How to Clean Up Your Computer & Make it Run Faster

By Kefa Olang

Updated September 28, 2017

The more you use your computer to download, save or transfer content, the slower it becomes, so running optimization tools can clean up your computer and make it run faster. Performing optimization and maintenance steps can increase your computer's longevity and improve overall performance. With Windows computers, several cleanup and repair tools are at your disposal. These tools, which come with the operating system, remove unnecessary files and repair the hard disk to increase speed.

Disk Cleanup

Click the "Start" button, type "Disk Cleanup" (without quotes) in the search field, and then click "Disk Cleanup" from the list of results. If prompted, enter your administrator password to launch the Disk Cleanup tool.

Click your computer's hard drive from the Drives list and click "OK." Windows analyzes the hard drive and displays a list of file types that are safe to delete.

Click the check boxes next to the file types you want to delete and click "OK." Click the "Delete Files" button to confirm your selection. Windows deletes the unnecessary files automatically.

Disk Defragmentation

Click the "Start" button and type "Disk Defragmenter" in the search field. Click "Disk Defragmenter" from the list of results, and enter your administrator password if Windows asks for it.

Select your hard disk under "Current status," and then click the "Analyze" button to determine if your hard disk needs to be defragmented. Wait for Windows to analyze the disk. When the process completes, locate the Last Run column. If the number in this column is above 10 percent, defragment your disk.

Click "Defragment disk" and enter your administrator password if Windows asks for it. The defragmentation process starts automatically. The defragmentation process may take several minutes or hours depending on the extent of the fragmentation.

Error Checking Utility

Click the "Start" button and click "Computer" to launch Windows Explorer.

Right-click the "C:" drive and click "Properties." Click the "Tools" tab and click the "Check now" button under Error-checking.

Enter your administrator password if Windows asks for it, and then click the "Automatically fix file system errors" check box for Windows to automatically repair your hard disk. Click the "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" check box to perform a thorough check for physical errors on the drive. Select both check boxes to check for and repair file and physical errors.

Click the "Start" button to run the disk repair utility. The utility runs automatically and repairs disk problems. The disk check utility attempts to repair physical errors automatically.


Plug a flash drive or memory card into your computer.

Click the "Speed up my system" button that appears in the Autoplay dialog box that launches when Windows detects the removal drive. The drive's Properties dialog box launches.

Click the "ReadyBoost" tab and click the "Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost."

Click "OK" to save your changes.


Run frequent virus and malware scans to delete dangerous files such as Trojans, viruses and spyware that cause system problems. To improve detection, always update your security programs before running system scans.

It's safe to use your computer during a disk defragmentation process.

Use the Windows Update tool to install the latest system updates. System updates can include updated software and drivers to improve your computer's performance.

When you enable ReadyBoost, Windows leaves the files stored on the removal drive and uses the storage space on the device to boost your system speed.


Do not use your computer for any other tasks while the disk repair utility is running. Results with ReadyBoost vary and it may not speed up your computer.