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Basic Method for Cleaning Your Personal Computer

Updated on August 13, 2017

This is one of the most common questions asked by computer users. How do I clean my computer? How do I know when to clean my computer? We will discuss these topics within this post. Most people associate cleaning a computer with freeing up space and making sure the computer is running at its optimal performance, as well as, free of malware, but cleaning the physical computer itself is just as important. I will be discussing both aspects within this hub.

Does this look familiar? Is your laptop dusty? Is there food particles in the keyboard?

Image of a Dirty Laptop
Image of a Dirty Laptop | Source

It's important to keep your physical computer clean and free of dust to ensure that the moving parts and vents are free of particles for optimal performance and to improve the overall lifespan of the device.

So, if your computer is dusty, has food particles on the keyboard, or has a sheet of dust on the vents grab some canned air and blow out that layer of dust from the vents. Grab some lens or screen cleaner with a lint free cloth and give the computer a good wipe down. Cleaning your computer starts with ensuring the physical computer itself is clean and in good working order.

The cons to having a physically dirty computer

  1. If the vents are dusty the computer has an increased chance of overheating and possibly causing severe damage to the internal mechanisms of the computer hardware. If your computer is a laptop do not cover the vents when you have the laptop resting on your lap, this can cause overheating. If your computer is a desktop make sure you leave a minimum of an inch gap completely around the desktop itself. If the gap is not large enough this could lead to the computer overheating as well.
  2. If you have a bad habit of eating over your keyboard you increase the potential of getting crumbs and other particles in between the keys of the keyboard. Getting particles stuck underneath the keys of the keyboard leads to keys sticking and potentially worst, keys not working. So, don't eat or drink over your keyboard and dust your keyboard off every once in a while.
  3. Every wonder why your monitor color is dull or hard to see? This could be due to a thin ... or a thick layer of dust on your monitor. Wipe down the monitor with a lint free cloth with some lens or screen cleaner. You will be surprised at how much brighter your screen may appear.
  4. Is your battery not lasting as long as it used to? Try removing the battery. Once, you have removed the battery you will see gold in color connectors (could be silver too) both on the battery and inside where the battery sits. Take a q tip dipped in rubbing alcohol and gently clean both the battery connectors and the connectors where the battery sits within the laptop. These connectors can get dirty and degrade the performance of the battery, as well as, the life of the battery.

How To Clean Your Computer

Now for the big question, cleaning your computer and checking it over. If you find your computer is not running at its optimal speed or just not performing as you would like, more than likely you need to do some cleanup (freeing up disk space or removing unwanted temporary or cached files).

You could take your computer to a professional to have them clean it and check the computer over, but I will honestly tell you they will overcharge you for doing very little work. First, they will likely charge you a diagnostic fee just to review the computer then charge for labor and any other hidden fees they want to make up. Cleaning your own computer is not difficult and I will walk you through how to clean your own Windows based computer, and save you money.

Uninstall Unused Programs or Useless Programs

The first step is to open Programs and Features. You can open Programs and Features, for Windows 10, by clicking on the Start button, type in Control Panel, press Enter.


If you are viewing the Control Panel by Category click on Programs. If you are viewing the Control Panel by Small Icons click on Programs and Features.


Once you have the Programs and Features Window open, go ahead and review the installed programs on your computer. If you see programs you no longer use uninstall the programs. If you see tool bars such as Bing tool bar, Yahoo tool bar, or Ask tool bar go ahead and uninstall these programs they are useless programs that eat up valuable space and waste memory.

Free Up Disk Space

The second step is to free up disk space. Your computer downloads temporary files and other useless files that are cached, so you need to purge these useless files every so often. Again, click on the Windows Start button and type in Disk Clean up, press Enter.


The Disk Cleanup window should open. Click on the Cleanup system files button, provide administrative credentials if needed.


After the Clean up system files finishes the Disk Cleanup for Windows (C:) will open back up. Place a check mark in each check box listed within the list view box, and press OK to begin the cleanup process of the C-drive.


A dialog box will appear, press the Delete Files button, and wait for the Disk Cleanup to finish processing. The window will automatically close when the cleanup process is complete.

Here is a video overview of the above disk clean up method for you visual learners

Next is the advanced method

In the next hub, I will show you advanced methods for cleaning your personal computer, where we learn to complete a deeper clean of the computer, fix registry errors, remove junkware, remove adware, and remove potential malware.

Advanced Methods for Cleaning Your Personal Computer

© 2017 James Wassinger


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