Hard drive cleanup

I’ve been doing some hard drive cleanup at home. Yeah, I know, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon! Unfortunately, if I don’t clean things up from time to time, I end up with a mess. The main one being a desktop that has millions of files on it, and one folder called “Download” and another called “Backup” that take up half my hard drive.

I’ve been using two programs for some time, and I thought I’d share. In fact, it’s really just one program with two flavors. WinDirStat and KDirStat¬†offer a great way to find files and folders that are taking up the most space on my hard drive.

It lists the worst offenders first, and offers an option to delete without sending to the Recycle Bin. However, you have to be *very* careful when deleting files in this way. Especially in Windows. A good rule of thumb is to not delete anything inside the C:\Windows folder, at all. Sure, there are probably things in there you can delete safely, but it’s a risk I’m generally not willing to take.

If you are brave and want to jump into the folder, please watch out for two things. The winsxs folder often is a tempting target. It can be huge. Leave it alone. There are ways to reduce it’s size, but deleting it outright is asking for trouble.

The other is the Installer Cache folder. Microsoft used to provide a utility for cleaning up these files, but it caused issues. So, even Microsoft themselves can get it right. They very quietly stopped supporting the utility.