This is going to be a fairly basic question, but I bet there are a lot of readers who won’t be able to give the answer I want – but how often do you do basic upkeep on your computer?
You might find the following different procedures labeled computer maintenance – but I also find that when faced with the term ‘computer maintenance’ lots of people shut off their brains and hear nothing more than static. Can’t blame them, it can sound like a lot. But it might be better to think of these processes as more of a cleaning process, or upkeep. It’s going to help you approach them with a much more open and receptive mindset.
Firstly, it’s important to know that regular cleanouts of your computer’s disk drives can do a lot when it comes to freeing up disk space, and there are a bunch of different ways to approach this. The very first thing to do is an automatic process, and its simply performing a disk cleanup.
Now, a disk cleanup itself is pretty easy to execute. Just select the drive that you want to clean, right-click it, and select properties. You will see a button labeled ‘Disk Cleanup’ – just click it. This process will identify all of the different ‘clutter’ or ‘junk’ files present on that particular drive and sweep them away into either your recycle bin, or completely delete them – that is up to you to select.
Realistically, this is the quickest way to free up disk space on your computer, though it might not free up a whole bunch. What might be easier is eliminating the need to delete junk and clutter files in the first place, and again, this is a really simple process.
The first piece of advice: Update your OS. If you have an update pending, just go for it. The same advice goes for any software, and there are a few reasons why. Firstly, updates usually involve downloading patch files ready to integrate into your software, which then deletes the old files they are replacing. Basically, just by running the update, you are clearing out some space on your disk drives by putting the patch into its software, rather than waiting to be integrated and existing only as files.
And this applies to all forms of software really – your OS, different applications, games – they all work in the same way. But, I make mention of your OS for a particular reason here. Usually, updates for an operating system involve upgrades to different aspects of the OS itself, which could mean junk and clutter files are accumulated at a much lower rate. Sometimes, the updates might even compress, or slimline different files that are compulsory in order to run your PC. Basically, updating your OS could lead to a slimmer disk drive, and a slower build-up of rubbish within your PC’s files.
Then we have your temporary files.
Temporary files are made when your computer needs to store information as it creates new data – its basically a holding cell until the new files are made and the information is ready to be properly stored. These files can come from a number of places, your internet browser, third party applications – but they are chiefly managed by your OS on a day to day scale.
All this means is that you should be aware of where your temporary files are stored on your computer and that you should routinely flush them out, as your PC will not always delete these temporary files automatically – and left alone they can build up quite severely.
These different everyday steps can go a long way in keeping your disk drive used space at a minimum – but we aren’t talking about one crucial step in disk space management: Common sense.
Take a look through the applications on your computer right now. Unless it’s a fresh install, or you are a devout minimalist, you are going to have at least five separate programs that you haven’t used in years. I know I do, and its right here that you can save space. Delete your unused programs, those games that you never play, and the untouched mods for them. Just by being a little more judicious and strict with your installed applications, you might find you free up a lot of space for yourself.
If deleting isn’t really in the question though, you can always explore the possibility of compressing your files. Take a larger library of files that you aren’t using currently, and compress them into a zipped format. Why? Well, this is a format commonly used by sites that offer downloads of software because it makes the files smaller – but unusable. You probably came into contact with compressed files before, at some point, it’s the reason you more than likely have Winzip or Winrar on your PC.
You have the ability to compress these files with this software as well. Just select the different files you want to compress, right-click them and then select ‘add to archive’ or ‘zip files’. This will compress your files into a smaller folder that can save you space until you need them again!