How to Clean Up the Hard Drive & Make a Mac Run Faster

By Chance E. Gartneer

When a Mac computer has too much stored on it, it will run sluggishly. Optimization of your hard drive includes compression and removal of unused and unneeded files. Freeing up disk space and cleaning the hard drive allows running programs to utilize that space and to perform their calculations more rapidly.

Step 1

Clean up your download folder. Every time you download an email attachment, .pdf document, zipped folder, or any other media that you import into your folder from the Internet, it remains in this folder until moved to the trash. Sometimes you might have multiple copies of a single document from downloading the same message. Open up the download folder in the Finder, right click on the items that you no longer want, and select "Move to Trash."

Step 2

Back up unneeded and unused documents to an external hard drive. Music files that you never listen to, video files you never watch, and other forgotten documents are just taking up space on your hard drive. Insert the cable from the external hard drive into a USB port. Select the files to be backed up and by dragging them to the hard drive. Then drag the original files to the trash bin.

Step 3

Compress seldom used files. Compressing the file means that you compress the data size and the amount of room that it takes up on the hard drive. Right click on the item that you want to compress. Select "Compress" from the menu that appears. The item will now be contained in a Zip file.

Step 4

Uninstall applications. Double click on the hard drive icon and then double click on the applications folder. Click and then drag any old and unused applications to the trash.

Step 5

Empty the trash. Sending items to the trash does not do any good if you do not remove them permanently from the computer. Click on the trash icon, and then select the "Empty Trash" feature from the "Finder" tab at the top. You will see a change in the amount of free space listed in the bottom of the finder folder.