My laptop has a 250GB hard drive, I don’t store music or pictures on it and when it comes to work documents I save them to our network drive, because that gets backed up. So there’s no way I should ever fill up my hard drive, right?
A few weeks ago I noticed that my laptop was running a little more sluggishly than usual and on closer inspection I saw that my hard drive was dangerously low on space – I had about 15GBs left (6% free).
I went to one of my support desk engineers, Rogelio, and asked him what could be taking up all this space. His immediate answer was: “Have you deleted your temp files in a while?” To which I replied, “No, I haven’t.”
A temp file is a file that has been created on your computer to hold information temporarily while a file is being created. Temp files are useful in helping you recover lost data if a program (i.e. Word) or your computer unexpectedly shuts down. They also come into play when browsing on the Internet. Every time you visit a website, a temp file is created on your hard drive. This is also known as web cache.
So, depending on your computer habits, over time this can add up. In my case it added up to nearly 80GBs of space in temp files.
It is therefore a good idea to delete your temp files from time to time.
Microsoft does have built in tools to do this; however, the program I like to use is called CCleaner from Piriform. There is a free version and a paid one. I use the free version.
If you’d like to use the same application, here’s how. Once the app is installed, from the Cleaner tab do the following:
- Click ‘Analyze’ (this may take a while to run depending on the age of your computer or when the last time was that you ran a clean-up utility).
- Click ‘Run Cleaner.’ A box will pop and ask you if you wish to proceed; click ‘OK.’ (Again, this may take a while to run.)
If you are worried about losing saved passwords, then don’t. Notice that by default the box listed as ‘Saved Passwords and Network Passwords’ is not checked.
Security Disclaimer – You really shouldn’t be storing passwords on your laptop though!
- Once completed, run it again. Sometimes it takes 2 times to clean everything.
You’ll likely find that this speeds up your computer a bit too. Let me know how much space this frees up for you.