Feng Shui for Your Computer

By: Sandra Prior

Although feng shui principles are usually applied to the real world, your virtual environment could also benefit from less clutter. Follow these steps to desktop nirvana.

Go for a minimalist look. Many programs install start-up icons on your desktop, making it difficult to find what you really want. Reduce the clutter by removing everything from your desktop, except the stuff you need. Keep the icons for 'My Computer' or your hard drive, the Recycle Bin, the CD drive and your browser and bin everything else. You don't need everything in plain view.

While you're making friends with the Recycle Bin, get rid of everything else you don't need - shareware you've once used, wallpaper, sound files, email. Be ruthless - as long as you don't want it and it's not in the Windows folder, delete it. Anything with a .tmp extension in the filename can be safely removed too.

There's only so much clutter you can take away manually. Programs leave bits and pieces of themselves in hard-to-find places, so get a friend to help you. Once you have removed everything, run a registry scan and a complete virus scan.

Organize your start menu if you're a Windows user. New programs invariably place short cuts for themselves in the main part of the menu - after a while you can end up with a huge, unwieldy list that's difficult to navigate. Combat the chaos by indexing programs as you go along. Remove redundant associations. If you're not sure, leave them.

By now your computer should be more immaculate than when you first took delivery but there are still a couple of housekeeping tasks you need to perform to get it running harmoniously. Run a registry fix about once a week and set your antivirus to do a full system scan at least once a week too. If you're running Windows XP then enable Windows Defender to do a full scan once a day, at a time when you are not using your computer. Leave your computer switched on and connected to the Internet permanently if you have a broadband Internet connection. Set your programs to automatically download and install updates.

Make yourself a cup of tea - preferably a calming herbal brew like chamomile. While it's steeping, run a full virus scan. As you sip your tea, try to visualize a calm scenario - a placid lake in Autumn, for example. By the time you've finished your tea, your chi (energy) will be fully refreshed and your computer will be ready for the last stages of its feng shui makeover.

Add the final touches to your desktop. If you've had the same desktop theme since you bought your computer, change it now and add a new suite of sounds. Choose something you can live with - this is important. The number of computers physically damaged by users who had installed Hal from 2001 desktops themes is inestimable.

Reboot your machine. You're making a new beginning and this is an important gesture that separates your old, cluttered and inefficient way of working from your new energy-balanced relationship with your computer. It also gets rid of the junk your machine couldn't delete while it was running.

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