Computer Speed Tip: Throw Away Some Files
Paul Watson, PC Technician Friday, February 24th 2012
Room to Roam
Although most people are concerned with running out of RAM, slow computer performance can result from not having enough disk space, too! Computers use disk space as temporary storage. When disk space is running low, the computer is hard-pressed to cope. The solution? Keep your disk space tidy and be sure to leave enough room for temporary file storage.
When it comes to your files, there are several likely candidates for removal. Temporary files and cache files that some applications use are good starting points. Temporary files are created by applications when they’re performing a particular task. Other times, temporary files can be created when you download a zipped file from the Internet. Your computer may open the zipped file, but now you essentially have two copies of the download: the zipped version and the unzipped one. You really don’t need the .ZIP file anymore, so getting rid of these artifacts can clear up a lot of space.
You can use the Disk Cleanup utility that comes with Windows to locate and remove these tumbleweeds. You may find that you loosen up several hundred megabytes of disk space just by performing this maintenance task.
If you’ve removed your temporary files and still need (or want) more space, you may have to get down and dirty with your files. Photographs, videos and audio recordings take up a lot of space. If you want to preserve these, consider storing them on an external hard disk, a USB drive or even a CD-ROM or DVD.
Here’s another suggestion: consider storing your files “in the cloud.” Cloud computing is becoming a big deal and it may work as a storage option for you. Cloud storage providers will allocate a certain amount of disk space to you and you can put your important files in storage. They’re accessible from any computer via the Internet and they’re backed up and stored safely. You can quickly unclutter your hard disk just by taking advantage of low-cost, online data storage.
As a rule of thumb, your available space shouldn’t drop below 20%. If your stored files exceed this buffer, you should consider your hard disk to be full and take steps to either reduce your disk usage or add more storage space.
Photo Credit: TwicePix, via Flickr