Spring Cleaning – not just for Windows

Posted: March 30, 2008 in computers, software
Tags: , ,

As so often happens, art imitates life or in my case, art is inspired by life, if you can call blogging art that is. i may be stretching the definition a bit.
As the weather warms up and the snow finally recedes enough you can start to see green again – or at least brownish green of grass that is dormant, my mind, like many i know begins to turn to getting outside, enjoying the weather and starting the onerous task of cleaning up the yard and exterior of the house for the coming spring. Many times though mother nature fools you into thinking its warmer than it is and you end up heading out with the best intentions only to be thwarted by still frozen ground. This is when that energy needs to get harnessed to handle inside spring cleaning, which is what i have started, but also, something that i like to do to my macs as well.

Most of the following refers to Macs, but windows users do need to follow some of these maintenance tips as well. Many people do not leave their macs running overnight so the CRON jobs don’t get done. I’m guilty of that, so i use MainMenu (

) to do it manually once in a while. I typically fire up MainMenu and run the three CRON jobs and then clear all the caches and restart my Mac once every couple of weeks.

Another overlooked item is the sent folder of your email, depending upon settings and email provider of course. I’m very good at moving and deleting messages that are in my inbox. Filing them away as needed and getting rid of the unnecessary and junk files, but forget about the bloating sent folder that is in need of a good purge. For me its like a walk down memory road, seeing all the sent emails from the past however long and weeding through them to move the important ones out to appropriate folders and then delete the non-essential emails left after all the reviewing and moving has taken place. Not only will this make it easier to find the emails you may be looking for later, but all those old emails with attachments could be hogging harddrive space if you are using a POP client.

Another place that needs attention is your application folder. As you live with your computer in day to day life, you are bound to install and try out numerous apps that may become useful and probably more still that you try out and quickly decide are not what you were looking for, or possibly have every intention of using but in the end just become space-hogs and forgotten. Again, time for a spring cleanup. Take a look through your Applications folder (Program Files directory for windows users) and check to see which programs have not been used in a long time. This is mostly true of downloaded freeware or shareware, and not normally your purchased programs, because hopefully you knew what you wanted when you bought them. Really consider if they are something you need, and if not delete them, if unsure – you may want to move them into a separate folder for potential deletion in a few months if they go unused. Don’t forget to check your Application Support folder too – many apps put info in there that gets left behind when you delete the actual program.

One last place that needs some TLC once in a while is your bookmarks folder. This is not a big space-hog, but typically gets very cluttered with favorites or bookmarks that you never use, and then when you do go to find a specific one you end up wadding through tons of unused bookmarks to find the one you need, wasting time. Spend a few minutes and go through them deleting the ones you don’t use and organize the other in a way that makes sense for you, because no matter what you are doing – time is money and saving time can be just as important as saving space.

If you can remember to take the time once a year to clear out the clutter, run some maintenance routines, and pare-down your email, you should see a speed improvement, a leaner cleaner machine, and it’ll save you some hard drive space which is always a good thing.

– TCG
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