Remember how fast your PC was when you first bought it? How quickly those programs opened, how crisply the machine responded? How does it feel now? Chances are that that new-machine performance is just a memory.

Want to turn back the clock? Here’s a simple way to free up hard drive space and improve the performance of your computer.

Clean Up Your Hard Drive

Over time your hard drive has almost certainly become cluttered with files you either no longer use, or never really needed in the first place. These files include:

  • Temporary Internet files
  • Recycle bin contents
  • Windows temporary files
  • Unused system restore points
  • Unused programs
  • Downloaded program files

By getting rid of these files and freeing up space on your hard drive you’ll improve your PC’s performance.

How to do it in XP

Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

Select the drive you want to clean (usually C).

On the panel that displays you’ll see two tabs: Disk Cleanup and More Options.

Disk Cleanup Tab XP

Disk Cleanup displays a selection of file categories – select those you wish to delete and click OK – Disk Cleanup will remove them from your computer.

Tip: by clicking on a file category you can read a description of that file type in the lower half of the panel.

More Options Tab XP

More Options allows you to remove unused Windows components, installed programs and system restore points.

Clicking the “clean up” button in Windows Components will display a separate panel where you can select various components and proceed to delete them.

Clicking the “clean up” button in Installed Programs opens the Add or Remove Programs window (which you may have accessed in the past through Control Panel). Select the programs you want to uninstall here.

Clicking the “clean up” button in System Restore will present a yes/no confirmation box.

How to Do it in Windows 7

Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

You’ll be asked whether you want to clean up only your files, or files from all users of that computer. Choose all users.

If your computer has more than one hard drive, select the drive you wish to clean.

The Disk Cleanup panel now shows and you should see both the Disk Cleanup tab and the More Options tab.

Disk Cleanup Tab Windows 7

Displays a selection of non-system file categories – select those you wish to delete and click OK.

If you wish to also delete system files, click the “Clean up system files” button, select the files you wish to delete and click OK.

More Options Tab Windows 7

In windows 7, as opposed to XP, this tab only displays two options:

Programs and Features – allows you to uninstall programs.

System Restore and Shadow Copies – allows you to delete system restore points and shadow copies of files associated with restore points.

Stay Clean

Running the Disk Cleanup utility every month (more often if you use the internet a lot) will help to keep your computer running more efficiently by freeing up hard drive space and preventing the build up of unwanted files and programs.

Improve PC Performance – Free Up Hard Drive Space in XP & Win 7, 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating


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