10 Ways to Clean Up, Organize And Save Space On Your Hard Drive

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winlogo.jpgIf your computer is running slower these days, or freezes up when you have too many programs running, you might need to reorganize your hard drive.

Even if your computer runs smoothly right now, it is still beneficial to know all of the space saving techniques that you can use to make sure your computer is clean, easy to navigate and in the best possible condition.

Before you begin, let's take a look at the current disk space you are utilizing and how much free disk space you have available.

Open My Computer (XP) or Computer (Vista), then right click on “C Drive ” and select Properties .

In the General tab, it should give you pie chart and information regarding the amount of free space currently available on your hard drive similar to the following screen shot:

If your free space is less than your used space, it is important to make sure you are maximizing your computer’s performance by cleaning up your disk. To help, here are ten ways to clean up, organize and save space on your computer’s hard drive.

1. Disk Clean Up

If the Properties dialogue box of you drive is not open, go ahead and open it (as shown above) and select the General Tab, then click on the Disk Cleanup button.

After this function has scanned your computer for available space, it will present you with another dialogue box. Here, you can view the files that are currently available to be deleted without causing problems on your system. These types of files include: Temporary Internet Files, Recycle Bin and can even compress your older files. You can click on each item, and view a brief description of what their purpose and reason is for being on your system. If it says, “You can safely delete these files” definitely check mark these items.

For any other items, you will need to use discretion, as once they are deleted they will not be available again. After check marking the files you want to delete, click on Clean up .

2. Defrag Your Computer

In the “Properties” dialogue box that you checked out by right clicking your “C Drive” folder, go to the “Tools” tab. Click on the “Defrag Now” button and your computer will analyze the space and information on your hard drive. After this, it will let you know if you need to defrag. If it recommends that you defrag, go ahead and do this. Nothing will be deleted, but your computer will maximize all the information it has on it by reorganizing the files.

3. Delete Old Or Unused Program Files

Go to your Control Panel (click on Start \ Control Panel ), then click on Add or Remove Programs .

Your computer might take a couple minutes to list your currently installed program files. Once it compiles the list, look through it and observe carefully the amount of space each program is taking up, how often you use each program, what company the program was downloaded from, and the name of the program. Do not delete any program that you aren’t aware of its use. It could possibly be a very important windows program that you aren’t aware is running to ensure proper computer functionality. But, if there are old, unused programs that you do not plan to use any longer, or do not need, go ahead and remove these programs.

4. Invest In A Second Hard Drive

Adding a second hard drive is a great way to expand storage capacity and help organize disk space on your computer. This will allow you to save space on your C drive by transferring folders and rarely used files that you may want to access later, onto the second hard drive.

Another great use when adding a second hard drive is for back up purposes. By backing up your system (or creating an image) onto the second hard drive, if you ever need to restore your operating system, you can just restore it from backup, and quickly be up and running in no time. Also it's a great way to restores files and folders that you may have accendently deleted while cleaning up your hard drive. ; -)

5. Zip It Up!

Zipping up your files is basically a way of compressing your files into very, very small files, while keeping them easily accessible if you ever need them. There are many ways to do this, but the most common and easy way is to use Windows built in zip utility or a program like 7-Zip.

Good files to zip up are documents and files that are important, but you do not need to access very often. If you need these files at least once a month, don’t archive them, because it will become a hassle trying to open them back up all the time. Take the files you don’t need to use all the time, zip them up into pertinent folders, and delete the originals. Anytime you need to use the files, simply unzip the contents of the folders and enjoy!

6. Save Onto USB Drive

Saving files onto USB drive are a great solution for archiving files and folders that you don't need all the time. Becuase of their portability, you can easily plug in a USB drive when needed, and instantly expand the storage capacity of your Computer. Combining files that are zipped onto a USB driive also provides a great back up solution as well.

Once you have copied items that you don't need on your PC, you can go back and delete all the files from your computer

7. Cleanup And Organize Music Files

Music files take up a ridiculous amount of space on your computer. By transferring these files onto an external drive, zipping them up, or burning them all onto data disks you will free up an exorbitant amount of space.

8. Delete Files from your Desk Top

Having too many files on the desktop can make things feel cluttered and obtrusive. If you work on the computer, or use it for any time at all, you will feel all warm and fuzzy inside by deleting or moving the files from your desktop and putting them into files within your “My Documents” “Pictures” or other directories within your computer. It will also help you to access the files more intuitively and stay organized.

9. Browser BookMarks

This isn’t necessarily related to your hard drive, but it is refreshing to have a nice set of organized, well titled and descriptive bookmarks in the browser that you prefer. Open up your book marks, and properly title, organize in folders, delete unused links and view all your book marks. This will also take some time, but will probably save you time in the long run, by finding the sites you need right away and with ease.

10. Delete, Rename and Organize your Folders

On your computer, the top tier of folder should be: My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, Program Files, Temp, and Windows (or whatever operating system name or designation is here.) There may be some others depending upon what you have downloaded onto your system, like PHP, APACHE or others.

Under these folders, you should do your best to organize, delete, rename and prioritize your files so that you can access them as easily as possible, and as intuitively as possible. It may take some time, but it will end up saving you time in the long run; instead of searching through your whole computer for a file or folder, you’ll know exactly where it’s at. Also, by doing this, you might find folders and/or files that you can safely delete. DO NOT delete any files or folders within your Windows or other Operating System directory. In fact, don’t even go in that folder unless you are an experienced with Computer administartion.

Author – Christina Freeman is a freelance web designer, graphic designer and writer. She currently writes web design tutorials and information on her Design-Niche Blog. Technology News on her Technology-Niche News Blog. CMS Reviews, news and tutorials on her Joomla CMS-Tutorials, News, Guides, My Story Blog

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Comments on 10 Ways to Clean Up, Organize And Save Space On Your Hard Drive Leave a Comment

January 21, 2009

Mosh @ 5:48 am #

One other method is to reduce the "quality" of your MP3s. Unless you're running a high-end sound system then 128kbps is fine as far as quality goes. I find a lot of the MP3s I download are 160 to 256kbps. The filesize of each of these can be as much as halved by running a conversion program without any audible change in quality.

By all means back up the originals on an external drive as you suggest, but knock the quality of the ones you keep on your hard drive down and see (listen?) if you can tell the difference.

Given the number of MP3s a lot of people have nowadays, you can save a huge amount of drive space this way. Ideal for the traveller (like myself) as my laptop goes everywhere with me. The more I can cram onto it, the better!

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