Did these days, PCs come with drives containing terabytes of storage. Despite that, we still manage to fill them up with apps, documents, and cat pictures.
The downside of our gluttony is obvious enough. The more you fill up your drive, the slower your computer will work. Soon enough, you’ll be looking at your PC taking two minutes to boot and wondering where it all went wrong.
Well, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to go like that! Here are our best tips for cleaning your computer using nothing but simple tools.
Run Disk Cleanup
If you’re using Windows, you have access to the very useful Disk Cleanup tool. This allows you to remove any temporary files from your PC.
Click the Start button, search for Disk Cleanup, and select the top result. From the Drives drop-down menu, select the (C:) drive, then click OK. Now, select the Cleanup system files option, then select the (C:) drive again.
You’ll now see a list of all temporary files on your PC. These include Windows diagnostics, optimization files, driver packages, and so on. You don’t need any of these, so feel free to check them all and select Delete Files.
If you’re using the Shadow Copies feature, you can delete old files to reclaim more space. Follow the previous steps until you get to Clean up system files, then go to More Options > Clean Up > Delete.
Another simple way to restore space is to get rid of apps you don’t need. That can include file duplicates, old games, and so on.
To do this, head to Settings > Apps > Apps & Features. Sort the apps and games by size and see which ones are using the most space. Get rid of anything you don’t need by selecting the app and clicking Uninstall.
Another thing you may want to delete is your collection of secondary languages. First, go to Settings > Time & Language > Language. Then, delete any languages you don’t use or need by clicking the Remove button.
If you use Windows 10, consider removing the offline maps as well. To do that, go to Settings > Apps > Offline Maps. Select Delete all maps to free up more space on your drive.
Finally, you’ll want to get rid of any duplicate photos. These can be tricky to find on Windows, but if you’re on a Mac, all you need is Gemini 2. Click here to find out how to use this versatile photo finder tool.
Enable Storage Sense
Storage Sense is a Windows 10 feature that allows you to remove computer clutter. We recommend enabling it to run automatically.
To enable Storage Sense, head to Settings > System > Storage. In this section, select the Configure Storage Sense option and toggle it on. From the drop-down Run Storage Sense menu, select when you want it to run.
Before deleting files with Storage Sense, you may want to tinker with the settings a bit. For example, under the Downloads section, you can specify how often to clear downloaded files. For best results, use the 1 Day option.
On Windows 11, Storage Sense can also give you a lowdown on your storage. Go to Settings > System > Storage, and select Show more categories. From here, you can select each category for more storage details.
Use NTFS Compression
The NT file system (NTFS) allows you to compress your files and folders. That’s a good way to free up storage space without deleting anything.
You can enable NTFS compression for a folder by finding that folder in File Explorer. Right-click on the folder, select Properties, then click Advanced. Select the Compress contents to save disk space option and press OK.
To confirm this, select Apply changes to this folder, subfolders, and files. Press OK twice and you’ll compress any existing and future files in that folder. You can follow the same steps to compress individual files as well.
Keep in mind that data compression can have hurt your system performance as well. Only use this option if you have capable hardware!
Turn On Files On-Demand
The OneDrive Files On-Demand feature can make some of your files available online only. That’s another easy way to regain some much-needed space.
To enable this useful feature, click the OneDrive icon in your taskbar. Go to Help & Settings > Settings and select the Settings tab. Then, check Save space and download files as you use them, and click OK.
What this does is allow you to move files to the online-only OneDrive folder. You’ll still be able to access them, but they’ll no longer be on your drive. Of course, you’ll also need an internet connection to use this feature.
To move your files to the OneDrive folder, open File Explorer and select OneDrive. Then, select any files and folders you want to move. Right-click on them and opt to Free up space.
Hibernation is a feature that saves your data in memory before shutting the PC down. That way, you can pick up where you left off after a restart.
As convenient as this can be, saving the data comes with a cost. This data gets saved on your system drive, taking up gigabytes of space. If you’re running out of storage, you’re better off disabling Hibernation altogether.
You can do that by clicking Start and searching for Command Prompt. Right-click on the top result, then select Run as administrator. Finally, type the following command: powercfg /hibernate off.
If you ever want to turn Hibernation back on, you can do that as well. Follow the above steps, but type this command instead: powercfg /hibernate.
Cleaning Your Computer Is Easy!
The best way to ensure your computer keeps running smoothly is to clean it up regularly. The above guide is a good starting point! As long as you follow these tips, you’re unlikely to run into storage space issues.
Want to know more about cleaning your computer? Interested in other tips to make your PC run faster? Keep reading our tech-related content!