Having a hard drive filled up with clutter can be a major inconvenience for any computer system, whether it is at home or in an office space. Clutter builds up over time as a result of files getting lost, programs being installed but never used, and temporary file folders being filled up. This happens slowly over a long period of time and before you know it, you have a hard drive with almost no free available space on it, you can clean hard drive space easily..
Deleting things sporadically may not be enough to get a hold of things. As you need to be able to identify the real cracks in your hard drive, those folders, programs and files that are consuming most of your hard drive space. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to maximize space cleaning. Below are just some of the many things you can do to get a hold of things, when it seems your computer has reached the brink.
Step 1: Uninstall Big Application(s)
Uninstalling applications will free up much needed hard drive space, but not all programs consume a lot of space. You want to locate those programs you know are consuming the most hard drive space and remove them.
There are several methods that you can use to do this. You can access your Program Files folder and right click on Applications and select Properties. From there you will be given the size of the folder, which you can then use to determine whether or not you would like to remove the program it belongs to.
It’s always best to use the InstallShield to remove programs, however. You can access this tool by doing the following:
- First, boot into your computer with full administrative rights.
- Then press Windows Key + R, type appwiz.cpl into the Run Command box and click on OK.
- Once Add or Remove Programs loads up, click on the Application then click on Uninstall.
Step 2: Analyze Disk Space
Probably should be the first thing you do, which analyzes your disk, just so you can properly determine which applications and files are consuming the most of the hard drive space. The idea behind it is that, it will make it significantly easier to free up much-needed space if you know which files are consuming the most space.
To do this, you will need to use a disk analyzer tool. These tools are also helpful in that they are able to locate those forgotten and hidden files. Maybe a file you downloaded several months ago, but were unsure of whether or not it saved to your computer. Or maybe you stored a bunch of files on your computer to use for a specific task, but forget to delete them, when they were no longer of any use. That’s what a disk analyzer will do for you; it will locate these files and give you the heads up on which ones you should delete and which you should not.
There are many of these disk analyzer tools around, so you should try out several of them, so see which one works best for you.
Step 3: Clear Temporary Files
Temporary files are basically files that are saved for temporary use. However, these temporary files aren’t always deleted once they are no longer of any use to your computer. Most of these types of files are created during the installation of an application or while surfing the internet, as a form of caching. Removing these files is thus, a very smart and save choice of action.
When it comes to removing internet temporary files, you will need to access the options of your browser to do that. The way in which you do it will vary, depending on the type of browser you have, so I can’t give you any step by step instructions. However, when it comes to removing temporary installation files, you can either use the Windows cleanup tool or use a disk cleaner tool like Ccleaner. To use Windows cleanup, do the following:
- First, boot into your computer. Make sure you have administrative rights.
- Then press Windows Key + R, when the Run Command box appears, type c:\windows\SYSTEM32\cleanmgr.exe /Drive into it and click on OK.
Note: /Drive represents the drive that you would like to scan. So if it was the D drive, you would type D:\.
When Windows cleanup loads up, it will give you the option to clear out your temporary folder.
Other Options to clean Hard Drive Space:
These methods will also conserve a considerable amount of hard drive space, but that will come at the disadvantage of your not being able to use these features on your operating system. As a result, I’d suggest you weight up the pros and cons of doing it. If hard drive space is seriously lacking on your computer, then maybe it is the best option.
Disable Hibernation: When your system enters hibernation it saves the contents of your current state to a portion of your hard drive. This allows the operating system to restore itself back to how it was, despite the fact that it has been switched off. Hibernation saves your current system state in the C:\hiberfil.sys folder. To conserve hard drive space, disabling this feature will essentially clean Hard Drive Space from your computer.
Disable System Restore: This feature is used to store periodic system states, which you can use to restore your system back to a previous state, in the event that you encounter a problem with your computer. This feature is very useful for fixing errors and system performance issues. However, it does consume a considerable amount of hard drive space. If you’re hard drive is at its tipping edge, you may want to consider disabling this feature.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website Compuchenna.