- Delete unused apps or programs: The stuff's just taking up space – like all the empty product boxes lying around my home office except that you don't trip over it. Not only is this good for freeing up hard drive space, it could also minimize the entry ports into your system some hacker or data miner could find. And while you're at it, update the software you decide to keep – if it's a free update. If it isn't a free update you'll have to decide whether the cost justifies the improvements. To rewrite an old saw: you either pays your money or you takes your chances.
- Clear your cache: This is like running a vacuum over your web browser. A lot of data gets stored in your browser history and downloaded files, so hosing them down, figuratively of course, can speed up their performance and help minimize the stuff hackers and/or malware can sniff out on your system. Afraid of losing some of the places you go online? If you like a site, bookmark it.
- Run updates: I have a bit of an issue with this one. "For best performance and to keep them secure, ensure all devices are running the latest software. Having the latest version ensures you're protected from the most recent threats." That's true enough, but it also means you could be upgrading to a buggy, rushed out version that could be worse than not upgrading. Granted, this in my experience seems to be the exception rather than the rule, but it's worth thinking about – as is the potential that the update you install could include stuff you don't want for whatever reason. I'm not sure I trust Big Software to have my best interests in mind.
- Install anti-malware software and perform regular reviews: I agree with this one completely! "Another key step is to install a quality anti-malware solution – such as ESET – for your software and ensure it ranks high amongst independent, third-party antimalware tests, such as Virus Bulletin, SE Labs and AV-Comparatives." And this is why I got the email! I happen to use a common free anti-malware application and update it frequently. Its paid version (and its ilk) supposedly catches online threats without you having to run a manual scan, though because I'm too cheap to actually buy the software, I run a manual scan a few times a week (which doesn't really make it "spring cleaning," I guess). However you slice it, malware protection gives you another layer of protection. Ditto for antivirus stuff.
- Backup your files: Absolutely! I learned this lesson the hard way. We had a video rental business in the early 1980's and our first hard drive (four megabytes!) cost us four grand and that was a lot of money back then. A power spike fried it and we lost everything. Since then I've made so many backups I could fill all those empty carboard boxes in my office with them and still have more CD's, floppies (hey – I should spring clean my floppies since I have no way of reading them any more anyway!), zip disks (Ditto!) and external disk drives.