A computer or laptop will slow down over a period of use. One of the main reasons is the accumulation of junk files. These have to be regularly deleted because they tend to accumulate with each PC use. However, you should be careful when deleting files because you may end up deleting crucial system files.
What are junk files, where do they come from and how do they accumulate?
Junk files are unnecessary and are regularly created by the system with each computer use. For example, when creating a word document, Microsoft also creates a temporary file to keep things running smoothly. These also help in creating an automatic backup of the document in progress. When browsing the Internet, the browser also automatically and temporarily downloads internet information. These are saved in order to help to open the same browser or web pages faster the next time. The computer also automatically creates and saves these even when simply powering on or shutting down. These do help in making the system faster and more efficient. However, these are only helpful for the current time of use. After a document is saved and closed, these are no longer very much of help. The same is true with browser temporary files. They tend to accumulate over time because they are not automatically deleted by the system. They become junk files- unnecessary and clutter the system. They also tend to take up a lot of precious disk space if they are not regularly deleted and allowed to accumulate.
How to Delete Junk Files
Freeing disk space
1. Click on the "Start" button to open the Start Menu. For Windows 8, go to the Start screen and type "Control Panel" and select its icon when it appears on the search results.
2. The "Control Panel" window will open.
3. Select "System and Security" tab.
4. Under the section "Administrative Tools", click the button "Free up disk space".
5. A message window will appear as the system searches for potential files that can be deleted.
6. After a few seconds, the window for Disk Cleanup should open. It shows a list of files that can be deleted, how much space each occupies and the total disk space all they are using.
7. If unsure which to delete, Windows has already checked a few safe ones. These include "Temporary Internet Files" that contain stored old web pages used previously to speed up browsing, "Downloaded Program Files" that are helper files that temporarily speed up viewing certain web pages, and "Thumbnails" that are small icons for videos, documents, music and pictures.
8. Once the files to be deleted are chosen, select the "OK" button.
Another to remove junk files is through the following steps:
1. Open the Start menu.
2. Choose "All Programs".
3. Choose "Accessories".
4. Select "System Tools".
5. Click "Disk Cleanup".
6. A window will open where the list of computer drives can be seen. Click on which drive to clean, then click the "OK" button.
7. The same window as the one above will open, where the list of potential ones to be deleted are shown. Tick the box next to the ones to be deleted then click "OK".
There are some programs that are unnecessary or haven't been used for a while. These can also be considered as junk files that clutter disk space since they are no longer being used. Uninstall them with the following steps:
* Open the Start menu by clicking on the "Start" button.
* Choose "Control Panel".
* Choose "Add or Remove Programs"
* A window will list all the installed programs in the computer.
* Check the ones that haven't been used for a while or ones that have never even been used. To check if a program is being used or not, check the information on the right side of the screen, under the column "Last Used On". Anything that has not been used for quite some time should be deleted.
* Click on the program and choose the "Uninstall/Change" tab at the upper portion of the window.
The computer often creates shortcuts to make accessing in the future faster and easier. These shortcuts also take up valuable disk space. Delete them by following these easy steps:
* Open "My Computer".
* Browse the "Documents and Settings" folder.
* Locate the "Owner" and then "Tools".
* Select the "Folder Options", then the "View" tab.
* Choose "Show Hidden Files and Folders" then the "OK" button. Select "MY Recent Documents".
* A list of shortcut icons will appear.
* Click on all the shortcuts and press the "Delete" key. Choose "Yes" to delete all the selected shortcuts.
These steps should free a huge chunk of disk space and help the PC to run faster. If not, other issues may be causing the slowing down such as viruses. Check for these and other possible problems.
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