How Can I Free Up Space on Drive C?

By Charlie Higgins

Drive C is traditionally the main hard drive used on Windows-based computers. Over time, you may accumulate files that take up valuable hard drive space. There are a number of tools you can use to free up space and enhance the performance of your PC. Before you begin deleting unneeded files, is it always prudent to backup your hard drive just in case you delete something necessary.

Windows Disk Cleanup

The Windows operating system comes with a free cleanup tool to help you identify and eliminate unneeded files. Open "My Computer." Right click Drive C, select "Properties" and then "Disk Cleanup." The cleanup tool will display a list of files for potential deletion, and what they do. Select the files you wish to delete, and click "OK." Next, select the More Options tab. Click the Clean Up button in the Windows Components section. Here is a list of optional components you can choose to uninstall--for example, games that come automatically installed with the windows operating system. To uninstall components, uncheck the box next to components you do not wish to keep, and then click "OK" and follow the prompts. You can reinstall these components later if you wish.

Delete Unused Applications

Chances are you have a number of applications you never or rarely use. Using Windows Disk Cleanup, select the More Options tab, and click "Clean Up" in the Installed Programs section. A list of applications currently installed on your computer will be shown. Newer versions of windows will detail how much space each application takes up, and how often you use it. To delete unwanted applications, highlight them, click "Change" and follow the prompts.

Delete Temporary Internet Files

Every time you visit a web page, small files are saved on your hard drive in order to make the page load faster next time you visit. Over time, these files can accumulate, taking up hard drive space. To delete these files in Internet Explorer, click "Tools" and then "Internet Options." In the General tab, click "Delete Files" in the Temporary Internet files section. Check "Delete all offline content,” and click "OK." You can also limit how much space is allocated to these files in the future. Right click the Internet Explorer button, and select "Properties." Select the General tab, and click the Settings button under the Temporary Internet Files section. Adjust the "Amount of disk space to use" value as necessary.

Empty the Trash

When you delete files on your computer, they are not automatically erased but sent to the Recycle Bin. To open the Recycle Bin, double click the icon on the Desktop. You may want to quickly double check that there's nothing in there that you want to keep. You can restore any of these files by right clicking and selecting "Restore." To empty the Recycle Bin, click "File" and then "Empty Recycle Bin."