Atryeu Designs » Computers & Internet » Tutorials & Guides » Cleanup the Hard Drive
After so many months and years of using a hard drive, random files start to build up. Each time you browser the internet, check your email or install new software, extra files get added to your hard drive and take up space that they do not need to. This tutorial will show you how to remove some of these files and free up some extra space. I will not go into details about some of the features of programs that automatically remove files for you in this tutorial.

Note that this guide was written while using Windows XP but the instructions will be similar for Windows ME and 98 as well. They should be similar for Vista and possibly Windows 7.

Also note that some parts of this tutorial will involve removing particular files from your system. All files I will be listing are generally temporary files but should be deleted at your own risk still. I will mark instructions that involve manually removing files in bold red text and you can choose to ignore those steps if you do not feel comfortable removing the files manually.

Disk Cleanup

To begin with, we will run through a few simple steps that will help remove files automatically for you. Click on the Start Menu and go to: Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Disk Clean Up. This little program will allow you to remove several types of temporary files from your system all at once. After you click the Disk Clean Up, a window will come up and ask where you want to do the cleanup (usually this is your C drive). The program will check your hard drive for files it can remove for you and calculate how much space it will free up. Once the check is done you can choose to delete files in your recycle bin, temporary internet files, temporary install files and a variety of other options. Several options allow you to view the files before you delete them if you wish and they all have an estimate how much space will be cleared once they are removed.

Once you are finished, you can also go back into Disk Clean Up and click the “More Options” tab for a few more options to clear up some space. These range from removing old System Restore information to removing windows features that you do not use or removing old programs you no longer use.

Internet Browser Cache

Every time you download a file or browser a page online, information gets temporarily downloaded to your computer as well and takes up space. Eventually this can add up and take up a large portion of the hard drive, especially if your browser does not allow you to set a limit to how much information it can store. Below are instructions to clear your browser caches and free up some space. I am only covering 3 browsers though but you will find that the instructions are similar enough and you should be able to do similar steps to clear the cache from other browsers as well.

Internet Explorer
Go to Tools - Internet Options In the General Tab, look for the “Browsing History” section. Click the Delete button for a list of Internet Explorer related files you can delete which include the cache, cookies, history, password and form data.

Go to Tools – Clear Recent History.... From here you can choose a variety of things to clear from Firefox including the cache, cookies, history, passwords, etc. If you go to Tools – Options and click the Privacy tab, you can find more options to adjust your browsing data and choose to delete most of it when you close the browser or limit how much is allowed on your computer at once.

Click the Preference icon in the top right corner of the browser (it looks like a small wrench) In the “Under the Hood” tab, click the Clear Browsing Data button and a list will come up where you can choose which bits of data you wish to delete, just like with the other browsers.

..... a few more ways to clean the hard drive will come soon .....

This concludes this guide. Check the other tutorials and guides for further ways to make your desktop your own!