Time For Some Spring Cleaning!

Yes, even your computer needs some spring cleaning! But where to begin?

Like real-world spring cleaning, sometimes it’s an overwhelming task that doesn’t have any clear entry point. Simply looking at hard disk space, email, photos, bookmarks, cookies, and cache, etc. makes it easy to put it off. Yet, there are some physical limitations that may be compromised if you don’t a little time to handle this task now.

So – I’ve found the easiest way to handle this non-fun task is to break it up into smaller chunks, and handle one thing at a time. Of course, once you finish, making the effort to do it more often will make it more palatable and less of a task.

First of all, the best way to start is reclaim space on your hard drive (a.k.a internal storage). The places to clean out are all inside your HOME folder:

• Documents Folder: This is a place where, well, your documents are stored. A lot of old documents may be in there. A big space hog is the MICROSOFT USER DATA folder. If you haven’t kept up with things, this folder may be huge. BUT – don’t throw out the entire folder! You’ll want to throw out the Office 2008 Identities and Office 2011 Identities (or even the Office 2004 Identities folder if you’ve been slacking) ONLY if you’re using Office 365.

• Downloads Folder: This is the repository of stuff you’ve downloaded. Usually, it contains photos sent to you and statements from banks and credit cards. But – it also contains the installers you’ve downloaded when you’ve put new programs or apps on your Mac – Google Chrome and Zoom, among others. You can toss out the installers – the software is already on your computer. And delete any pictures and/or statements you don’t want to save.

• Pictures Folders: If you’re now using PHOTOS, you may have a derelict iPhoto library languishing in your pictures folder. IF you’ve updated to Photos, that iPhoto library is only taking up space. Plus, there may be some scans that have saved to that folder. You can weed through those and delete what is no longer relevant.

• Library Folder: This is going where angels fear to tread. The Library folder is a hidden folder for a reason. Mess with the wrong directory and it’s big trouble. BUT – if you dare, there are a couple of places to check out. First of all, the CACHES folder. You can toss everything in there (but NOT the folder itself) – and quite often that helps speed up the computer. Also, in the APPLICATION SUPPORT folder, there’s MOBILE SYNC. That folder contains backups of iPhones and iPad that have been backed up to that computer. Unfortunately, they’re not listed by name (only by a series of random numbers), so you can’t see “which” devices are backed up there, but by the “date modified,” you can make an accurate assertion of whether it’s a current device or one that’s long gone.

And, of course, don’t forget to empty the trash (pull down FINDER menu and select EMPTY TRASH) after you’ve done all this.

As far as email goes, check out my blog post on that subject HERE.