Put your PC on a New Year’s diet

Many people are currently making resolutions to slim down in 2013, but have you considered also putting your computer on a well-deserved New Year’s diet? A slow, bloated computer can lead to frustration and less time doing the things you love – definitely a problem if you’ve resolved to stress less and spend more time on hobbies and with loved ones in the New Year.

Here are 10 quick tips to whip your computer back into shape:

Put your PC on a New Year's diet
Tidy up your desktop.

A computer desktop screen full of files is messy and makes things difficult to find. Create a new folder for the files and folders on the desktop that you don’t frequently access. This will clear off your desktop, while keeping the files handy until you have time to sort through them.

Move big files to an external hard drive.

It’s like giving those extra holiday kilograms to a friend, but without having to deal with any hurt feelings. A hard drive is also a great way to back up your most important files.

Clean up your multimedia.

Remember those movies you loved so much that you saved the files so you could watch them again? And … have you? If the answer is “No,” into the trashcan can they go!

Give your browser a boost.

With the Opera web browser compression technology, Opera Turbo, you can load webpages up to five times faster than with other browsers. If you are stuck on a sluggish connection, get crowded out in a busy Wi-Fi area, rely on 3G cards or use a laptop connected to your phone, activate turbo mode to keep your browsing zooming.

Declutter your email.

If you don’t keep junk in your house, don’t hoard it in your inbox either. Start with your oldest messages, which are usually the least relevant now, and get deleting. Also, try searching the inbox for sources from which you regularly receive newsletters that are now outdated.

Defragment your disk.

Disk fragmentation is one of the most common reasons for slow performance on a computer. In Windows, click the Start button and go to All Programs > Accessories > System Tools on older versions of Windows. In Windows 8, open the Search, enter Defragment, and go to Settings > Defragment and optimize your drives.

Remove autostart programs.

To make programs start only when you want, use the Start Menu in Windows Vista and Windows 7 to type “msconfig”. Open the msconfig.exe program link, where you can deselect autostart programs. In Windows 8, click Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager, select the Startup tab and disable any item you don’t want to launch automatically. Mac users can go to System Preferences > Users & Groups/Accounts > Login Items to deselect programs.

Run a virus/malware scan.

If you are an Opera user, add the WOT (Web of Trust) and Ghostery extensions. WOT uses a traffic-light system to rate the trustworthiness of the websites you visit, and Ghostery detects tracking and web bugs. Also, consider buying antivirus software and scanning your computer for malware.

Clear out the temp files on your computer.

In your computer’s Download or Temp Files folders, delete the files you no longer need. You can also remove all the temporary files in your browser. In Opera, just select Delete Private Data (the second option under “Tools”), and it will show you what needs to go, including cookies, browsing history or the entire cache. Consider keeping your tabs and passwords, to let you browse faster.

Physically clean your computer.

Use the right cleaners and get it looking like new again. If you have had your computer more than few months, it’s also time to clean the inside of your machine. Open it and use a can of compressed air to dust the interior parts carefully, especially the fan and heat sink over the processor. Remember not to touch any interior parts.

“These few, simple ideas will get your PC back into shape, so you can start 2013 more efficiently,” says Tiago Pregueiro Jeronimo, Product Manager for Desktop Products, Opera Software. “Once it feels like new, you can start setting your personal resolutions and spend more time on the things you really love. With a slimmed-down PC, it’ll be much easier to tackle the new year.”