Even the newest, fastest, most advanced computers can fall prey to slowdown and space shortage. After all, computers might have higher processing power and more disk space every year but software is also becoming more advanced along with it. For most of us a time will come when we’re forced to do some hard drive cleanup so that we can free up disk space. This guide will show you how to do just that.

Do a Scan

Before you remove anything from your computer, do a system scan to check for any lost clusters, fragmented data, and otherwise junk files. Getting rid of all this stuff is often a great way to make a head start when cleaning up a hard drive. You should also run a disk defragmenter. Windows has its own cleanup software but if you can spare the dough you might want to consider one of the more dependable programs available in stores or online.

Applications and Programs

In your system tools section you’ll see an option that allows you to do a disk cleanup. Click on it and take a look at all of your icons. Drag the ones that are of no use to you to the recycle bin. Now it is time to uninstall. Go to the control panel and then select add/remove. This will present you with a list of your programs and how often you use them. The ones that you never or rarely use should be removed but if any of them say that they are used by other programs, don’t delete them just yet. They may cause unwanted errors in the future if you get rid of them now. Keep in mind, though, that not all of these programs will be completely removed. In cases like this, a third party uninstaller software usually can take care of the rest of your leftover files and remove them. After this you should have some more hard drive space but we’re not through yet.

Temporary Files

Windows likes to hold on to a lot of its temporary files even though most of them are of little to no use to you. Scan your folders and look for any files that end in TMP. The TMP stands for temporary and sometimes they can take up quite a bit of space. Drag them to the bin and then take another scan throughout your folders for files that end in BAK. These are also useless. But if you don’t feel comfortable going through your files like this, simply don’t do it. It can be easier to just run uninstallation software than to manually pick apart your computer because you don’t have to risk damaging anything. If you do go through with removing these junk files, make sure to not empty the recycle bin until you first shut off your computer and turn it back on. If your computer starts up properly, it means that none of these files in the bin were necessary for the computer to run properly. If there is an error, though, it means that you’ve got an essential file in the bin and you’re lucky you didn’t erase it.

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