We all see things on the Internet or on a friend’s computer that we think we absolutely must have. This can run from card programs to games or a million other things. Some of these are freeware, some shareware, and some you went out and purchased.

You would be amazed at how many of these items you completely forget about and just sit on your computer doing you absolutely no good and probably filling up your hard drive and slowing down your computer.

Here’s a little exercise for you to help you clean up that computer. Go to your start button and click. Then mosey on over to the control panel and click that. Now that you are in the control panel, realize that you are in control! Look about and find the add/remove programs icon and click on it. After a few seconds it will populate with almost everything that you have installed on your computer. Notice I said almost. Not everything will show up there, but most of the stuff you have collected will be there.

There is a nice little feature that appears with each of these programs as you highlight them. To the far right it has the button to remove or change, but it also shows you the date that you last used it and how often you use it – from rarely to occasionally, etc.

Take some time out of your busy day and just highlight your way through that list. I would be willing to wager that you won’t even know what some of those items listed are for, or why you got them. Now, any time you decide to clean up portions of your computer, make sure you have made a backup. Backing up your computer is advice that cannot be given enough. As an extra measure, I would also set a restore point. For those items that you have purchased from a store and not just downloaded, find the CDs.

Now that you have done all of that, start clicking through that list. If you haven’t used a program for making birthday cards since 2003, I would imagine that you could probably remove it from your computer and not have any withdrawal symptoms.

If you don’t know what something is, just leave it alone and make a point to find out what it might be at a later time. Some items may say that you use them rarely, but it only means that you have physically opened the program rarely – it may be your firewall that is actually used daily, so be careful. Rule of thumb, if there is any question, just leave it alone. It’s been there this long; it can wait until you determine what it may be.

So, go ahead! Try my little exercise and see if you don’t find a few surprises lurking on your system that, at one point you just had to have, and now don’t have a clue as to what they are.