How to clean up a cluttered hard drive

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Nov 5th 2012 - by Fix My PC FREE in: Blog Quick Fix Tip | 1 Comment

How to clean up a cluttered hard drive

If your hard drive is slowing down, then it could have too much data. As hard drives fill up with data, it becomes harder and harder to find the data that you need. This results in slow computer performance across the board. In many cases, it can also result in crashes and freezes.

If your hard drive is too full, you also won’t be able to download large files – like movies – or install your favorite games.

So what can you do about a cluttered hard drive? What is the fastest and most effective way to clean it up? Today, we’re going to teach you some of the best ways to clean up any hard drive.

Use WinDirStat to find the biggest space wasters

Windows doesn’t allow users to easily see which parts of the computer are taking up the most space. Fortunately, third-party software can do that for you. Using an application like WinDirStat, it’s easy to see where the biggest space wasters lie.

WinDirStat takes a few minutes to scan your hard drive before delivering a colorful readout of the space usage on that drive. Each file or folder is represented by a colored square. To eliminate the biggest space wasters, you’ll want to focus your attention on the largest colored squares.

Users can also sort space wasters by percentage. You’ll notice that the Program Files folder generally takes up a lot of space, for example. Along with highlighting obvious space wasters, WinDirStat can help you determine hidden files and folders that are taking up lots of space. For example, an obscure program you don’t remember downloading might be taking up several gigabytes of unnecessary space, and uninstalling that program can help you reclaim that space.

WinDirStat is simply the best way to find space waster on your hard drive. And best of all – it’s completely free. Download it today here.

Compress files

If you’re really hurting for hard drive space, then you can compress files on your drive. Compression isn’t the same as zipping – it doesn’t require you to “un-compress” files before you access them. However, it does make those files take slightly longer to access.

In order to compress files on Windows, simply right click on a file or folder, click on Properties, then click Advanced and hit Compress contents to save disk space.

Zip files

Of course, if compression doesn’t save as much as space as you want, then you can always zip your files in order to save even more room. You should only zip files that you rarely use, since you’re going to have to unzip them if you want to use them again. However, zipping can save significantly more room than compression, and it works particularly well on larger files. For example, you could zip a folder full of movie files in order to cut its space requirements in half.

Put all your songs in one place

If you have a huge library of songs, then that could be taking up a sizable amount of space on your hard drive. Obviously, you don’t want to delete those songs. But you do want to ensure that you only have one copy of each song. Sometimes, your song library might feature duplicate copies of the same song. In other cases, the exact same song file has been copied to multiple places in your hard drive. You might find it in your Downloads folder, for example, as well as your Music folder in My Documents.

Both of these problems are easy to fix. Most music applications allow you to easily view a list of duplicates. In iTunes, simply go to File > Display Duplicates to see a list of all song files with the same name and artist information. Delete one of these duplicate files (hint: delete the one with the lower bit rate for maximum quality) to free up space on your hard drive.

Next, you’ll want to consolidate your audio files to ensure they’re stored in one place. If you use iTunes, then consolidating audio data is easy. Simply open iTunes, go to File > Library > Organize Library and then click Consolidate files. iTunes will then transfer all of your songs into a single location, which means you can delete songs from all other parts of your hard drive. If you’ve accidentally duplicated song databases across your hard drive, then this can free up a significant amount of space.

If you want to manually root out duplicate song files, then open up the Windows search bar and type in .mp3 to see a list of the audio files on your computer. If you notice a lot of mp3 files are stored in an unfamiliar spot on your hard drive (i.e. not in your regular music folder), delete those files in order to reclaim that space.

Download PC Cleaner Pro

When you download a program with a name like “PC Cleaner Pro” you just know it’s going to do a good job of cleaning up your system. And that’s exactly what PC Cleaner Pro does. It identifies space wasters on your hard drive and deletes them. But don’t worry: PC Cleaner Pro only targets unnecessary files – like temporary internet files and other information – that you’re guaranteed not to miss.

PC Cleaner Pro also cleans up the registry and performs dozens of other essential optimization tasks on your computer. Put simply, it’s one of those programs that ever PC user should have on their system.

Download PC Cleaner Pro today!

Buy a new hard drive

Hard drive space continuously drops in price. Today, hard drives as large as 2TB to 3TB can be found for under $150. If you download a lot of music, movies, or games, then an extra hard drive might be worth it.

You can choose between internal hard drives and external hard drives. If you’re using a laptop, then external hard drives are the best option, since you might not want to go through the hassle of completing replacing your existing drive. But if you have a desktop computer with multiple hard drive bays, then there slipping in a new internal hard drive is easy and cheaper than an external solution.

Defragment your hard drive

If you’ve eliminated hard drive space wasters using all of the tips we’ve listed above, then your hard drive probably has some massive gaps in its storage space. This is a good thing, but defragmenting your hard drive will ensure that performance is at the optimum level.

During a defragmentation, your hard drive pushes all similar files close together. This ensures that your hard drive doesn’t have to go far to access the files it needs when opening a new program or game.

If you’ve followed all of the tips we’ve listed above, then you should never have to worry about hard drive space requirements again.

1 Comment

One Response to How to clean up a cluttered hard drive

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