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How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Computer’s Hard Drive

This is the first in a series of tips and advice on cleaning your sluggish computer.  Again, these instructions are for Windows XP users and are very simple – basic, in fact. Let’s begin:

NOTE: Please read each post in its entirety before performing the steps.  Also, do the steps in order, and as you go through each step, please read through each line of instructions first before you proceed with the task.  There may be a note at the end of that line of instructions that you need to take heed to while you are performing the task.

Other Things To Consider Prior To Following These Instructions:

  • Never delete files with the .dll extension.
  • Do not delete files that contain the words Windows, HP or Compaq or whatever the name of your system, printer or other hardware is that you do not want to delete.
  • Do not delete any system files. If you are not sure about a file call – don’t take chances with your computer.  It is better to ask a technical support specialist then to guess.

Disk Cleanup – A component of Microsoft Windows, Disk Cleanup (cleanmgr.exe) is a computer maintenance utility included in Microsoft Windows designed to free up disk space on a computer’s hard drive. The utility first searches and analyzes the hard drive for files that are no longer of any use, and then removes the unnecessary files. There are a number of different file categories that Disk Cleanup targets when performing the initial disk analysis:

  • Compression of old files
  • Temporary Internet files
  • Temporary Windows file
  • Downloaded Program files
  • Recycle Bin
  • Removal of unused applications or optional Windows components
  • Setup Log files
  • Offline files [Source: Wikipedia]

Here’s how to free up disk space on your hard drive – 

  1. From your task bar, go to Start – All Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Disk Cleanup.
  2. Select the drive you want to clean up [ex. Drives: (C:)].  Click OK.
  3. Under the Disk Cleanup tab check Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Offline Webpages, Recycle Bin, Temporary Files, WebClient/Publisher Temporary Files, and Compress Old Files.
  4. Under the More Options tab click on Windows Components.
  5. Highlight each of the components and click detail.
  6. Highlight each of the components (AGAIN) and check the boxes of the Subcomponents of Accessories that you use and uncheck the Subcomponents of Accessories that you do not use (take note of how many Megabytes each component uses up – this may help you determine if it is worth checking or not).  If you do not use the component, do not check it as this may save you a lot of space.
  7. *Please do not uncheck any Windows components.  If they are already unchecked you can leave them unchecked.
  8. Go back and do the same for all components and click detail to get to their Subcomponents.
  9. Also, under the More Options tab, click on Installed Programs and remove any programs that you do not use. Do not remove any system programs.  When in doubt leave it until you know for sure.
  10. When you are done, click the red “X” in the upper right corner of the Add or Remove Programs box
  11. Click OK when you return to Disk Cleanup.

If you are nervous about doing this on your own, ask a friend or family member that is a little more technically savvy to help you.

Next time…Speeding Up Your Internet Explorer Browser

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