Q&A With Sam Card, A Guide On Clearing Out Your Spring Cyber Clutter

Q&A With Sam Card, A Guide On Clearing Out Your Spring Cyber Clutter
Sam Card

BERLIN – As the days lengthen and the warm weather returns, spring cleaning in many households begins. While it is great to declutter and dust off the winter cobwebs in the house, it is critical that you look at your digital spaces as well. The following are some ways to bring spring cleaning to your computer, all without breaking a sweat.

Manage Your Email

Unsubscribe from newsletters: It’s all too easy to delete an email, especially if you simply swipe from a mobile app, but that email will come back. Find the unsubscribe link at the bottom and make sure it’s gone for good. Outlook now has an Unsubscribe button which will help you perform that action too.

Create rules: If you get regular emails from certain places that are simply informational, create a rule to move them to another folder. While it can lead to “out of sight, out of mind,” it can also allow you to deal with important things in your Inbox and then deal with everything else later.

Manage Your Notifications

With all the features Office 365 has it is easy to receive a lot of distracting notifications. From Outlook on their desktop, in the Yammer app, in the Teams app, from other apps and services popping up, and also through those same apps sending notifications as emails. Spend a couple of minutes per application to look at the notification settings and find a level that works for you depending on the applications you give focus to and the types of notifications that are important to you.

Clean Up Your Sharing

In Office 365 collaborating and sharing are encouraged, but what happens when we’re finished collaborating on documents, seeing each other’s calendars, or accessing a team site? We forget to stop sharing. This clutters up a variety of places: Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, Office applications’ file open screens, etc.

This is a good reminder to stop sharing content and resources with people when we’re finished working with them, and to remind them to stop sharing with us – it will reduce our places to find and save content, and make things much simpler.

Improve Password Security

Use a Password manager: Signing up for one of the many password managers is a great way to securely collect and keep all of your account passwords in one place. You are also more inclined to set up and choose a unique password for each account you have if you have a password manager.

Secure your accounts with multi-factor authentication: There’s many options to choose from, but they all require something you know (password) and something you have (device). For any website that stores your personal health or payment information, opt in to any multi-factor authentication it offers.

Remove Old Apps

These programs take up precious storage space, and they also make your operating system work harder than it needs to. They force your computer to incorporate entries in the Start menu, sift through settings files, and install updates for programs that you’re not actually using. In addition, each application on your system can become a target for hackers or data-mining companies, so the fewer you maintain, the better.

Clean Your Digital Clutter

It’s an inevitable consequence of modern-day computing that as you use your device, junk files will build up: items you’ve created and forgotten about, temporary files created by the operating system or applications, and so on. You can’t stop this from happening, but you can stay on top of the mess with a regular clear-out. This also goes for your browser history, start by opening each browser, clear your browsing data, erase cached files, and plug-in data. This should make your browser a little lighter on its feet. Also, remember to check your downloads folder for files you’ve forgotten about and delete the ones you don’t need to free up more space.

Finally, removing unused browser extensions can have the same benefits as uninstalling unused applications. This will streamline your browser, lowering its demands on your computer’s resources and keeping you safer as well.

Physically Clean Devices

Seriously, grab an antibacterial wipe or screen cleaner and wipe down your

devices – especially your phone. With the power off, take off the laptop case and give the device a good cleaning. Take care to make sure the fan is clear of dust or other obstructions. A slow fan will cause the hardware to heat up, which, in turn, can slow down the performance of your computer. For desktop machines, turn off and unplug your machine, gently wipe around and under the monitor and keyboard. Special cleaners will blow dust particles away from your keyboard and remember to clean your cases and bags.

Taking the time to spring clean your computer is a great way to get back disk space while also rechecking your online security. Now that you’ve got your tech running smoothly, you can relax and enjoy the comfort of your living-dining-office-bed space.

(The writer can be reached at [email protected]. To learn more about Cards Technology, visit www.cards-tech.com.)