5 Easy Ways to Maximize Your Hard Drive Space

Hard Drive

In a world where we use computers for virtually everything from browsing the web and playing video games to creating documents and storing media, it is no wonder that our computers tend to get bogged down. When there are unnecessary programs running in the background, or loads of files taking up prime hard drive space, your computer’s performance suffers. In order stay on top of all your files, we recommend that you follow these five tips to make the most of your hard drive space and keep your computer running smoothly. Remember that you should keep up with this maintenance on a monthly basis to ensure that your computer lives a long, healthy life!

1) Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is a utility built right into Windows that removes temporary files, log files, unneeded Windows updates and messages, and more. While you can manually find and delete these unnecessary items, it is a lot easier to use a program to search them out and destroy them for you. To use Windows’ pre-installed Disk Cleanup application, simply click the “Start” button and search for “Disk Cleanup” in the search box. Once you’ve found and clicked on Disk Cleanup, choose the hard disk that you wish to clean up, and then individually select the file types that you want to delete and click “OK”.
Disk Cleanup

If you are a Mac user, OS X has a built-in tool called Disk Utility that allows you to reshuffle separated packages of files, repair them, and delete them to free up memory on your computer. Using an application such as Disk Inventory X for Mac is also a good way to find out what exactly is taking up the most space on your disk so you can determine which files and programs need to be removed.
Disk Utility
There are also free programs for both Mac and Windows computers that you can download to cleanup your hard disk, like CCleaner. Once you’ve downloaded the application, run the program, and click “Analyze” to search for the useless files stored on your computer. Once the application has found the files it needs to delete, click “Run Cleaner” and it will take care of them!
CCleaner

 

2) Remove bloatware and other unwanted programs

Computers nowadays come pre-installed with loads of applications and trials that may not be useful for most users; these programs are referred to as bloatware, and they are more than likely taking up a bunch of unnecessary space on your hard drive. These applications may be easy to find and remove manually, but there are also programs like PC Decrapifier that detects and removes unnecessary programs for you. By removing these junk programs, your computer’s speed shout shoot right up!

 

3) Delete Temporary Files

Every time you download a program, file, or surf the web, you are inadvertently downloading temporary files and caches. Finding and deleting temporary files is usually easy to do manually. In Windows, most temporary files are located under the “Temporary Internet Files” folder (C:\Users\Account Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files) on Windows computers, and are saved in folders as .TMP files.
Deleting temporary files
You can also preemptively lower the allowable amount of temporary internet files you want downloaded when browsing and downloading from the Internet by changing your temporary Internet file settings. Under the “Browsing History” section, click “Settings” and alter the Disk Space to use between 50-250MB.

For Mac users, while Mac OS X already tries to automatically remove temporary files for you, we recommend CCleaner again to help with detecting and erasing all of those temporary files.

 

4) Disable Hibernation

When you put your Windows computer to sleep, your work and settings are put into the memory of the computer and allows your computer to standby and only use a small amount of power. However, when your computer is set to Hibernate, your open documents and programs are stored on your hard disk and your computer turns off. While this is the best power-saving mode for saving your current work and shutting your computer down, placing those open programs and documents on the hard disk takes up a lot of space, especially when your computer is put into Hibernation mode regularly. You can disable this feature and prevent your current work from being saved on the hard disk when you shut your computer down by going into the “Control Panel”, clicking “Choose what the power buttons do”, and determine the mode you want your computer to be in when you close the lid, press the power button, and press the sleep button.

 

5) Erase Duplicate Files



Gemini that will assist you in finding duplicate files and eradicating them, and for Windows computers there is a program of the same nature called Duplicate Cleaner. Be sure to only scan for duplicates in folders that you personally created to ensure that you aren’t deleting any important Windows or OS X files.

Top Tips for a Digital Deep Cleaning

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Spring cleaning tends to elicit images of washing windows, airing out linens (who has ‘linens’, anyway?), and shredding old paperwork after filing taxes. Boring but necessary, right? What you might not realize is how important it is to also perform a routine deep clean of the digital files stored on your computer, external hard drives, smartphones, and other devices. As with other types of spring cleaning, it’s a good idea to purge out ‘invisible clutter’ once in a while. Excess, outdated, and potentially security-threatening information overflowing the edges of your devices and online accounts isn’t something you’re visibly confronted with like a pile of old clothing, but this type of clutter can cost you much more in terms of device and account space, ease of retrieving current files, accurate personal information, and cyber security. Here’s how to perform a deep clean of your digital life (besides signing up for Easynews now).

 

1. Create Space by Decluttering, Deleting, Compressing, and Organizing

You probably don’t have to look far to find a folder, inbox, account, or device that is nearly at capacity. Have you received any nasty reminders from your email program threatening to withhold mail until you make space? Is your Dropbox constantly full? Are you getting dangerously close to the memory limit on your laptop or smartphone because you’re storing too many files? All these are signs you’re overdue for a good deep clean. If the thought of tackling masses of information overwhelms you, start by decluttering one category a week. Get yourself in spring cleaning mode by asking yourself these hard questions:

  • Did I use it in the last year?
  • Do I have duplicate copies?
  • Do I really need to keep this e-receipt from 2012?

You’ll also do yourself a favor by establishing new habits to create less digital clutter in the future, such as:

  • Unsubscribing to newsletters, retail sites, and tagging junk mail as spam
  • Restricting new downloads until you’ve sorted/used/viewed what you already have

Cleaning out digital files – including entire programs or applications you don’t need – will not only save you storage, but time looking for what you actually use on a regular basis. You’re less likely to accidentally delete something important if you’re regularly sorting and safely filing instead of mass-deleting out of desperation for space.

 

2. Back Up Important Files in More than One Location

This is pretty straight forward. We could all tell personal horror stories of losing photos, writing, projects, or other important documents because our computer or portable device crashed. This is why it’s vital to back up important files either on an Internet-based service (Dropbox, iCloud, etc.), external hard drives, memory cards, or USB storage devices. That being said, don’t store all your storage devices in one location, either!

 

3. Make Sure Your Digital Self is Your Real Self

Go ahead and Google yourself. You might be surprised at what you find! Checking your cyber reflection will reveal any outdated, inaccurate or embarrassing information that needs to be corrected. Both your professional and social life will thank you now and in the future. This could include updating your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blog, and other social media profiles – basically, any memberships that reveal personal information.

 

4. Secure Your Identity and Finances 

Is your virus and malware protection software updated and active? If you have to stop and think about it, then probably not. The time we spend on the Internet, including browsing and downloading creates a window of vulnerability to increasingly intelligent and sneaky hackers. Follow these four steps to ensure your information stays safe:

  • Make sure your computer and smartphone’s security settings are high, and don’t let browsers remember your passwords. Sure, it’s convenient…convenient for the hacker who wants in to your bank account!
  • Secondly, don’t use the same username and password for all your accounts. It’s like handing over the combination to the jackpot of your personal information. Instead, use a password manager like LastPass to keep your credentials in check.
  • Remember to also logout of your accounts every time you use them, and don’t access them on public WiFi. It’s also a good idea to clear your browser history and cache from time to time.
  • When you upgrade devices, don’t just throw the old ones away. Even if you’ve wiped the data, there are still ways for hackers to get your information. Have a professional clear them, or have them shredded. The Better Business Bureau even hosts free semi-annual shredding services, called Secure Your ID days. Check to see when the next event occurs in your state.

 Have you successfully completed a Digital Deep Cleaning recently? Share your story with the rest of Easynews in the comment section below!

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