Clean Up Old Files You No Longer Need

November 11, 2013

Power WashThe last few weekends I’ve been cleaning up my back patio with a power sprayer. I knew there was some dirt there, but it is amazing the difference after I hit the deck with a high-powered stream of water. While I’ve hosed off the deck from time-to-time, there just wasn’t enough power to really get the dirt dislodged.

Just like I needed to give my patio a good cleaning, I bet you need to give your hard drive a good cleaning. Do you have software installed that you just never use? Go into the list of installed software in Windows Control Panel and see if there is anything installed that is just taking up space. There may be some items where you just don’t recognize the name, though it is something important. Before you uninstall, do a quick Google search for the item to learn more about what it does. If in doubt, don’t uninstall it immediately. Even if you only find one or two items to uninstall, that is better than none.

There is one folder on my hard drive that tends to build up a lot of extra files and it is the one where I store downloads. Often when I download an update for some software or an important driver, it has a different name than previous versions. If I look carefully in that folder, I may find 4-5 different versions of the same item. Do I really need the older versions? Most likely not and so I try to go in and delete these at least once a year.

Are there other folders where you might have files that are no longer useful? Go through and delete files and folders that you don’t need. Maybe there are projects you’ve finished where you don’t need access to the files on a regular basis. Archive those old folders and projects and remove the data from your hard drive.

After you’ve cleaned up as much as you can, make sure to empty the Recycle Bin to permanently get rid of the files. Then run a defragmentation utility to put all the data in a nice, neat sequence. One is included with Windows name Disk Defragmenter so you all have such a utility. If you have a better utility that you’ve purchased, feel free to use it. Just don’t run such a utility on an SSD drive as it isn’t necessary and could even harm the drive.

Schedule a few minutes today or tomorrow and give your drives a bit of a cleaning. You’ll be able to free up some extra space and it may just speed up your system a bit.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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