Cleaning your computer to remove unwanted files and streamlining your folder system will not only free up storage space, but improve your computer’s performance.  Here’s how to clean your computer out and make sure it stays that way:
Find duplicate files
Duplicate files use up a lot of storage space.  The easiest way to find surplus files is to download a third-party app that will scan your folders for duplicate content. Here are a few tips on getting the app:
Mac: Visit the App Store on your computer and search for “duplicate cleaner.” Duplicate Cleaner For iPhoto is free and easy to use in removing double images, even if they’ve been edited.
Windows: For Windows, free Duplicate Cleaner and DupeGuru are recommended. (Note: these apps have no official Windows 10 support). They come in three versions: regular, a Music edition and a Pictures edition that can find duplicate songs and images even if the files are coded differently. For example, if you have the same music track at different bitrates, or according to www.pcmag.com if a picture has been resized or slightly edited, DupeGuru will flag it and let you decide which to keep.
Clear your system’s cache
Clearing your computer’s cache often helps speed up its performance. To clear cache, follow the following steps.
Mac: Go to Applications > Utilities>First Aid > Repair to scan and repair your hard drive. Next, search for “Mac cleaner” apps on the App Store, such as Dr. Cleaner, to clear your computer’s cache of temporary files from browsers and other programmes.
Windows: For Windows 10, search for “Disk Clean-Up” in the search box, and for Windows 8, head to the Control Panel and find Disk Clean-up. If you’re using older versions of Windows, find it in System Tools. You can then start clean-up for temporary and system files that are no longer needed.
Clear the downloads folder
The Downloads folder can be cleared of detritus such as PDFs of old documents and files. This is to clear downloads folder of unnecessary files.
Mac and Windows: Open the Downloads folder, and view its contents by file type, then go through each category and drag the unneeded files to the Trash (Mac) or Recycle Bin (Windows) or right click and select Delete (both Mac and Windows). Make sure you empty the Trash or Recycle Bin when you’re done.
Delete applications
Mac: You can delete unused programmes by dragging them from the Applications folder into the Trash. This deletes most files associated with the app, such as data generated, but not preference files and support files.
Preference files contain info about your settings in the app and are usually only a few kilobytes, while application support files can range from kilobytes to gigabytes when it comes to large media apps such as DVD Studio Pro or GarageBand.
To delete these, head to Finder, click on Macintosh HD (or Home) > Library > Application Support, where the files will be listed by app. You may even find some old files from apps you’d thought you were totally rid of.  Drag and drop them into the trash to delete.
Only delete files from apps you know you deleted, otherwise you may end up deleting crucial files. Alternately, try out AppZapper, which lets you delete five apps and all their associated files for free.
Windows: Windows PCs have an uninstall feature that removes everything associated with an app, so on all versions of Windows, head to Control Panel > Programmes and Features, select a programme and select uninstall.
Although some programmes may leave behind settings info in the registry, a database of configuration settings, the data is minimal and Microsoft recommends not modifying the registry unless you really know what you’re doing.
Defragment
Disk fragmentation occurs as a file system loses its ability to keep related data together, causing the hard drive to work harder to bring up data related to current tasks, thus slowing down performance.
In general, Mac computers don’t need to be defragged, especially newer Mac laptops that have solid state drives (SSD) because they use a different method of maintaining data. Windows 8 and Windows 10 automatically run a Disk Defrag (now called disk optimization) on a weekly schedule for machines with hard drives.
Clean spyware and trackers
It’s possible that in the course of your Internet browsing, you acquired some trackers, spyware or even minor viruses.  It’s a good idea to run a scan of your system with an anti-malware programme.
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