Stage 2: How to Clean Your Computer & Recover Performance in 2021

Stage 2: How to Clean Your Computer & Recover Performance in 2021

Ok so following on from Part 1 where I detailed the initial steps you can take to give your workstation or laptop a bit of a spring clean, I wanted to revisit and add the second part to the process. Part 1 has been particularly useful for me as when friends and family have asked me about various maintenance of their computers, I’ve been able to just point them to the post and they’ve pretty much been able to take care of things themselves. That said, a few of them wanted to take things a step further, so here we are.

In this post, I want to show you two more tools that I use in my arsenal to give my computer an even deeper clean and to further protect myself against the unecessary fluff and tracking that Microsoft likes to bestow upon you. See below for the usual disclaimer, and let’s get started.

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING YOU DO TO YOUR MACHINE. THIS IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Part 1: BleachBit

Hopefully by now you’re all using Chocolatey to maintain the majority of your software packages on your machines. If not, why not? If you are, installing BleachBit is as simple as running the following command (as admin) in Powershell:

Installing BleachBit with Chocolatey
Installing BleachBit with Chocolatey

Want to know more about Chocolatey? Check out this post here. For those of you not wanting to use the most efficient package manager I’ve ever found on Windows and want to go retro, you can go to here and download and install it.

The GUI is very simple. Just select what you wish to erradicate and hit the Clean button. If you happen to click on something that will take a long time to remove, the program will warn you.

BleachBit: Warning
BleachBit: Warning

You can uncheck that box and proceed with the quick version, or you can plough ahead and go and grab yourself a coffee/beer whilst it does its thing.

As BleachBit moves forward it will let you know on the sidebar exactly how much space it saved you. Just like CCleaner, if you wish to see how much space you’ll reclaim before you hit the big red button you can go for the preview button, but normally I go straight for the Clean (Yolo)! You may see some errors appear (they’ll show up red in the scrollable operations list). These are usually file permissioning errors, i.e. you had Google Chrome open whilst you were trying to clear the cookies from it etc. I don’t worry about these. You can either close and retry, or leave it for next time, it’s up to you.

BleachBit: Error
BleachBit: Error

BleachBit is very clinical in its approach. It’s task is to free up to space and it does it very well. In fact, I pretty much use BleachBit exclusively now to remove the crap from my system, only using CCleaner if I am trying to uninstall some persistent software installs.

BleachBit: Results
BleachBit: Results

Only thing to be mindful of here with BleachBit is that you uncheck the passwords out of your browser options on the left. By now you should be using a better password manager than the default browser option, my current favourite is Bitwarden, but just a heads up.

https://bitwarden.com/
Bitwarden

I’ve put Bleachbit into the advanced section, purely because potentially, you have access to delete a bit more than you could otherwise do in CCleaner or the default Microsoft tools (as discussed in Part 1). I don’t want any comeback because BleachBit accidentally deleted the passwords to all your favourite adult sites you had stored in Bing!

Part 2: Windows Debloat Tool

Last year, I came across a debloat tool that I had been using from a developer called Sycnex. Not only did I cover this tool in this post, but I even made a Youtube video on it here. This tool was great, but as time went on, I found another developer Chris Titus, who basically overhauled it and wrote his own version. You can find the tool here if you want to go check through all the various bits and bobs in it: https://github.com/ChrisTitusTech/win10script

If you just want to install the tool, you literally paste one command into Powershell (as admin):

iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(‘https://git.io/JJ8R4’))

Installing the Script
Installing the Script

That’s it. Within a second or so, you’ll get this next box show up:

Chris Titus Tech Windows Debloat Tool
Chris Titus Tech Windows Debloat Tool

Frankly speaking, a lot of this stuff is self explanatory on what it can and can’t do for you and in order to keep this post short, I’m going to just refer you to Chris’ video where he goes through the latest iteration of it. Not only will it help his channel grow, but it will also save me from being a complete parrot.

Chris goes through most of the options in the video, so I strongly suggest you take a quick look at it if you’re unsure of anything on the list, or you’re worried about doing something irreversible. I usually just hit Essential tweaks and Delete/Disable OneDrive, and Disable Cortana.

To Recap

By now you should have a machine that’s running lighter and faster, with a bit more room on your drives thanks to the junk we’ve removed. With any luck, Microsoft and the rest of the world wide web might even know a little less about you! To remind you of what we’ve done so far across both posts:

  1. Removed any unecessary installed programs in Windows
  2. Cleaned out any temporary files or cookies via windows disk cleanup
  3. Removed any old windows update files or system fragments using disk cleanup
  4. Deleted cookies, other temp files, fragments and tracking data using CCleaner
  5. Uninstalled third party antivirus tools and re-enabled Windows built in AntiVirus protection.
  6. Scanned for and removed any detected threats using MalwareBytes.
  7. Cleaned out any unecessary browser extensions using CCleaner and manually.
  8. Used BleachBit to comb through and delete ‘free’ space
  9. Removed further temporary files and other unwanted files.
  10. Installed the Windows script to make essential tweaks including (if you selected them):
    1. Disabling Cortana
    2. Disabling Location Tracking
    3. Disabling OneDrive
    4. Enabling Performance Visual FX
    5. Removing General Windows 10 Bloatware that came with the machine.

Let me know if this helped you in the comments and if you have any recommendations for other software I’ll always take a look.

 

If your interested in sharing your own solutions, tips and tricks with like minded people perhaps you’d consider joining our facebook group. The aim of this group will hopefully be more show and tell rather than support, but that’s not to say we can’t lend a helping hand!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/386238285944105

 

Know anyone considering a renovation and looking for advice on cabling and how to help make the home smart? Take a look at my book which is available at all the major stores.

https://books2read.com/thesmarthomebook

The Smarthome Book
The Smarthome Book

 

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