Yes, it is time for spring hard drive cleaning! Have you receiving those annoying display messages letting you know you are running out of space on your hard drive? Even if you haven't, maybe it is time to check out what you have stored on your hard drive.

Before we get into details, a word of caution. Be careful about deleting files if you are not certain what they are. Deleting entire folders can cause the improper removal of needed files. If you are uncertain if something can or should be removed, ask for assistance.

If you are using a PC, double-click on "My Computer", select your hard drive, right click, and select Properties. Select the General tab and you will be shown the amount of space remaining on your hard drive.

Files can be removed by selecting the file name and clicking the "Delete" button on the keyboard. On a PC, right click the selected file, select "Delete" and press the Enter key. If you have files or folders you have not used in ages but are afraid to remove them, first store to a disc, cd or zip, label the disc and then remove those files from your hard drive. Typically you can remove files ending in tmp, bak, chk. An easy method to find and remove these files is to select START, select FIND, select Files or Folders. In the Named: area enter *.bak, *.tmp, *.chk, enter and a list of files will be displayed. Highlight one or all and then press the "Delete" key on your keyboard. A display box will ask if you want these files removed to the "recycle bin", of course you do. Select Yes.

Programs should be removed using the Add/Remove Program feature. Go to Start - Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs. You can browse through the programs, selecting those no longer needed.

Remember after cleaning to empty your Trash/Recycle Bin.

For Mac users, here are some tricks for cleaning out a full Mac hard disk.

Open your hard disk window. If the window isn't already displayed as a list, choose "as List" from the View menu. At the top right of the window it will tell you how many megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB) are still available on the disk. If your hard disk has under 100MB available it's getting pretty full. Hold down your Control key while clicking on your hard disk window and then choose "View Options" from the menu that pops up. Or, on older Macs, open your Views control panel (from Apple Menu -> Control Panels).

Put a checkmark next to the "Calculate Folder Sizes" box. You'll probably want to turn this off later since having your Mac constantly figure out how big each folder is can slow down your window displays in the Finder.

Now you'll be able to see how much room each folder takes up on your hard disk. If you click on the "Size" column in your hard disk window the biggest folders will sort to the top. You can click on the triangle next to a folder name to expand it and see what's inside (including the size of the folders inside).

You don't want to throw away your System Folder, or the folders for the applications you're using, but you may find some folders that take up a lot of room on your hard disk that contain things you don't use or need. Drag these files and folders to the Trash and then choose "Empty Trash" from the Special menu to free up the space on your hard disk.

Check your hard drive again, if you haven't significantly restored more space on your hard drive, it may be time to upgrade your hard drive. Contact ITSS Computer Maintenance at 7973. They will be happy to discuss this with you.


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Last modified on 02/01/01
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