The end of the year is the perfect time to do a maintenance checkup on your computer as businesses pause a bit before picking up steam again at the start of the year. That’s when you really need your PC humming along with optimal performance, which can boost productivity. Just follow this list and you’ll be on your way to a painless PC cleanup.

1. Perform a complete system backup, first and foremost. This way, if something goes wrong during the rest of your cleaning, you can easily restore your system to its original start point.

2. Clean up your desktop. Get rid of unwanted icons and make sure the ones remaining are the ones you need and want. By eliminating unwanted or unneeded icons and organizing the rest, you’ll more easily navigate your desktop.

3. Empty your trash. It is just that — trash — that clogs your hard drive. You should also set up an automatic weekly or monthly reminder in your calendar for you to empty it.

Young Woman Using A Touch Screen Interface 
4. Delete the deleted emails that are in your mailbox. With their various attachments, you might be amazed how much disk space deleted emails can occupy.

5. Delete duplicate or unneeded files on your computer. While you’re at it, you should also organize your files. There is a wide range of utilities available to help you do this automatically.

6. Uninstall any unused programs. These also can be huge in size and therefore a drain on storage resources.

7. Run all updates for all applications and update all drivers. It is crucial to keep highly used programs up to date, especially Windows, your internet browser, Adobe® Acrobat® and JavaScript. And of course, be certain your security software is totally up to date. When it comes to drivers, you can easily set your PC to have drivers update automatically with Windows update.

8. Run the check disk utility (chkdsk). It helps find and repair problems that may exist on your PC. If you’re running Windows 7, just go to the Start button, then type “chkdsk” in the search bar to find this utility.

9. Perform a disk cleanup. You can launch it right from Windows, and it will find files that can be deleted without affecting your computer.

10. Finally, defragment your hard drive. This rearranges data and files on the disk so that the PC can get to the data much faster. But, do this last as many of the other items above can impact the defragging process.

For more information on getting your PC in tip-top running condition, go to