In today's media heavy computing world, even the largest storage drives can run out of space quickly. Just off the top of my head, there are iTunes media libraries, audiobook files from sites like Audible, photo storage of personal pictures, movie files, television shows, and don't forget about games and they all take up increasingly large chunks of your precious storage space.
Add to this dilemma the inclusion of smaller SSD drives with only 128GB or 256GB total storage and the ever-increasing size of operating system files and now you have the perfect storm of growing file size and shrinking available storage.
What Can You Do?
In the war on shrinking storage space, two easily used applications stand out. The first comes standard with Windows operating systems and the second is a donationware program, which is well respected and very fast.
Disk Cleanup by Microsoft
The first application to battle the shrinking space of your storage drive is brought to you standard on the Windows operating system: Disk Cleanup.
To access from the taskbar:
- Select the "Start" button on your task bar.
- Choose "Programs."
- Select "Accessories."
- Select "System Tools."
- Choose "Disk Cleanup."
Alternatively you can access the application from the Windows 7 search function, by just typing the program's name: "Disk Cleanup."
To use the program:
- From the first screen, select the drive you wish to clean out.
- After a few moments, the Disk Cleanup interface will appear.
- Review the files automatically selected for removal using the "View Files" button in conjunction with a selected category.
- Once you are comfortable with the selections, click "OK."
That's all it takes to do a basic cleaning job in on your system. Keep in mind, this application does not deal with old installed programs and media files. These files are most the hidden and harder to find files within your system's folders.
WizTree by Antibody Software
Now that you have cleaned up the temporary internet files and windows update leftovers from your system using Disk Cleanup, it is time to turn to the media and game files that are continuing to hog your precious storage space. WizTree is a donationware program, meaning that you may download and use the application for free but are asked to donate a small amount for its use. WizTree comes with a very small file size itself and is simple to use and very fast.
- Start WizTree by selecting the program from "Program Files" or doubles click the icon on your desktop.
- Once the WizTree interface is up, select the drive that you wish to cleanup from the dropdown selection menu in the upper left of the window.
- Press the "Scan" button.v
- Select the "Top 1000 Largest Files" tab to see your largest files.
- Select a file you wish to remove by right-clicking on the file in the list.
- Select delete.
Be aware that this program does not discriminate between types of files that it lists other than to grey out important system files. Do not delete files on this list if you are not aware of what the file is and how it will affect your computer.