Saturday, September 21

How to Use the Windows 10 Maintenance Tools

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Before you start to install third-party software to help with PC maintenance, it is worth checking out the numerous Windows 10 maintenance tools included with the OS. These are slightly spread out over several different settings menus and tool folders, but once you know where to find them, you will see that they can really help with system security and performance.

Storage Sense

Activating Storage Sense allows the system software to automatically free up storage space by getting rid of files you no longer need. These can include temporary files (cookies, etc.,) and the contents of your Recycle Bin. You can choose when files are deleted (e.g. after 30 days in the Recycle Bin) or if apps don’t use them for a certain amount of time. Alternatively you can simply click a button to “Clean Now” rather than setting automatic cleaning. You can find the Storage Sense option in Settings > System > Storage.

Background Apps

One of the easiest ways to conserve power (for laptop users) and reduce processor strain, is to take control of Background Apps. These are apps which are, by default, allowed to receive info, send notifications, and update, in the background. You can either stop all background apps with a single slider click, or you can prevent individual apps from running in the background. Go to Settings > Privacy > Background Apps, and look through the apps listed. If you see apps that you don’t need notifications or updates from, click the slider to disable its background activity.

Troubleshooters

Windows 10 includes a number of troubleshooting tools, aimed specifically at certain problems such as audio loss or patchy Internet connection. This is often the best place to start when trying to solve problems with your PC and Windows 10, as the OS contains many drivers for common devices, and may just need a small software update. You simply look through the list of troubleshooters and click on the one which applies. Choose “Run the Troubleshooter” and then follow the instructions to try to solve the problem. You can find the troubleshooters in Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.

Disk Management

The Disk Management tool is more about diagnostics than actual maintenance, but it is a useful way of checking whether your hard disk has space available and is healthy. The panel will show all of your disks, as well as all of the partitions. Each column contains information about capacity, free space in MB, % of free space, and health status. There are some further options, such as the ability to change drive letters and mark partitions as active, but they are probably not worth playing around with unless you know what you are doingmaintenance tools

Disk Tools

There are several tools built in to Windows 10 (and, indeed, in to older versions of the OS) that allow you to clean, fix and manage your hard disk. Open the File Explorer and look in the left-hand column for “This PC”. Select it, and then right-click on “Local Disk (C:)”. In the General tab, you will see a button for Disk Cleanup, which lets you get rid of temporary Internet files, old program files, etc. If you click the Tools tab, you can use the Error Checking tool and the Disk Defragment tool. Both of these tools can help your hard disk to run more efficiently. Click on either button and follow the instructions for each.

 

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Russ has been immersed in the world of technology since talking his way into a computer journalism job 25 years ago. If it is shiny, complicated and has LED's and a screen, he will want to master it.

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