June 19, 2013
Written by Larry Schneider
Thursday, 05 May 2011 00:00
I need to free up disk space on my home computer. Can you tell me the best way to go about this? —Steven G.
Dear Steven,It seems inevitable. You buy a new computer, one that’s state-of-the-art with a hard drive that would swallow other drives whole... and before you know it, that supposedly gargantuan hard drive fills up with upgraded operating systems, bloated software, digital pictures, music, and games you never thought you loaded. Like a stuffed closet chock full of surprises that you’ve been squirreling away for a rainy day, it’s time to let in the sun and perform the electronic version of spring cleaning.
You might also want to take a reading of your available hard drive space so that you can have a “before and after” picture and measure the effect of your efforts. Double click “My Computer” on your desktop, then right-click each hard drive icon (starting with “C:”) and left-click Properties. You’ll be presented with a pie chart that reveals the drive’s Used and Free space. Write down the results — you’ll want to check this again later on.
The automatic method of deletion can be found in the Windows Control Panel. To access this procedure, click the Start button, then click “Control Panel,” and finally select “Add/Remove Programs” or “Programs and Features” (depending on your version of Windows). In the window that follows, you’ll find a listing of Windows programs that have been previously installed on your computer. Scan this list for applications you know you don’t use or that you can live without. Click one you would like to delete, and then click Remove or Uninstall. (Note: If you’re an America Online user, you should also plan on highlighting America Online and clicking the Remove button. This will give you the opportunity to delete old versions of AOL that are littering your hard drive.)
Unfortunately, the uninstall process isn’t always as automatic as it should be. For example, you may be asked if you want to delete one or more shared files that other programs might possibly rely on. If you’re the least bit concerned or feel that you’re ill-equipped to deal with the problems that might arise because a shared file was erroneously removed, I recommend you respond “No” or “No to All” to the question of deleting shared files.
After you have uninstalled a program using the Add/Remove method, I recommend you shut down and restart Windows before deciding to remove another application.
How’d you make out? I hope you made a dent. Return to “My Computer” and re-examine each hard drive’s Properties Pie Chart. If the amount of free space has grown to a respectable slice, you’ve succeeded at buying yourself some time.
This is Larry Schneider, logging off.
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