Your computer is probably no better off than your basement or garage. There are old items you no longer use just sitting around, taking up space. Just as the basement gets disorganized, you have to clean it by organizing all the stuff and getting rid of anything no longer needed. That is the idea behind "defragmenting," which makes your computer more efficient.
Make room on your hard disk (hard drive) by scanning for corrupt or risky files that might have attached itself to something you pulled off the Internet. Take care in selecting as many files as you can to delete. If you are not using it and probably never will, get rid of it. You can install a virus protection program like Norton. Their anti-virus software program is considered to be safe and one of the best (see Resources). Make certain your firewall is turned on. Upgrade anything you may need in the future, like your media player or any new version of your Internet browser. Use Add/Remove Programs to uninstall any old software (or other programs).
Back It Up
Make back up disks for all of your digital photos that you have stored on your computer. Do the same for your music as these files can take up a lot of space. Put movies and texts onto disks as well. This will help you find what you want to keep on your hard drive and what you may want to purge. Store all of your back up DVDs, CDs and software in a cool dry place. Take time now to do everything you need to on the computer. Check e-mails, get the information you just can't live without and prepare yourself to say goodbye to your computer for a little while.
Time to Defragment
Go to your system menu in windows and chose the "Disk Defragmenter" icon. Look for a little puzzle. Select the "Defragment" tab and away you go. Leave your computer on and let it run without interruption. Warn others in the household not to use it as well. Most operating systems go into in a default hibernation mode (or they may shut themselves off). Touch the keyboard to see how far along you are in the defragmenting process. Do this right before you go to bed so it can clean itself while you sleep. Keep in mind that, the more crud you have on you hard drive, the longer it takes to organize it all. Turn your computer on in the morning to see how much space you saved by clicking "Analyze."