How to remove harddrive files?




This question was answered on January 17, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Clean up your Hard Drive

Over time, your Hard Disk fills up with all kinds of stuff, and before you know it, that drive you bought just a year or so ago, and whose capacity looked great back then, is already alarmingly full You need a certain amount of "headroom" or empty space on your harddrive for Windows to function properly Things like the Windows swap file require empty space on the harddrive for standby utilization and your system can slow down enormously if it's not available

Uninstalling unused Components

Many people never bother to check which components of Windows are installed, and which ones can be removed Are you using Microsoft Fax Services? If not, you can save around 3.7MB Use Internet Explorer, but not MSN Explorer? Uninstalling MSN Explorer gets you 13.5MB back! Don't play the "standard" Microsoft games? They use 12.1MB of space!

Note: Some programs will only be available on Windows XP Professional

To uninstall Windows components:

Open your Control Panel (select Start > Control Panel)

Open Add or Remove Programs

Click the Add/Remove Windows Components button

Select the components you want to remove and press OK

For more information read these tips:

Uninstall Windows Messenger

Deleting Temp Files

When Windows crashes, or locks up and you have to use Ctrl Alt Del to restart, some temporary files will be left on your disk Some installation routines will also leave temporary files behind

These files will be left in your \Documents and Settings\your username\Local Settings\Temp folder

You can use Windows Explorer to find and delete these files To be on the safe site, don't delete files with today's date, these files could still be in use (most probably you'll get an error telling you that a file can't be deleted because it's in use)

You can also check your entire hard disk, to see if there are any temp files in other places:

Open Windows Explorer, and select your drive (e.g C:\)

Press F3, this will open Search

In the Search for files or folders named: (in box enter) *.tmp

Select the drive you want to search in the Look in: box

Press Search Now

Deleting other files

Other files you could delete are files with these extensions:

.dmp - Dump file When Windows (or an application) experiences a crash, a memory dump is performed If you don't use these files (for trouble shooting), delete them, you can save quite a bit of space!

.bak - Backup file; when a new (data) file is created, some programs will rename the old version with a .bak extension Be careful when removing these files

.cnt - Help-related file; ever notice those tables of contents when you launch certain Help files? If you don't need a table to help you navigate through a Help file, delete these They will not come back

.fts - Help-related file; when you perform a search with a Help file, this is created to make all future searches be performed quicker E.G., not worth having around unless you use Help files on a daily basis They are re-created if you do a search in a Help file, so these should be regularly scanned for and deleted

.gid - Help-related file; when you run a Help file, it creates a GID to make future accesses to that particular help file a tad quicker They're a complete waste of space You'll have to delete these on a regular basis, as they are recreated with every Help file execution

.old - Old file; see .bak

.~mp - Temporary file; see .tmp

.$$$ - Old file; see .bak (usually, not always)

.000 - Old file; see .bak

To be on the safe side, delete your files to the Recycle Bin, and leave them there for a week or two If you don't run into any problems, you can empty the Recycle Bin If Windows or any program complains about a missing file, just select your Recycle Bin, find the file and right-click on it From the context menu choose Restore This will restore the file to its original location

Temporary Internet Files

Another source of "disappearing" hard disk space are the Temporary Internet Files To speed up your Internet browsing, pages, graphics and other page elements are stored in your browser's cache It's worth it to clean this cache from time to time:

From the Internet Explorer menu, select Tools > Internet Options

On the General tab, press the Delete Files button under the Temporary Internet files header

A Window will pop-up asking you if you want to delete your Offline content If you don't download Web sites with Internet Explorer and view them when you are not connected (off-line) to the Internet later, you can check the box Delete all offline content

Compact Outlook Express Email

When you "delete" email in Outlook Express, they aren't really deleted! If you ever upgraded one version of Outlook Express to a newer version you probably experienced that: after upgrading you notice a lot of old email you thought you had deleted "returned"

Outlook Express just removes the "pointers" to the actual email from the index, but to actually remove the email itself, you need to run the Compact Folder function

You can access this function from the Outlook Express menu: File > Folder You can choose either Compact or Compact all Folders, the difference is that the first one only compacts the folder currently selected

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Posted by cristina of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on January 17, 2005