How-to: Use Built-in Windows Cleaning Utilities

Disk driveRunning out of hard disk space? Need to free up the space you know you’ve got but can’t work out where it’s all gone? You don’t need to install any other software. You can use the Disk Cleanup tool included with Windows to delete temporary files and free up disk space.

Disk Cleanup allows you to identify and remove the common clutter on your hard drive.

Just tap the Windows key, type Disk Cleanup, and press Enter to launch it.  For Windows 8, you have to select the Settings option after searching, then click the “Free up disk space by deleting unnecessary files” option.

If want to do it the long way, choose Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup.

The next tool is the Msconfig utility. Msconfig modifies how your system starts. Choose Start, Run, type msconfig, and click OK.

Veteran utility Check Disk checks for hard-drive errors and corrects simple faults. In Windows Explorer, bring up the My Computer window, right-click a drive, then choose Properties; on the Tools tab, click Check Now. If this is your boot drive, Windows will notify that some files are in use and set check disk to run on the next reboot.

Defragmenter analyzes disk drives for fragmentation of files and rearranges the contents to as few contiguous blocks as possible. In Windows Explorer again, bring up the My Computer window, right-click a drive, and choose Properties; on the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.

Lastly the Registry Editor is a power tool that allows you to examine the contents of the Registry, back it up, and make changes if necessary. You can do serious damage to your Windows install so use the Registry Editor with extreme caution. Choose Start, Run, type regedit, and click OK. Make sure you know exactly what you are going to do in the registry before you start amending or deleting registry keys. AJS

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