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If you’re setting personal and professional habits in the new year, you may be overlooking one important area: your digital life! January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and a great time to tidy up your digital space and create new digital organization habits. You don’t need to work in IT to be savvy about computer organization. With a few tips from our team, you can clean up your files and establish habits that make your life a little easier.
Evaluate your computer programs.

Many programs come preinstalled when you purchase a computer, and you may have added a few of your own too. Computer programs take up a hefty amount of storage space on your computer, so it’s a good practice to uninstall ones you no longer use. If you have a computer with limited storage, you may also consider removing programs you rarely use. Remember, you can always take a couple of minutes to reinstall a program if you find you need it in the future. If your computer program organization is in tip-top shape and you have none to uninstall, take this time to check for program updates to make sure you’re benefiting from the latest features.

Delete unnecessary and duplicated files.

When was the last time you cleaned out your computer’s downloads folder? Chances are, you have a lot of files in the folder that you no longer need or have stored in another location. It’s an excellent digital habit to delete your downloaded files after using them or moving them to their new home to reduce the number of duplicated and unnecessary files that take up valuable computer storage space. In addition to your downloads folder, check for files you can delete off your desktop and from other folders too. Let’s be honest, could your photos folder use a little attention? With today’s phones, it’s easy to take twenty photos of the same event or person. Choose the best photos and get rid of the rest! As you delete unnecessary files and photos, you can also use this time to consolidate your files into folders to make it easier to locate what you need.

Bonus tip: Make sure you empty your computer’s trash when you’re ready to permanently delete your files!

Determine your backup storage solution.

After you’ve cleaned up your computer files, it’s time to make sure they are properly stored so you reduce the risk of losing important documents and media. If your files exist only on your computer and your computer crashes, you could lose precious photos and valuable documents. We recommend storing your important files in two or three locations. Explore Cloud-based storage back-up solutions like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. Additionally, you can back up your files to an external hard drive or M-Disc. An external hard drive typically has a larger storage capacity than an M-Disc, but an M-Disc is better for keeping your files in their best quality. Take some time to research each of these options to determine which solution you feel is best for you based on your user experience preferences, budget and storage capacity needs.

Determine ongoing organization processes and create a schedule for computer clean-up.

Cleaning up your computer at the beginning of the year is a great way to kick-off good organization habits, but maintaining a tidy digital space requires established processes for keeping your computer in its best shape. After you’ve removed computer programs and files and backed up everything important, it’s time to decide how you will keep your computer tidy. We recommend creating a system of monthly, quarterly and yearly tasks. Manually back up your files monthly if you haven’t chosen an automatic backup solution. Sort through your computer folders and delete duplicates and unnecessary files quarterly. Uninstall any programs you no longer need yearly.

We hope these tasks help you tidy up your computer and keep your digital life a bit more organized this year! For more tech tips please follow Patriot Talent Solutions on Facebook and LinkedIn. If you work in IT and are interested in learning about IT job opportunities, please check out our job board. Our IT recruitment team is based in Knoxville, Tennessee and Tampa, Florida, and we help match IT professionals with companies throughout the Southeast.