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Data Housekeeping

Is your device slower than usual, and getting slower by the day? It might be time to try some data housekeeping.

Data Housekeeping is the process of keeping your device clear of unnecessary data, which helps it to run more efficiently. Unnecessary data takes many forms and hides in many places -- the first two places we check are the downloads folder and the trash or recycling bin. Most people only store temporary data in the downloads folder, and it should be emptied routinely. As for the trash or recycling bin on your device, you can choose to manually empty it, or schedule routine, automatic deletion! If you need assistance setting up automatic deletion, or you would prefer to sit with a tech to tackle long-overdue data housekeeping procedures, we encourage you to visit our storefront in historic downtown Ames!

While deleting old and unnecessary files is a critical part of data housekeeping, the real trick to keeping your computer working at its best is to take preventative action. The best way to maintain your data hygiene is to be cautious of what you download on your device -- this serves the additional purpose of lowering your chances of acquiring malware! Malware often hides in seemingly harmless files downloaded to your computer, so it’s important to be wary of anything you download off the internet.



Establishing a data hygiene routine is critical to maintaining system health. You should be able to locate and recognize every user file on your device. User files are files that you put on your device, be it from internet downloads or transferred from physical media, such as a thumb drive or disk. If data is located in your user files (desktop, downloads, documents, pictures, music, videos) and you don’t know what it is, or you never use it, delete it! When downloading new files, get into the habit of saving them to the correct folder so that you can easily locate them later. Rather than letting both important and unimportant files reside in the downloads folder or on the desktop, get into the habit of moving files that you want to keep into the appropriate folders. Creating new folders to house related files is a great way to organize your user data!


In your files, right click any blank space, mouse over 'New' and select 'Folder' to create new, custom folders for your files

File management makes up the majority of the data housekeeping process, but routine backups & scans for malware are excellent additions to your data hygiene routine. Like the process of deleting files from the trash or recycling bin, backups & malware scans can be performed manually or scheduled to occur automatically. If you need help performing any of these tasks or managing your device’s automated schedules we recommend that you visit our storefront and speak with a tech, as the process varies somewhat depending on your operating system.


Just as you conduct routine cleaning on yourself, your home, and your belongings, you should make time to conduct routine data housekeeping on your computer. Unnecessary files take up valuable space on your device, which can affect its performance and even decrease its lifespan. As discussed in the Data Recovery & Backups newsletter, mechanical hard drives fail over time, be it because of a physical failure or a problem with the data. If your device is over-full with data, it can significantly reduce the lifespan of your drive. Though mechanical hard drives are prone to faster failure, solid state drives are not immune to the effects of data corruption. Filling your device to capacity with unnecessary data slows down your computer and expedites data corruption and drive failure.


A 'Low Disk Space' warning means its time to free up some space

If you need help establishing a data housekeeping routine that works for you, or you notice a slow-down in performance on your device, we can help! Whether we perform a tune-up,

manage routine procedures, or work with you in a one-on-one lesson to tame unruly data and prepare you going forward, we’re here to provide expert help to the Ames community. We are always ecstatic to see users take steps to ensure the longevity and functionality of their device!

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