These days everyone seems to be divulging some deeply held secrets from their past; some events hidden from the public eye for fear the revelation of these hideous deeds would bring their whole world crashing down. Jesse James and Tiger Woods come to mind as purveyors of such secrets. In keeping with the "coming clean" feeling now spreading across the country, I need to bare my soul to all of our faithful readers and clients. My personal secret is that even though we keep a very tidy home (my wife made me say that) my office is the least organized room. This came to mind rather blatantly the other day as I was stepping over two partially rebuilt computers, an array of keyboards and around a monitor just to get to my desk. I knew I had to come clean and make a fresh start of it so I decided that tomorrow I would clean my office.

Weeks later when tomorrow finally came and my office was as organized as possible, I turned my attention to my computers and the condition they were in. Most people have programs they no longer use or need and trial programs that have expired or no longer are as useful as they were when we downloaded them, so why not get rid of these and free up some space on the hard drive?

To check out a list of the programs currently installed on your computer, Click "Start" and "Control Panel" (depending on which flavor of Windows you have, you may have to click "Start," "Settings" and "Control Panel"). Once in the Control Panel, click "Add/Remove Programs" (Vista and Windows 7 users, locate "Programs" and click where it says "Uninstall a Program"). Eventually a window will populate displaying all of your programs. Scan the list for games you no longer play, trial programs you never use, expired anti-virus or other protective programs you no longer use and any programs you have not used in a long time and will never use again. Make a list of the programs you wish to uninstall and one by one, click on the program in the display box and look to the right and click the button that says "Uninstall." For Vista and Windows 7 users, click the program and look above to find "Uninstall" to click and remove the program.

Once you have clicked "Uninstall," the program will be uninstalled in most cases and will no longer be on your hard drive. In some cases, there will be programs that simply will not uninstall. In these cases you may want to go to and click "Download" to download and install Revo FREE Uninstaller on your computer to aid in uninstalling stubborn programs. Occasionally some programs still will not uninstall from your computer and at this point you can either go to Google and see if there is a known uninstaller for this program, call a professional and pay them to uninstall it, or you can resign yourself to the fact that computers are not perfect and there will be issues you simply need to live with. If you have opted for the last choice, which most people do, make sure you create a list of all the irritants on your computer and show these to your computer tech on his next semi-annual checkup visit.

Finally, in your zeal to get organized, do not forget to clean your e-mail inbox and empty the "Deleted Items" folder or "Trash" once you have removed any unneeded e-mail from the list of current mail. It is useful at times to have a record of the sent e-mails so I would not endorse deleting your "Sent Items."


Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services and lives in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to or call (480) 753-7667.


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