My last post covered finding and deleting malware (spyware, adware) to speed up your computer. This post will deal with deleting unnecessary files and defragmenting your hard disk drive.
Deleting unnecessary files is a good way to free up disk space and that will contribute to increasing the speed of your computer. I’ll explain how when we discuss defragmentation of disk space. The typical files that can be deleted, usually with a cleanup package or using Disk Cleanup in Windows, are temporary Internet files, cookies, old registry files (be careful with these), and files that haven’t been accessed in a long time. Disk cleanup, as described here, should be run on a regular basis based on your usage of the computer. I’d start with doing it every six months for a casual user and note how many files get deleted by the cleanup. If there are lots of them, you may want to do it more often and vice-versa.
Disk defragmentation is a process that speeds up reading and writing information to/from the computer’s hard disk drive. Disk storage space gets fragmented when “spaces” on the disk are left empty by files being moved or deleted over time. Then, when information is required from the disk by the computer and the information isn’t contiguously stored any longer, it takes lots more time to find the information when it’s separated by all these empty spaces. It’s like having to look in three filing cabinets to get the information that could have been in one file folder in the first cabinet.
Again, fear not because there are great tools available commercially and on Windows to defragment the disk to compact the information in a contiguous manner thus speeding up the acquisition of the information and consequently the computer’s operation. Like the disk cleanup, this defragmentation process must be run on a regular basis with the time interval being driven by how much you use your computer. For a casual user I’d say start out doing it every six months and note how much space is freed up each time. If there’s lots of freed space after six months, you may want to do it more often and vice-versa. Most of these packages provide the capability to automate running them at scheduled intervals once you’ve decided how often you want it to run.
Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable.