Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year

Starting out fresh and leaving all the stuff you didn’t want behind in 2010? Your computer needs a fresh start too. 

 Here are four things you can do to start off your technical year great.
1.       Computer Checkup  ( Half hour total time)
a.       Run Malwarebytes     Download Here
b.      Run CCLeaner              Download Here
Just download these two programs and run them to clean up anything that might have taken up residence on your computer over the last year.  If you do this regularly that is a very good thing. I would recommend running them every couple of months.

2.       Back up your Data offsite.  ( 15 minutes to set up – initial backup takes a while)
a.       Carbonite (off site backup)
I recommend both an onsite (local) backup and an offsite (remote) backup to insure the data you need is available.  This is very easy to download, install and use.  I have had great success with this online service and it is very affordable: one computer is only $55 a year.   

3.       Clean up your Outlook Email (ok, this one will take a while if you never do anything)
a.       Create a folder structure to move email you want to save
b.      Create email rules to handle incoming mail (Tools>Rules & Alerts)
c.       Check each folder to see if older items can be deleted
d.      Empty your Deleted folder ( I would get rid of anything before 11/31/2010)
e.      Archive old email – this reduces the size of your email folder
This is time consuming but a great organizational exercise.  If you create the folders and then create rules to move the mail to them when they arrive, you will then have items where they belong and have less work. 
4.       My Documents:  Clean up and Organize (ok,  this one is a tough one)
Just as you do every year with your regular file cabinet, you need to organize and purge your computer files.  Create folders called “Unsure if I Need” and   “Files to Delete”.   Then just go through your "My Documents" folder one folder at a time.  Sort files by date descending and look at all your dated items and move them to the appropriate folders.  This is a good time to create new folders to organize what you have and what you will have left is an organized current file system. 
Yes, it can be overwhelming and time consuming but the overall health of your computer and systems will make your life easier.  The first three were easy but I continually spend about 10 minutes each day and take a section of  “My Documents”   to make sure I have my files in order. 

Good Luck and Happy New Year…

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