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5 Ways to Declutter Your Hard Disk

5 Ways to Declutter Your Hard Disk

May 30, 2017
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As businesses grow, so do the number of files they generate. Presentations, proposals, correspondence, contracts, spreadsheets, and other types of business documents can quickly accumulate and fill up a hard disk. Fortunately, freeing up disk space on Windows computers is relatively easy.

Here are five ways to declutter your computer’s hard disk when it is nearing its capacity:

1. Uninstall Applications You Are Not Using

Computers often come with preinstalled applications (aka bloatware) that computer manufacturers try to push on users. These programs can take up valuable space on your hard disk. Removing the preinstalled applications that you do not use will help free up space on your computer. In addition, you can delete applications that you installed but no longer use.

2. Run the Disk Cleanup App

Windows operating systems have a built-in app named Disk Cleanup that you can use to regain space. When you run this tool, it determines the amount of space you can potentially free up and how to do so. For example, it might suggest that you delete temporary files, the documents in your Recycle Bin, or even the thumbnail images that Windows automatically creates and stores for pictures and videos. Once you select the files you want to delete, the Disk Cleanup tool removes them for you.

You also have the option of using the app’s “Clean up system files” feature. It removes system files that are no longer necessary for the operating system to function, such as outdated device drivers and old installation files.

3. Delete Duplicate Files in Your Folders

Having multiple copies of the same report or presentation in several different folders can waste disk space. Third-party programs are available that let you easily find and delete duplicate files. When using these types of programs, it is important to delete duplicate files only in your personal folders. Do not remove duplicate files in system folders. Some applications depend on having copies of certain files in these folders. Removing the duplicates could break those applications.

4. Store Rarely Used Files Elsewhere

You likely have files that you want to keep but seldom access anymore, such as correspondence, contracts, and reports from previous years. One way to free up disk space is to store these files in the cloud. Many secure yet affordable cloud-based storage services are available nowadays.

If you are uncomfortable with using a cloud-based storage service, another option is to store rarely used files on an external hard drive. These devices are relatively inexpensive and can be easily transported in case the files are needed at a different location.

5. Delete Old Smartphone Backup Files

Backing up the data on your smartphone (or tablet) is just as important as backing up the data on your computer. However, if you store your smartphone’s backup files on your computer, they might be consuming a large amount of storage space.

If your hard disk is running out of space, you can delete old smartphone backup files, keeping only the most current versions. If you want to keep the old versions, you can use a third-party program to move them to a cloud storage service or external hard drive.

Alternatively, you might consider backing up your smartphone to the cloud rather than your computer. Both Apple and Android smartphones have built-in options to back them up directly to iCloud and Google Drive, respectively. You can also use a third-party app to back them up to a different cloud storage service or an external hard drive.

Keep Your Hard Drive Free from Clutter

Deleting files you do not need is a good way to free up space on your hard disk. While removing unused applications, duplicate files, and old smartphone backups is pretty straightforward, using the Disk Cleanup app can be a bit confusing because of its many options. We can walk you through using this tool. In addition, if you want to move some of your data to the cloud, we can help you select a cloud storage service that will best meet your business’s needs.