First Line’s customers often ask our IT help desk and IT engineers for simple advice on how to keep their computers and other technology systems running smoothly. We thought this would make a helpful blog post but it turned into such a monster, we’ve divided it out into a series of posts.

Here are the first two of five things you can do to keep your PC in good working order:

1. Empty the Recycle Bin on your desktop

Look on your computer’s desktop and you’ll see an icon on it, probably towards the top left hand corner, called ‘Recycle Bin’. For Mac’s, this is the bin the right hand corner of the screen. When you delete documents and other files, this is where they go.

You can see that the bin looks different when it’s empty from when there’s something in it.

The difficulty is that, as you put more and more into the bin, the icon doesn’t change any further. So a recycle bin with just one item in it looks just the same as a recycle bin that’s got hundreds in it.

And a recycle bin with hundreds of items in it, or even ten big ones, can slow down your computers performance significantly. So it’s good practice to empty it regularly – at least every month. To do this, just put your mouse over the recycle bin and click the right hand mouse-button.

Just click, and you’re done.

2. Empty the Deleted Items folder in Microsoft Outlook

Deleting big emails in Microsoft Outlook and then not emptying the Deleted Items folder can cause similar problems as not emptying the Recycle Bin on your desktop.

And it’s easy to forget to empty it because the folder only changes if it contains unread emails.

As with the Recycle Bin on your desktop, we’d advise you empty the Deleted Items folder once a month or so; or more often if you delete lots of big emails!

3. Checking Your Computer for Suspicious Software

It’s not uncommon for cyber criminals to find a backdoor into your PC hardware through attaching malware to something you thought was an intentional download. As you’ll know, malware or spyware are harmful computer softwares that can compromise your hardware and attack IT cyber security systems.

Often, these types of softwares use a lot of the PC or laptops resources, so a telling sign can sometimes be very slow speed by your device.

To check this on Windows computers, go to Settings, then Update & Security then Windows Security and then Open Windows Security. Click the Virus & Threat Protection, then Quick Scan to scan your Windows PC for any malware.

For MACs or MacBooks, Go to the Applications folder via Go, have a look through the list and delete any suspicious applications.
Also, be sure to empty your trash, too.

For more Cyber Security advice, take a look at our cyber security services.

Coming up next: what is “defragging the disk”, and why should I do it?