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Time to Spring Clean Your Computer

Computers & Networks

You've probably noticed that spring has arrived, bringing with it the urge to clean, clean, clean. If you have an old or sluggish computer, or a

wonderful combination of both, now is a great time to sweep its insides, remove all unnecessary data and programs, and restore the machine to something close to its original state. 

By following the simple steps below, you will be able to make your computer faster at opening programs and browsing the web -- and safer to use. 

1. Back up All Your Important Files
Before you start cleaning your PC or Mac, back up all your important files, notably documents, photos, camcorder footage, emails, address book entries, and so on. You can upload files to a cloud-based service such as Carbonite, Mozy, and SoS Back-up. 

2. Clean up Your Desktop and Hard Drive
Decide which programs you don't need -- and delete them. If you use Windows, go to Control Panel, and choose Add/Remove programs. If you also have a Mac, open LaunchPad and drag and drop an app icon into Trash (Note: VIPRE is not Mac compatible) 

PC users should also right mouse-click on their C: drive and choose Properties, followed by Disk Cleanup. Mac users should go to Finder to remove files. 

3. Take Advantage of Built-in System Tools
Take advantage of built-in software to your computer and optimize performance. For example, Windows has a defragmentation tool that can help your computer run faster and better. In Windows 8, you can find the tool by searching 'defragmentation' under Files. 

If you have an old version of Windows, go to Accessories (under Program Files) and select System Tools. Run the Disk Defragmenter on your hard drive, but be patient as defragging can take a long time, hours in some cases. Don't use your PC for anything else in the meantime. 

Obviously the older your computer, and the more programs you have, the longer your startup time will be. One great way to accelerate your startup is to keep unnecessary programs from starting up. You can do this by running MSConfig. 

Built into Windows, MSConfig is a tool that troubleshoots the Windows startup process. It can disable and re-enable software, device drives and Windows services that run at startup, and can change boot parameters. 

If MSConfig does not solve your startup problems, you can always format your hard drive and re-install Windows. This requires you to fully back-up your existing files since reformatting your hard drive and re-installing Windows erases everything on your PC. 

4. Update your operating system and other software
It's also important to download the latest software updates for your operating system. Called "Windows Update" for Windows and "Software Update" for Macs, these updates provide security fixes, eliminate malware and enhance functionality. 

Those of you who have VIPRE Internet Security will benefit from Auto Update which can be set to automatically update third-party software (excluding Windows updates) that may be susceptible to malware. 

5. Install anti-malware software 
It's vital to install good antivirus and anti-spyware programs. Antivirus program detect and remove threats, such as viruses or worms. Anti-spyware software protects your computer from malicious programs that hide on your hard drive, track your web surfing activities, hijack your browser, and slow down your computer's performance. 

Make Sure Your Virus Definitions Are Up-to-date!

Running a virus scan on your computer with outdated definitions is about as useful as not running one at all. So, make sure your virus definitions are up-to-date. 

Virus definitions contain information that allows your computer to identify and remove all the latest viruses from your computer. If your definitions are outdated, the program will miss newer viruses which will leave your computer vulnerable to attack even if the results of the scan come up clean. 

VIPRE automatically updates virus definitions several times a day. The frequency of checking for updates is controlled by the Threat Definition Updates options under VIPRE settings. 

If you'd like, you can download a threat definition package and manually apply them. This can be useful when you have intermittent or no Internet access on the computer running VIPRE and wish to get virus definitions from another computer that does have internet access. 

Below are "full" threat definition packages you can download and apply. At any given time of day, there might be one or more "incremental" threat definition updates that contain the latest threats. 

To apply a threat definition package, follow these steps:

1.  Select the most recent definition file for your language using the download link to your computer

2.  Select "Save" when downloading

3.  After downloading, open VIPRE from the Start menu

4.  From the Overview panel, choose the Manage button

5.  Click "View VIPRE Updates"

6.  Press the "Manually apply definitions…" button

7.  Navigate to where you downloaded the file

8.  Select the file you downloaded and press the "Open" button

VIPRE will apply the threat definitions contained in the downloaded package. This process may take a few minutes.