Where’s My Disk Space Going?

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Our disk drive is split into a C: and a D: drive. We only ever save on the D: drive, but the C: drive has only about 540MB left available! Apart from about 5GB of photos, I can’t understand what is taking up all the memory. The memory seems to continually go down and is now getting to a critical level. I have run malware checks and deleted all critical errors, but still not been able to free up any memory. I can’t even defrag as I need 20% free to run this option.

Disappearing disk space is a very common scenario.

Somehow, no matter how much we have, disk space never seems enough. As we collect pictures and programs (and the programs themselves collect data), more and more disk space is consumed. With so much happening on our computers these days, it’s difficult to easily understand what’s taking up space.

Fortunately, I can recommend a free tool that can give us some very helpful data.

Read moreWhere’s My Disk Space Going?

Can I Delete Old Updates?

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As time goes by, I get updates on different programs, which are stored on my computer and taking up space. Can I delete earlier versions as new ones are updated?

The answer to your question really depends on exactly which updates you’re talking about – as well as exactly how they’re delivered and installed.

Read moreCan I Delete Old Updates?

Is It Safe to Delete Log Files?

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Do I need to keep all of the log files created by Windows Update or any other install/uninstall or system-generated procedure? Will they ever be needed again? I see a lot of them in the Windows folder and as far as I can tell, they’re just text files taking up space.

In general, it’s safe to delete log files, but let’s talk about why we have them first.

Read moreIs It Safe to Delete Log Files?

Scheduling CCleaner

It’s no secret that crap (pardon the language) piles up on our computers over time. Temporary files that don’t get cleaned up properly, assorted caches, histories, and backups of files that we might never need all seem to accumulate and can even negatively impact performance.

I use the word “crap” here specifically, because that’s what that initial “C” in CCleaner originally represented – “Crap Cleaner.”

Regardless of the political correctness of its name, then or now, CCleaner is a useful tool in managing the accumulation of “stuff” on your computer that might be doing nothing more than wasting space.

In the past, we’ve focused on running CCleaner as needed to clean things up when we think of it or encounter a problem.

The beauty of computers is that they’re very good at doing things automatically. That includes not only creating crap, but cleaning it up as well.

Read moreScheduling CCleaner

Using Windows Disk Cleanup

Over time, it’s not uncommon for files to accumulate on your system – unused files, old ones, or files you no longer need. There are many reasons for this, but most are pretty valid when you get down to the details.

Fortunately, you don’t need to get into the details to clean things up. Windows includes a disk-cleanup utility that’s helpful for cleaning this type of thing right up.

Let’s walk through the steps of using Windows Disk Cleanup.

Read moreUsing Windows Disk Cleanup

Can I Remove Unneeded Language Folders and Files?

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Hi Leo. Many programs have folders and files with other countries’ languages (for instance, C:/Windows/boot).  Apple is one company that does this when you install iTunes. Over the years, I’ve deleted these seemingly unnecessary files to gain space and had no problems doing that. Recently, I noticed that after I delete these files, the next time that I run a particular program, the app needs to repair itself and re-installs all of the unneeded language files. Can you shed some light on this confusing aspect of Windows? There are many apps for Macs which strip out all of the unneeded language files and so forth, but I’ve never come across something like that for Windows.

Deleting localization files on your machine is typically fine, but as you’ve seen sometimes applications don’t like it.

Just make sure to back up first (which is what I advise everyone to do before making any deletion that you’re not 100% certain of). Once you do that, if you delete those files and they stay away, great.

But keeping those files off your machine? That’s not necessarily so easy. I’ll explain why.

Read moreCan I Remove Unneeded Language Folders and Files?

Why Does the Size of My Office File Grow Excessively after I Make Simple Changes?

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I received a PowerPoint file that was 6.3 MB in size. Now I didn’t touch anything in the file. The only thing I did was translate to English. Nothing else. When I finished, it was 30 MB. Can you explain that? I’ve got Windows 7 and Office 20007.

There are a number of different things that go on when you save a complex file. And yes, Office documents (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files) are incredibly complex documents in even the simplest of cases. They have a number of settings, options, and even formatting that can impact what these programs save to disk.

There are many things you can do to keep the file size from exploding. Here are a few of my suggestions.

Read moreWhy Does the Size of My Office File Grow Excessively after I Make Simple Changes?

Why Might an Update Take a Large Amount of Space?

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My laptop runs Windows 7. And I’ve got a 500 GB hard drive. I recently updated my Internet Explorer from IE9 to IE10. Now earlier, I wrote down the amount of space that was available or actually used on my hard drive. After I installed IE10, I looked at it again. And it took a full 1 GB more than before.  Is it really possible that this update has cost me 1 GB of space? Is it really possible that this update was that big?

Well, yes and no. There’s a lot more to updating than just updating. I know that sounds a little wishy-washy and I’ll try and explain what that means.

When Windows updates something important, especially something as important as Internet Explorer, things get complicated very quickly.

Read moreWhy Might an Update Take a Large Amount of Space?

How do I automatically clean out my accumulation of backups?

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Is there a way to automate the process of taking full backups and then incremental backups using Macrium Reflect and automatically thinning the backups out over time? I’m seeking something that works like Time Machine does on OSX (but with incrementals less frequently than hours.) If there’s a way to set this up with Reflect, it certainly isn’t evident looking at the software.

I agree, disk management settings are not evident when  looking at the software. But it absolutely is possible to manage the number of backups kept to disk – and to manage it automatically. That’s the way I have it set up on my machine.

Macrium Reflect can be scheduled to do full backups, followed by incremental backups every night. Combine that with what I would call “auto clean,” and you have your setting.

To sort it all out we need to first think about how incremental backups work, and then find the settings.

Read moreHow do I automatically clean out my accumulation of backups?

Should I Use Windows File Compression?

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I was wondering if I should run the Disk Cleanup utility and select the Compress Old Files option to use Windows File Compression. It is currently taking up 14372KB of space. Should I compress old files?

While you’re only asking about the Disk Cleanup utility, I’m going to talk about Windows File Compression in more general terms. Using file compression to save space is nothing new, even when it’s native in the file system used by Windows. Whether or not it makes sense to use isn’t necessarily a slam dunk.

In fact, without knowing more, I get to use all three of my favorite answers:

Yes.

No.

It depends.

After you’ve finishing beating your head against the computer, read on, and I’ll explain why I say all three. We’ll also discover that later versions of Windows itself  have made a not-too-subtle suggestion as well.

Read moreShould I Use Windows File Compression?

Why doesn’t my new, empty hard drive show all the advertised space?

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I just purchased a new computer with a 1TB (terabyte) hard drive. Windows is telling me it has 976,760,000KB of disk space. I don’t get it. Shouldn’t it be 1,000,000,000KB? Is there anything I can do to recover the other space? If I go to Windows Explorer and click on the hard drive symbol, it will show me the space on the hard drive. It said the total available space is 931 GB! What happened to the other 69 gigabytes? 

They were never there.

Believe it or not, there’s no real, agreed upon definition of what a gigabyte is.

Let me clarify: there are definitions. Plural. And which one gets used depends on … well, it depends on how you think.

Read moreWhy doesn’t my new, empty hard drive show all the advertised space?