Your hard drive.  That magical magnetic thing (unless you have an SSD) that stores all of your data, programs, and other important stuff.  It’s amazing how much you can fit on a hard drive, but every drive has its limit.  Once it gets maxed out you’ll probably notice some performance degradation.  The computer takes longer to start up, programs take longer to start, etc. because of all that excess data.  This article will discuss some of the techniques you can use to help clean out the unneeded stuff from your hard drive to get it back to that zippy speed you had before.  Click to read more…

The first step to getting rid of some excess stuff is to run the disk cleanup wizard (as described in this maintenance basics article), which will go through the recycle bin, temp directories, and other areas of the computer where temporary content is stored and tell you how much stuff is in each of those areas.  You can then decide what to delete and what to keep.

If it still seems like you have less free space than you’d like, try downloading a program like JAM TreeSize which will scan your hard drive and show you where all of the space is being sucked up on your machine.

Being able to visualize where the bulk of your non-operating system files are is really helpful.  From there, you can zoom down into your drive’s tree and delete whatever stuff you no longer need.  If you find that you can’t really delete anything then you should consider:

  1. Getting an external hard drive
  2. Getting a new hard drive
  3. Backing up your important stuff to another machine with larger hard drives and delete it from your machine (it’d be good to have two different copies of your files, each on a different hard drive on the other machine)

The final thing you can consider to give you some extra space and performance is to remove programs you no longer use and operating system components that you don’t need.  When removing programs, you just have to be sure you still have the installer before deleting them.  For operating system components you have to be a little more selective and careful, so look up each component before removing them.

After that, run a disk defragment program and you should be pretty set.  Happy cleaning!

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 1st, 2009 at 1:14 pm and is filed under Basic Computer Use, Maintenance, Useful Programs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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