Know what your computer is doing

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I like to always know what is running on my computer. As you probably are already aware, the more programs you have running, the slower they all run. Why have programs running when you aren’t using them? The problem is, you most likely don’t even know they are running.

When you use the default settings for your Windows desktop, part of your system tray is usually hidden. The system tray is that row of icons in the lower right corner of your screen. The way Windows usually sets it is so that you might see a few of those icons, and the rest are hidden. The reason for this is that it won’t take up much space on your taskbar (the taskbar is the bottom bar on the screen, on the same level as the Start button). You can tell if yours is set that way – just look for a small circle with an arrow inside it. When you click that circle, your row of icons expands to show all of them – for about 2 seconds. Not really long enough for you to see what is there and decide if you want to keep all of those programs running.

My personal preference is for those icons to show all of the time. To do that, find an empty space on your taskbar and right-click. Choose Properties. A new window will open. Under the Taskbar tab, UNcheck the box that says “Hide inactive icons” and click OK.

When the window closes, you will see your whole row of icons there. Probably more than you expected to see! You can right-click and Exit whatever ones you don’t need at the moment. If you are not sure what something is, don’t close it. Your goal should be to only have the essential programs running at any given time, and nothing more.

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