Noob Guide: How To Clean Your PC Without Re-Installing Windows

Preface: This article only focuses on Windows devices, both desktops and portable (laptops/tablets). If you’re running a Mac or Linux device, you’ll have to look elsewhere for help.

Is your computer slow? Considering buying a new PC because yours just doesn’t run how you remember it? Well, you may not have to! Now, before we begin I want to point out that even if you go through all of these steps, you may find that your PC is outdated. It happens.

The greatest and worst thing about the PC industry is that Windows doesn’t run their market like Apple does. Which means that any company can build a PC and sell it without Windows controlling their hardware at all. This means that if you bought a $300 laptop at MicroCenter or the same laptop for $500 at BestBu; it’s probably not going to run much better. Of course this guide is great for BestBuy bought computers because they load a ton of unnecessary programs into PCs before selling it to you. But that’s another article in it of itself.

The other day we covered how to fix your PC by re-installing Windows but obviously not everybody wants to completely wipe their computer and start from scratch. There are things you can do to help your PC move along. After all, just like everything else in your life, and contrary to popular belief, your computer does require regular maintenance.

Since this is a “Noob Guide” I won’t go into the details, but the easiest way to explain is that almost every program, including Windows itself keeps logs of how you use. These files alone, while small, are doing nothing more than taking up space your computer. You computer is built to run by literally scanning the first 0’s and 1’s until it can scan the files on your hard drive and scans them from the top down. The more it has to scan/do; the slower it’s going to be.

So let’s jump into this. There’s a lot of steps to go through because we’re assuming you don’t complete regular maintenance on your life machine. Everything I am going to recommend is a free third party software and while I am an ioBit fanboy, I am in no way commissioned by them. I just believe and trust in their software. Plus, it’s the most user friendly on the market so it’s perfect for these Noob Guides.

Note: Throughout this process your computer will tell you restart after almost every scan. You’ll want to do it every time. These can be important to the scans.

1) Check For Viruses with Windows Defender

  • Most viruses are very aggressive and obvious when you have one, but we should check anyways, just in case.
  • Windows 10 comes with a built in program that handles viruses pretty well. Unless you’re always on shady websites and downloading shady things Windows 10’s built in anti-virus should be able to handle it.
  • Simply hit the windows key or the start button on the bottom left of your screen. Type “Windows Defender” and run it. It may tell you to update your database, which you would need to do first.

Easy? Good! Because it’s not going to get much more complicated. These scans could take awhile so get a beer or two while you wait.

2) Check For Malware With MalwareBytes

  • If your PC is really slow you could have Malware so it’s important to check.
  • Simply download, install, and run MalwareBytes. It should start scanning automatically but if it doesn’t just follow the onscreen prompts.
  • Afterwards you may be prompted to remove a list of files. Do it! Do it now!

Look at you maintaining your PC like a pro. Good on you!

3) Uninstall As Much As Possible With ioBit Uninstaller

  • Windows does have a built in uninstaller but it’s one of the more outdated software that comes built in. If you’ve only removed programs with Windows, you probably have tons of left over files and folders leftover in your computer. Remember we discussed how the more of these unnecessary files the slower your computer could be.
  • Another simple download/install/run ioBit Uninstaller. This time you will need to a little manual work though.
  • Go through the list of programs and remove everything in this list you do not use. This won’t display any important system programs, although it could look like it if you did buy your PC from BestBuy. Should you wish, you can get this list to 0 by removing EVERYTHING.
  • You’ll only want to remove what you don’t use. This includes that install of Sims 3 that you put on your PC three years ago and only played it once. You don’t need it.

You can even uninstall MalwareBytes now that you’re done with it.

4) Update Your PC

  • This is probably one of the more important things but your Windows 10 should do it by default. A lot of people turned it off because of bad-press when Windows 10 was new, but I assure you that they’ve listened and fixed it. If it’s not set to do it automatically, you can set it now while you’re in the settings.
  • Simply hit the Windows key or the start button, and type “Settings”. Go to “Update” and “Check for updates”. These shouldn’t take too long unless you’ve never updated it.

5) Update Your Drivers

  • We explained how Windows doesn’t monitor built PCs so by default it can’t update all the software the pieces in your PC uses to run. But there’s 3rd party software that can do it for you – Back to ioBit!
  • Download/install/run ioBit Driver Booster.
  • Once you update everything, you can remove this with ioBit Uninstaller too.

6) Wipe Your Internet History and Add-Ons

  • Most people use Chrome, which saves an entire history of everything you do. Simply boot up Chrome click the hamburger menu in the top right and click “Settings”. Show advance settings at the bottom and under the “Privacy” header, delete everything. Go into the Extensions tab and remove anything you’re not using.
  • The process is similar for Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and whatever else you’re using. Just the buttons may be different.

7) Remove Unnecessary Files with Advanced SystemCare

  • SystemCare will remove those pesky logs we talked about earlier as well as look for any files leftover from Windows and other programs. This step alone should show the biggest improvement once it’s done.
  • Download/install/run ioBit Advanced SystemCare.
  • Some old school techy guys will recommend CCleaner and I have nothing against it. I just think SystemCare is more system friendly and looks more modern.

8) Address Your Starting Programs With Advanced SystemCare

  • While you’re doing this, you should check your folders and files sitting around your PC and delete anything you’re not using. Clean your recycling bin.
  • In ioBit’s Advanced SystemCare, there is a tab under “Maintenance” called “System Start Up”. Run this and go through the list it provides. There is an “optimize” button that will do it for you if you don’t know what to remove/delay. Otherwise, I recommend disabling anything you don’t need to start automatically. If there is something, you should delay it.
  • This will help your PC boot up faster. Who doesn’t want that?

9) Defrag Your PC with ioBit Smart Defrag

  • Defragging is basically a way to compress the logs and files you can’t remove from your PC and moves those 0’s and 1’s closer together. After removing everything from the steps above, there’s probably some big gaps that this will help.
  • Simply download/install/run ioBit Smart Defrag.
  • Once that scan is done, you can remove this as well.

10) Restart and enjoy!

  • That’s pretty much all you can do without upgrading your hardware or re-installing Windows completely.
  • You should notice a huge difference during the final reboot. If you don’t, I would recommend re-installing Windows completely. If that still doesn’t work, it’s probably time to buy a new PC. Sorry. Contrary to popular belief these things don’t keep up with the times the way they’re supposed to. Plus, statistically, the majority of people who buy PCs/Laptops, buy the cheapest ones which become outdated much faster than their intended.