The importance of cleaning up your computer’s hard drive is often overlooked by computer users, if for no other reason than they really don’t know how to do it. Quite honestly, a “clean” hard drive can be likened to a clean house – if it’s in order, you can find things easier and therefore you’re generally more efficient when you’re performing day-to-day tasks indoors. Likewise, a clean hard drive results in better PC performance and more efficiency.
Now, before you head to the garage to grab the screwdriver and the kitchen for the soapy water, we’re going to share with you how you can properly clean up your computer’s hard drive.
Cleaning up temporary files
On many PCs, temporary files take up an immense amount of space; especially if such files haven’t been cleaned in a while (or ever!). Unfortunately, Windows does not have a built-in, easy-to-use temporary file cleaning program, but there are plenty available to choose from.
A popular program that others use to clean up their temporary files is the program located at CCleaner.com – not only will it clean most web browsers’ history, cache and temporary internet files, it clears your Windows recycle bin and recent documents as well.
A defragmented hard drive is like a hopelessly cluttered home where you are looking for your misplaced keys. Your computer’s files, even through general use, will become “fragmented” whereby bits and pieces of certain files are stored at different locations on your hard drive. When you run a defragmentation tool, you are essentially tidying-up your hard drive and organizing your files in the way that they are meant to be stored.
If you’re familiar with the hobby of scrapbooking, you can think of a whole file as a scrapbook and the individual sleeves as fragments of that book. When you’re scrapbooking, you’ll often times have a sleeve on the table, on the couch and maybe even at a friend’s house – in order to access the entire book, you have to locate and retrieve each sleeve – which can be time-consuming and can slow down your access to the book considerably. This is what happens when files become fragmented on your computer.
In any case – defragmenting your computer’s hard drive is simple and straight-forward:
- Double click on My Computer
- Right click on Local Disk (usually C:)
- Choose Properties >> Tools >> Defragment Now >> Start
It’s likely that the defragmentation process will take a while initially, but it’s highly recommended that you run this utility on a regular basis to keep your files organized and your hard drive running efficiently.
These two steps alone will help you remove temporary files that take up hard drive space as well as cleaning up fragmented files that degrade your computer’s performance. Just remember, though, your hard drive is something that soap and water will not clean!