October 8

HOW TO CLEAN UP SPACE ON YOUR PERSONAL COMPUTER

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Everyone reaches a point where they realise that they are running out of hard disk space on their computer. With simple steps, I'm going to give some guidelines on how to clean up space on your computer. Before I start with maintenance, I usually check how much used and free space are on my hard disk.

How to check used and free disk space

  1. Open “Computer” / “This PC”.
  2. Right click, or press Enter, on Local Disk (c:).
  3. Click, or press Enter, on “Properties”.
  4. Check the status of used and free space on the Hard disk and close the window (press Escape).

Manual clean up

Starting to create an organised filing system on your computer is the first step on cleaning up unnecessary files on your machine. When you start to organise your files, you will realise how many duplicates and triplicates of documents – including multimedia files – you have, which take up storage. By organising your files, you can delete all but the most recent files of that document. When I'm referring to organise filing system, I also refer to renaming files in a recognisable way. What is this “Doc17.docx” file?

Using Disk Cleanup utility

Windows has a build-in clean up utility called “Disk Cleanup”. Using this tool, you can clean up temporary files, log files, Windows update files, recycle bin, etc.
Note: By using this tool, you would not accidentally delete actual files that you use on your computer, except for the Recycle bin.

Steps

  1. Click the “Start” icon on the bottom of your screen or press the Windows key.
  2. In the search box, enter “Disk Cleanup” and press Enter.
    Alternatively: Open “Computer” / “This PC” and select your drive (for example, Local Disk (C: )). Right click or press the Applications key and click or press Enter on “Properties”. In the “General” window, click on “Disk Cleanup” or Tab to “Disk Cleanup” and press Enter.
  3. If you did not use the alternative in step 2, select your drive if multiple drives are available and click “Okay” or press Enter on the drive.
  4. Wait for the Disk Cleanup utility to finish scanning.
  5. Click, or press Enter, on “Clean up system files” and wait for the tool to finish scanning. This will delete old Windows update files and can consume a substantial amount of storage.
  6. Check all the checkboxes in the list by clicking, or pressing Spacebar, on each option.
    Note: When the Disk Cleanup is finished scanning, it will give you an estimation on how much space you can free up.
    Note: If you do not want to clear your Downloads folder, do not check the Downloads checkbox.
  7. Click, or Enter, on “Okay” and click, or Enter, on “Delete files”.
  8. Disk cleanup will delete the files and close automatically.

Delete web browser history

Depending on how many web browsers you are using, you might repeat this process with each browser. I recently freed up about 2gb of disk storage by deleting my browsing history. Why so much? Because I have probably deleted my browsing history about a year ago. I will show you on how to delete the browsing history of the Microsoft Edge, Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge web browser.
  2. Click on the “Settings” menu (it is the three horizontal dots in the top right-hand corner of the window) or Tab to “Settings and more”, press Enter, scroll down to “Settings” and press Enter.
  3. Click on “Choose what to clear”, or Tab to “Choose what to clear” and press Enter.
  4. Check all the checkboxes by clicking, or pressing Spacebar, on each option.
  5. Click, or Enter, on “Clear.
  6. Wait for the process to finish and restart (close and open) your browser.

Chrome

  1. Open the Chrome web browser.
  2. Click on “More” or press Alt.
  3. Click on “History” or scroll down to the “History” submenu and press Enter.
  4. Click, or Press Enter, again on “History”.
  5. Click (on the left of the window) or scroll down and press Enter, on “Clear browsing data” and a window will open.
    Note: With a screen reader, you might first have to press Spacebar on the “Main menu” button and then scroll down and Enter on “Clear browsing data”.
  6. From the “Time range” combo box, select “All time”.
    Note: If using the keyboard, Use the Tab key to navigate through the options.
  7. Check all the checkboxes and click, or press Enter, on the “Clear data” button.
  8. Wait for the process to finish and restart (close and open) your browser.

Mozilla Firefox.

  1. Open the Mozilla Firefox web browser.
  2. Click the “Library” button, click on “History” and then click on “clear Recent history”, or press CTRL + Shift + Delete.
  3. In the “Time range” combo box, select “Everything”.
    Note: If using the keyboard, Use the Tab key to navigate through the options.
  4. Check all the checkboxes.
  5. Click, or press Enter, on the “Clear now” button.
  6. Wait for the process to finish and restart (close and open) your browser.

Delete unnecessary programs

By deleting programs on your machine which you do not use, you can free up a lot of storage. Old printer software, modem software, media players, are just a few examples of software which you can delete to free up some space.
Note: Make sure you do not uninstall Windows drivers and or Microsoft services unless you do not know what you are doing.

Steps

  1. Click the “Start” icon on the bottom of your screen or press the Windows key.
  2. In the search box, enter “Add or remove programs” and press Enter.
    Alternatively: Open “Control Panel” and click, or press Enter, on “Uninstall a program”.
  3. Select the program from the list, click on it and then click on “Uninstall”. Or press Tab to the list of programs, scroll down to the program, press Spacebar, Tab to “Uninstall” and press Enter.
    Using the alternative in step 2: Right click on the program in the list, right click, or press Applications, and click, or Enter, on “Uninstall”.
  4. Follow the setup wizard to uninstall the program.
  5. Reboot your computer.

Disk Defragmentation

This is another build-in Windows utility which helps organising your files on your hard disk. This can help to free up some space. Noticeably it does nothing to your file structure on your computer. Read more on how the Disk Defragmenter Utility works.

Steps

  1. Click the “Start” icon on the bottom of your screen or press the Windows key.
  2. In the search box, enter “Defragment” and press Enter.
    Alternatively: Open “Computer” / “This PC” and select your drive (for example, Local Disk (C: )). Right click or press the Applications key and click or press Enter on “Properties”. In the “Tools” window, click on “Disk Defragment” / “Optimize” or CTRL + Tab, then Tab to “Disk Defragment” / “Optimize”, and press Enter.
  3. Select your drive from the list and click, or press Enter, on “Optimize”
  4. Wait for the process to finish.
    Note: This process might take quite a while.
  5. Reboot your Computer.

I hope this helped you free up some space on your computer. Let me know how much space you regained by following this guide.


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Windows


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