How to Clean Up a Computer When It's Running Slow & Crashing

By Holly Case

Regular maintenance keeps a computer running efficiently.
i Mensch und Computer image by Sven Rausch from

Perfectly good computers can seem old before their time if regular tune-ups aren't performed. Computers may run slow because of temporary Internet files and spyware left behind as a result of visiting web pages, disk errors and fragmented files. Old files and unused programs also take up space on a computer that make it take longer to run the programs you want. Computers can run more efficiently if simple steps are taken to optimize their performance.

Remove Unused Files

Step 1

Each time you visit a website it leaves behind a temporary Internet file allowing the page to load faster the next time you visit, and these temporary files bog down a computer's operation. To remove them in Windows, right-click on Start and click on Explore. Click to highlight your computer C drive (C:/) and click on find/search. Type in *tmp, and this will pull up any temporary files you can delete. Click ctrl+ A if you want to delete all files, or delete them one by one. To do this from Internet Explorer instead, you can also go to Tools in the upper right corner, click on Delete Browsing History and then click "Delete Temporary Files."

Step 2

Open your Documents folder. Decide if any files or folders are unneeded. Click on any files you don't need and click delete.

Step 3

Find programs you are no longer using and uninstall them. Right-click "Start," and click "Control Panel." Click "Add/Remove Programs," and choose the programs you want to uninstall. It will ask you if you're sure you want to delete the program; click "Yes."

Step 4

Run Disk Defragmenter. Computers store fragments of files which take up a lot of space. In Windows, click "Start," click on "All Programs," then "System Tools" and "Disk Defragmenter." Running the disk defragmentation process generally takes a couple hours and should be done monthly at minimum.

Step 5

Run Disk Cleanup. Click "Start," point to "All Programs," then "Accessories," then "System Tools" and finally click on "Disk Cleanup." After the Disk Cleanup program runs, a dialog box pops up with a list of files that you can delete. Click in the boxes, making a check mark next to each file you want to delete. Then click "OK" to delete. A prompt will ask if you are sure you want to delete the files; click "Yes."