Cleaning your Storage Drive

The following steps will show you how to clean up your storage drive. Not to be confused with physically cleaning a computer.

If you want to make your Windows computer faster, head over to Performance Issues after you’re done here.

Windows

Step 1: Initial clean up with Disk Cleanup

Windows Disk Cleanup
Windows Disk Cleanup

Windows has a built-in cleaning utility called Disk Cleanup. This is the easiest way to clean up junk files. It also can clean up Windows Update leftovers.

  1. Open Disk Cleanup as Administrator by searching for “disk cleanup”, then right-clicking and selecting “Run as Administrator”.
  2. Select your drive and click OK. Wait for it to finish scanning.
  3. If you see the “Clean up system files” button, click it. If it is not there, good.
  4. Check every item‘s checkbox to select it for removal.
  5. Click OK to remove the files and wait for it to finish.

 

Step 2: Piriform CCleaner

Piriform CCleaner
Piriform CCleaner

CCleaner is a program which can clean up junk files, not just from Windows, but also from other programs such as Google Chrome and Firefox.

  1. Download and install Piriform CCleaner.
  2. Open Piriform CCleaner.
  3. Click “Analyze” to scan for files to remove.
  4. Click “Run Cleaner” to remove the files. Wait for it to finish.
  5. Open the Tools section. Here, you can do various other tasks such as uninstall programs and remove Windows System Restore points.

You probably never need to run the Registry Cleanup. Usually, you will gain absolutely nothing out of cleaning up your registry.

Step 3: Using WinDirStat to find large files

winDirStat
WinDirStat

WinDirStat is a program that graphically displays disk usage in an intuitive way so it’s easy to find what is taking up space on your device.

  1. Download and install WinDirStat.
  2. Open WinDirStat and wait for it to scan.
  3. When it finishes (that’s when all the Pac-Mans have stopped eating and you see a nice graph) you can look at what is using space. It’s normal for C:\Windows to use 20-30 GB.
  4. Remove any files that you don’t need anymore, and aren’t system files. If you are unsure, post them to /r/techsupport to ask if you can delete them.

Step 4: Defragmenting using Piriform Defraggler

Piriform Defraggler
Piriform Defraggler

Do not do this for SSDs, only do this for HDDs.

Windows’ NTFS tends to fragment a lot. Fragmentation is when a file is physically split up into different locations on the drive. This is bad for performance because it means that your computer needs to look in lots of different physical locations to read a file from disk.

Your computer will try to put files into “contiguous” blocks which basically means they’re in one piece and can be easily read from start to finish. However, if it can’t or if the file grows with another file next to it, the file needs to be split up into pieces, called fragments.

We can fix this problem by defragmenting, combining files into contiguous blocks.

  1. Download and install Piriform Defraggler.
  2. Open Piriform Defraggler.
  3. Select which non-SSD drive you want to defragment.
  4. Click “Analyze” to scan the drive.
  5. Click “Defrag” to defragment the drive.
  6. Wait until it is done. Defragmenting will take several hours.

 

MacOS

Step 1: Piriform CCleaner for Mac

Piriform CCleaner for Mac
Piriform CCleaner for Mac

CCleaner is a program which can clean up junk files, not just from MacOS, but also from other programs such as Google Chrome and Firefox.

  1. Download and install Piriform CCleaner.
  2. Open Piriform CCleaner.
  3. Click “Analyze” to scan for files to remove.
  4. Click “Run Cleaner” to remove the files. Wait for it to finish.
  5. Open the Tools section. Here, you can do various other tasks such as uninstall programs and startup programs.

TODO: Add a program for manually cleaning and finding large files on Mac

 

Linux

Step 1: BleachBit

BleachBit on Xubuntu
BleachBit on Xubuntu

BleachBit is a program similar to CCleaner. It can scan and remove temporary files, such as Apt’s cache, as well as the cache of Google Chrome, Firefox, and more.

  1. Install BleachBit with sudo apt install bleachbit.
  2. Open BleachBit.
  3. If you want, you can customize the selection of what to remove, but it’s not necessary.
  4. Click the magnifying glass icon to scan your drive.
  5. Once the scan has finished, click the Trash icon to delete the files.

Step 2: Baobab

Baobab on Xubuntu
Baobab on Xubuntu

Baobab is a program similar to WinDirStat. It graphically displays disk usage in an intuitive way so it’s easy to find what is taking up space.

  1. Install Baobab with sudo apt install baobab.
  2. Open Baobab and select which location you want to clean.
  3. Manually look through the files and clean out the junk.
  4. You can click on any folder to focus on it and explode it.

 

All OS: Uninstall programs

Now that you have cleaned up cache files and your personal files, you can go ahead and uninstall programs. I’m pretty sure you love that one steam game but you haven’t played it in the last three years. Uninstall it.

Or you maybe downloaded a lot of programs for a purpose just to find the one you like, uninstall the others.

With these tips I’m sure you’ll clean up plenty of space on your storage drive.

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