How to free 5 GB on your hard drive in 10 minutes

I know there are tons of articles out there on this subject, but here is a list of things that I did to reclaim 4-5 GB of space from my hard disk. I also understand that this article is useless for most desktop users where Hard Disk space is no longer a consideration; but I am a laptop and need the space from time to time. For the purpose of this article, [WINDOWS] is the path where your Windows is installed and [PROFILE] is the path where your profile is saved (usually C:\Document and Settings\username). Also, with each item I put the amount of space I cleaned out on my computer.

Disclaimer: You are responsible for your own actions and so should be careful and sure before carrying out any of the actions below.

  • Clear out the System related Files:
    • 700MBTemp Folders – [WINDOWS]\Temp, [PROFILE]\Local Settings\Temp
    • 120MBWindows Update Uninstall folders under [WINDOWS]. These folders are needed if you want to uninstall a windows update, but usually that doesn’t happen. The names for these usually start with the ‘$’ sign.
    • 200 MB Recycle Bin – A lot of times you don’t realize that your recycle bin is full of stuff you can delete.
  • Clear out Browser related Files:
    • 500 MBTemporary Internet Files – I use both Firefox and Internet Explorer, and I simply used the Delete Temporary Internet Files function that both of them offer in their Options.
    • 900 MBDownloads – I download a lot of bits and pieces of files and they all usually go to a download folder. These add up over time. I had 3 different versions of the iTunes installer in my ‘downloads’ folder.
  • Clear out Application Related Cached Data (especially those apps that you don’t use anymore or don’t use so often).
    • 1.1 GBSecondLife Cache – If you use visit SecondLife a lot then you have a real big cache. You can get rid of it by deleting the files from this path: [PROFILE]\Application Data\SecondLife\cache
    • 1.3 GBGoogle Earth Cache – You can delete it from this path: [PROFILE]\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\GoogleEarth.
    • Of course, you may have other applications installed which create a cache on the disk and you can clear them all.
  • Clear our Ghost Data. I had a lot of files which were present on my machine which had data from applications that I had uninstalled a long time ago. I was able to free up almost 700 MB of data by clearing these up. Visit the following locations and delete any folders which belong to applications that you don’t have installed anymore: [PROFILE]\Local Settings\Application Data, [PROFILE]\Application Data.

Aside from the above, there are some general guidelines:

  • You might want to uninstall any software that you don’t use anymore. I regularly visit my Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs link to see what I don’t need anymore and uninstall it.
  • Download and install CCleaner, an excellent cleanup tool.
  • Defragment your hard-drive to reclaim those fragmented pieces of free space.
  • Archive old data (which you don’t need frequently) to DVDs or external Hard Disks.

What are some techniques that you use to make space on your hard drive?

4 thoughts on “How to free 5 GB on your hard drive in 10 minutes”

  1. I own a laptop too, and you are right about the drive space being more ‘precious’ on the laptops. Mine got filled in no time. I analyzed the drive and found high fragmentation as well. I think both these issues, filling up of drive space and fragmentation tend to create a debilitating effect on the laptop performance. I had higher temperatures and a couple of lockups.
    I think a regular cleaning schedule you have listed is very essential.

  2. @Brimmer…

    Oh yes, I have more things in my schedule that I do on a very regular basis to keep my computer performing to its potential.

    Maybe I should do a blog post around that.


  3. I am closing comments on this post because it gets way too many spam comments…. please email me if you have any comments for this one.

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