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”.
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.
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!
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.
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.