Evan's Computer Recommendations

Cleaning the Hard Drive

Hard drives (HDs) are devices that computers use to store data...in forms of files in folders. The files are usually either program files (ending in .exe or .com) or data files that programs use (ending in .doc .xls .pps .txt etc.). Data is stored on HDs magnetically in little itty-bitty bits. Don't get your HDs near strong magnetic fields, those bits just might disperse.

Now, many times programs need temporary storage for many purposes...and many times those temp files do not get deleted. Fortunately, most HDs now-a-days are relatively huge and a few spurious files around don't cause problems. But, it's nice to know that you have a clean HD...makes for a good warm fuzzy felling!! :)

Anyway, there are basically two ways to remove these spurious files:

Note: Windows Explorer is your friend. It's like a god on your computer. You have access to all files and can manipulate them as you wish. But, before you start using WE, you'll need to configure it so it will not hide the files you're needing to delete. In WE under Tools/Folder Options/View, check "Show hidden..." While you're there, uncheck the boxes for "Hide extensions..." and "Hide Protected..." It's really interesting that MS hides its data files.

Now, call up Windows Explorer...right click on the C: Drive (under My Computer) and select properties. You can note how much room is available on your HD and how much is being used.

Call up Windows Explorer...right click on the C: Drive (under My Computer) and select properties.

The easy way is to then click on the "Disk Cleanup" box and let MS do the cleaning for you.

I don't like this method since I don't trust that it's getting all the files I want to delete (and it's slow).

Call up Windows Explorer (WE). This time, click on the "+" sign in front of the C: Drive to expand it. Go to the following folders and delete all the files:

1. C:\Windows\Temp
2. C:\Documents & Settings\Your User Name\Local Settings\Temp

Note: To delete all files, in the right pane, select any one of them then hit Crtl-A.

3. Optionally, you can also delete all the uninstalls for all the Windows Updates. Select the folder for C:\Windows and highlight all the uninstalls in the right pane. Then delete them. You might not see them since they are hidden. If you want to see them, in WE select Tools/Folder Options/View and uncheck the boxes for "Hide Extensions.." and "Hide protected..."

I say optionally, because there was one time I needed to uninstall a Windows Update because it screwed up some rather advanced program I was trying to run. Leaving these folders in Windows won't hurt anything, but I doubt there are very many instances of needing to uninstall a Windows Update.

4. Callup Control Panel/Internet Options. Under Temporary Internet Files, click "Delete Files" then "all offline." This deletes all the temp files Internet Explorer creates...and there are a gazillion of them...depending, of course, on how much cruising you do. I usually judge how many files are there by how long it takes to delete these files...sometimes up to a minute or longer!

5. The last job is to delete all the files that you just moved into the Trash Bin. Right Click on the Trash Bin and select "Empty Recycle Bin."

You should now have a fairly clean HD. Ya might wanna do another properties check again to see much more room you have after the cleaning. And, try doing this cleaning maybe monthly at first to get a handle on how much gets loaded in during a month's time.

Good luck.....

This page last updated 12-4-06