Celebrated on the second Monday in February, National Clean Out Your Computer Day is on February 10th this year. What better way to get a jump start on your spring cleaning than cleaning the devices that you use almost daily: your PC — or even your smartphone.

Tip #1: Back up your data.

In the past, backing up meant making a copy and moving it to a separate physical location like an external hard drive or thumb drive. These days, however, users can easily back up and store their files on the cloud. Whichever method you choose, consider backing up your computer, or smartphone, at least once per week. If you are constantly adding new files, consider backing up your data even more frequently.

 

Tip #2: Keep malware at bay.

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself against malware is using antivirus software, which protects against common malware, viruses, and web threats like identity theft and financial theft. Fortunately, both free and paid plans are available for download online. Additionally, when you’re surfing the web, consider using an ad or pop up blocker, a type of software that filters out intrusive ads, potentially blocking malicious sites and trackers.

 

Tip #3: Delete unused programs and run updates.

Other useful tips include deleting unused programs and applications and performing routine maintenance. This is extremely important because software that is not regularly updated is susceptible to malware, security bugs, and more. An even better practice is to occasionally go through your apps and programs and delete ones that you are no longer using. This will not only clear up your storage to make your computer run faster but also limit the scope in which malware can hide in.

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