Remember the days of floppy disks and CDs? Or even overstuffed filing cabinets? Those days weren’t so long ago. Even memory sticks or USB drives are getting used less and less.
That just goes to show how quickly the speed of technology moves, and how often we adapt to keep up.
And the newest version of computer storage is using our actual machines and the cloud to house our files. And that means that now, more than ever, we need to know how to free up space on the computer.
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got your guide, below.
Sneaky Ways How to Free Up Space on The Computer
Think of your computer like a packrat or a hoarder. It really doesn’t like to get rid of files, in case you need them again. It likes to trick people into thinking files are deleted, when really they’re just out of sight – but not out of your CPU storage capacity.
The sneakiest way your computer does this is by not actually deleting things when you send them to the recycle bin. Your recycle bin is essentially just another folder and when you send something there, you’re just moving it around.
For your recycling bin to delete files, you have to open it up and tell it to “empty bin”. Emptying your recycle bin is the only way that the files inside will be permanently deleted.
Go ahead and double click on your recycling bin when you’re done reading this article. How many files are inside? Skim over the files to double-check there’s nothing you need, then click “empty bin”.
Give your computer a quick restart and you should see it running faster already!
1. Delete Programs and Apps You Don’t Use
Computers these days come with a lot of “bloatware”. These are programs the manufacturers think or want you to use that come pre-installed when you buy a new laptop or system.
And just like dragging a file to the recycling bin doesn’t delete it, dragging the icon for a program you don’t use there won’t get rid of it either.
To delete a program altogether, you have to go to your desktop search bar and search “add or remove programs”.
Once there you’ll see a list of every program on your computer, and you’ll be able to sort them by last used. Scroll to the bottom to find the ones you never use and note whether you installed them or if they came on your machine.
If they came preinstalled, give the program name a quick internet search with the words “can I delete” or “is (program name) necessary?” Before you click uninstall.
Some programs are essential to the functionality of your computer, whether it looks like it or not.
Once you’ve uninstalled what’s not necessary anymore, give your computer a restart (again), and note how much faster everything boots up!
2. Choose a Cloud Storage System
If you have a mac, your computer automatically comes with iCloud storage options. If you have a PC, it likely uses Microsoft OneDrive or GoogleDrive.
No matter what program you have, you’ll need to make sure your settings are configured so things that you save to your machine upload to the cloud as well.
Unless you use it daily, you don’t always have internet, or cloud storage space is an issue for you, there’s no reason to store more than a few files on your computers hard drive.
Think of your computer as a big old car. The heavier it is (with files) the longer it’s going to take to get to a certain speed. The fewer the files, the faster the machine!
Uploading all your files from your hard drive to the cloud is like going from driving a tractor to a BMW – or your choice of a decently fast car.
How to Change Your Cloud Storage Settings
To make sure what you save to your computer saves to your drive, make sure you’re selecting the right location when you go to save a document. You can also set up regular cloud uploads every night or every week to the cloud – and then clear out your files once that’s complete.
If you’re not comfortable deleting something off your computer in case the cloud fails you when you need it most, the next tip is for you.
3. Make File Sizes as Small as Possible
Let’s say you have a work computer and can’t upload things to the cloud yourself, or you’re old school and you want your files where you can see them.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a well-functioning fast computer! It just means that you’ll have to be more careful when you’re saving things in the first place.
Whenever you’re downloading an image, for example, the program should give you a choice of resolution size. The smaller the resolution, the smaller the file will be.
However, small picture files sacrifice quality, so you’ll have to find a happy medium when it comes to picking your resolution.
Downloading a report or something in a PDF format? Those files don’t have to take up so much room on your hard drive! Learn how to reduce pdf file size before you download, and you’ll be able to keep more files on your computer for longer!
4. Run Your Security Program Often
A lot of people set and forget their anti-virus program, which is great – but it can cause a storage buildup. When your program finds “suspicious” files, it isolates them in a specific folder. Once a month or so, go into your security program and delete those suspicious files from your drive.
Both your computer safety and your hard drive space limit will thank you!
Give Me File Freedom, or Give Me Death!
We hope you found this guide on how to free up space on the computer helpful. We recommend trying at least two of the tips above to see a real impact on computer function and speed.
Finally, give your computer a break every so often by actually powering it off. Sure, it’s a machine – but giving it time to rest will improve its performance in the long run.
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