid of unneeded files. Look at your recycle bin, deleted or old email, old calendar entries, unused apps, even your downloaded files folder.
  3. Uninstall programs you don’t use. You may need to reboot in between efforts.
  4. Consolidate and organize your media. Place photos and music into labeled folders so they’re easy to find and then put those folders into a single master folder. Your media program should help you locate every .jpg, .bmp, mp3 or other media format you have on your device.
  5. Back up photos and important documents (like copies of old tax returns, scanned family history documents) to an online location or external hard drive. Make sure at least one copy of all important photos and documents “lives” somewhere other than your home.
  6. Update your passwords and make sure each one is unique and complex.
  7. Check in on your privacy settings to make sure you’re sharing only the information you want and nothing you don’t. NortonLive Facebook Privacy Protection is a useful service that can help you easily navigate these ever-changing policies and protect yourself.
  8. Update your Internet security software (it must be comprehensive internet security and not just antivirus) and make sure it’s set to run regularly. If you find you have a virus or security issue, NortonLive experts can remotely detect and remove deeply rooted viruses, spyware and other dangerous malware with Virus & Spyware Removal.
  9. Or make your computer run like new again with a service like PC Power Boost that cleans up, tunes up and speeds up your computer. 1-shutterstock_109080443.jpg

 

Happy spring cleaning!

Comments
by huskybytes on ‎09-06-2013 12:36 PM

Just uninstalled several PC games I no longer play. Noticed a SHARE on the /Alawar folder. Should I be concerned? Noticed that since using Google Chrome for an internet browser, key strokes take longer to process and I frequently get 'unresponsive' should I WAIT or KILL the Page???

 

Never saw this with Internet Explorer before v9.0. 

comment?

About the Author
  • Norton's Internet Safety Advocate. I write and speak about issues impacting the online security and safety of kids and families.