If youíve ever come across that Windows XP "Hard Disk Full" message then you are probably in a good position to appreciate the sentiments of this article. Whilst hard disk drives are relatively cheap and have increasingly larger capacities, it isnít always necessary to just get a bigger drive. With some thought and regular housekeeping you may find that you actually still have enough space and your computer will perform better as well.
Archive those old files. It goes without saying really and applies to other areas of life too. If youíre not using something on a regular basis then archive it. You can still get it when you need it but it isnít taking up precious space on the hard drive. Itís a good policy to back your data up regularly anyway as you never know when a hard drive may fail. Some people I know have learned this mistake the hard way. You need to think very carefully about this because youíll want to back some files up, but keep them to hand, whilst others you wonít need often so they can exist on a CD or DVD only. This strategy can also be applied to software and games that arenít used frequently. Youíve got the original disks, but you donít use the software much so uninstall it!
you may well notice a slight improvement in the performance of your computer...
Clear temporary files and browser cache. A lot of people tend to forget about this and itís surprising just how much hard disk space can be lost through neglecting to tidy up once in a while. In Internet Explorer you will find an option to "Delete Browsing History" under Tools and in Firefox "Clear Private Data" again under Tools will clear your browser cache. To clear temporary files, in Windows Explorer select your C: drive and then choose File, Properties from the menu bar. You will then see a button called "Disk Cleanup". Itís probably worth defragging your hard drive after a clear up and you may well notice a slight improvement in the performance of your computer. You will find this under the tools tab of the properties page mentioned previously.
Empty the recycle bin. This is another one of those tasks that can easily be forgotten. Incidentally, the disk cleanup process above will have an option to empty the recycle bin.
Eliminate duplicate files. You may be surprised just how many files (and indeed folders) there are kicking around your hard drive that are actually identical. Often these are just a complete waste of space and can be removed. There are plenty of freely available tools to help in the quest to get rid of these.
Burn downloads to CD or DVD at regular intervals. If like me you download music regularly you can very quickly eat up hard disk space with media files. Whilst itís handy to have all your music easily accessible, why not burn the stuff that you listen to or watch very infrequently?