How to Clean Sweep a Hard Drive

By Tyson Cliffton

Conducting an annual clean sweep of your hard drive is important to keep your computer operating normally. This is especially important if you have a family that shares one computer. During a clean sweep you look for programs or files that are no longer used by anyone who uses the computer, but continue to take up space. All you need to do is delete or uninstall the files or move them to an external hard drive.

Delete Rarely Used Programs

Step 1

Create a list of programs that you or anyone else who uses your computer rarely use. Also, add to the list programs that may have been installed as add-ons with other programs that you don't use.

Step 2

Click the "Start" button in the lower left-hand corner of your screen. Click "Control Panel."

Step 3

Click "Programs and Features." You will be taken to the "Programs and Features" screen where a list of programs that exist on your computer will be generated.

Step 4

Locate one of the programs on your list of programs you no longer use on your computer.

Step 5

Right click the program you want to remove from your computer and click "Uninstall." Continue following the instructions to remove the program.

Step 6

Repeat Steps 4 and 5 to continue removing the programs you no longer want on your computer.

Delete Old Files

Step 1

Click the "Start" button in the lower left-hand corner of your screen and then click "Documents."

Step 2

Scroll through the list of files in your "Documents" folder and make a list of files that are outdated that you or anyone else using the computer no longer need. When you are done scrolling through the files in the folder, review the list and make sure that all of the files can be deleted.

Step 3

Right click on one of the files in the list and click "Delete."

Step 4

Repeat step 3 until all of the files on your list have been deleted.

Disk Defragmentor

Step 1

Click the "Start" button.

Step 2

Type "defrag" in the Search box and click "Enter."

Step 3

Click "Defragment Now." Make sure that only your primary hard drive is checked and click "OK."

Move Information to an External Hard Drive

Step 1

Search your hard drive for information that you don't use very often and can move to an external hard drive.

Step 2

Make a list of items that can be moved onto an external hard drive.

Step 3

Plug your external hard drive into your computer. Click "My Computer" and then click on your external hard drive.

Step 4

Locate one of the items on your list to move to the external hard drive. Right click on the item and click "Copy." Right click in an open area on the window displaying the contents of your external hard drive and click "Paste."

Step 5

Repeat step 4 until all of the items on your list have been moved to your external hard drive.

Disk Cleanup

Step 1

Click the "Start" button and then click "Computer."

Step 2

Right click your primary hard drive and click on "Properties."

Step 3

Click "Disk Cleanup."

Step 4

Click "OK."