How to Find Unused Files in a Computer

By Lita McLeary

Old files that are no longer being used need to be deleted in order to free up disk space and make room for newer and more important files. You can manually find unused files in a computer or use third party software to locate these files for you. When not located and removed from the computer system, unused files can pile up and monopolize your available hard disk space.

Manual File Removal

Step 1

Open your computer and browse through your files. Search in “My Documents,” “My Pictures” and “My Videos” for files that you no longer use. Right click on each document and select "Properties." Under the "General" tab you can find the date it was created and the dates you last modified and accessed it. You can repeat this procedure for each file and delete those files that have been stored in the computer for a long time but are no longer needed.

Step 2

Find applications that are not used anymore. Click on "Start" and then "Control Panel." Select the "Add or Remove Programs" icon and wait for the window to load. Scroll through the applications and select programs that are not important. Click on the application and then select "Remove" or "Uninstall." Wait for the program to uninstall and reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

Step 3

Run the "Disk Cleanup" utility. Click on "Start", "All Programs" and then select "Accessories." Under "System Tools," click "Disk Cleanup." Select the drive that you want to clean up and then click "OK." Wait for the computer to analyze the drive and its contents. On the small window that appears, click on the check boxes beside the category of the unused files that you want deleted. Categories may include "Temporary Internet files," "Downloaded program files," "Offline files" and "Recycle Bin files." Click "OK" when you are done.

File Removal Using FileBoss

Step 1

Open a web browser and navigate to Download the FileBoss installer and save it to your computer. Run the installer and wait for the installation to finish. Reboot the computer if necessary.

Step 2

Launch FileBoss. Click on the "Find" menu and the select "Old Files." Beside the "Find" option, click on the check box for "Files" if you want to locate files, "Folders" if you want to search folders or "Both" if you want the software to search for both files and folders.

Step 3

Select the types of folders and files that you are looking for according to the date you accessed, modified or created them. Normally, you would look for the ones you have modified. When you are done, click "OK." The software will list all files you have accessed, modified or created in the last week, month or year, according to the time frame you specified.

Step 4

Browse through the list of files. The list will show you the file name, file type and dates you last modified, accessed and created it. You can remove those that you have not accessed or modified in a long time by highlighting each file and selecting "Delete."

Tips & Warnings

  • Videos and images eat up valuable space on your hard disk, so it is very important that you delete them when you no longer need them. You may instead store them in external storage devices such as thumb drives, CDs or DVDs.
  • Aside from FileBoss, there are other software applications that can be used to locate old files such as CCLeaner.
  • Be careful when deleting files. Never delete system files because removing them from the computer may cause the system to malfunction.