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The technological singularity hasn’t happened yet, which means computers still need our help. That’s why the second Monday of every February is now Clean Out Your Computer Day, dedicated to purging and updating our electronics. Here are the chores you should do for this holiday (at least until your computer becomes able to do them itself!).

Organize and Update Folders

This is pretty self-explanatory: delete information you no longer need, sort any information that is currently just lying around unsorted, and refine your organization system to reflect any changes in your work or life.  Go through everything (documents, pictures, music, and more). Make sure labels are accurate and helpful, especially when it comes to picture or downloads (you don’t know what’s in a PDF if it’s just called P83Y7M9273263).

It may take an hour or two (or even a whole day), but this definitely needs to be done. Maybe you can use this as an excuse to take the day off! Wear sweatpants, sort through old photos, and feel productive in the laziest way possible.

Scan and Uninstall

You can’t get viruses just by opening emails anymore, but they’re still out there. You probably have a malware blocker on your computer, so open it up, make sure everything is in the clear, and follow any suggestions. If you don’t have virus protection on your computer…well, you are way behind. Go get some!

Also, take the time to uninstall junky or unused software. Your computer will run faster without an ancient and unused copy of Windows Movie Maker slowing it down.

Back Up Your Data

There are lots of easy ways to do this.

  1. Use an online storage site to back up all your files. These will automatically back up your files. All you have to do is sign up and then forget about it.
  2. Use an external hard drive. Many times, when you plug in external hard drives, you’ll be asked if you want to use that drive as a backup. Tell your computer you do and it will run a backup. Run backups on your drive as often as you can remember, or leave the drive plugged in and new backups will be created automatically. If you run into problems, there are many tutorials out there explaining how to effectively use external drives.

While having either one of these plans in place is great, even better is having both. To be as safe as possible, experts recommend having three copies of a file: the original, the backup, and the backup of the backup. The first backup should be nearby for immediate fixes, but the second should be stored in a different geographic location. This ensures your information is protected even against fire, flooding, or other physical threats that would affect the first two copies.

Clean Out Your Computer Already!

So we know you’re on some sort of device that connects to the internet because you’re reading this right now. So stop what you’re doing and spend some time cleaning your computer!