How to clean up your harddrive (Windows)

Storage is running out all the time. Especially with newer but smaller SSDs. If you can’t afford buying a secondary disk or even a new one right now, you may follow this guide. The following steps will show you how to clean up your harddrive.

1. Initial clean up with cleanmgr.exe

cleanmgr.exe
Disk CleanUp Utility – from microsoft.com

This is the easiest and most effective way to clean up some gigabytes. Cleanmgr.exe (or Disk CleanUp Utility) has the wonderful feature of being able to clean up Windows Update leftovers.

Just type in “cleanmgr.exe” into your search bar in the start menu. It will show up almost immediately. Then – this is really important – right click and say “Run as Administrator”. Only that way it will find all the files.

Starting of the application may take quite a while.

Then hit every checkbox in the program and say “OK”.

2. CCleaner

CCleaner
CCleaner – from getintopc.com

If you still feel your computer is bloated with weird system files, use CCleaner to clean them up. Only run CCleaner with default configuration unless you know what you are doing. NEVER run the “Registry Cleanup”. You will gain absolutely nothing out of cleaning up your registry.

3. Use WinDirStat to find out which files are hogging your computer

winDirStat
How WinDirStat looks like – from windirstat.net

If all the cleaning up has not freed up enough space, you will need to find which of your files are using that much space. A free and easy tool for this is WinDirStat. Start it and let it run over your C:\ drive.

If it’s finished (that’s when all the pacmans 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 2-3 GB.

Click around the program, open up folders that are big and use the graph below to find really big files. You have to decide what you delete, those are your files anyway, but be sure not to delete any system files. Rather post them to /r/techsupport to ask if you can delete them.

4. Uninstall programs

Now that you have cleaned up 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 a lot of gigabytes on your harddrive. If all fails, post on /r/Techsupport with a screenshot of your WinDirStat.

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