How to safely remove files from your hard
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What do you do when your hard drive gets cluttered with folders and files that you no
longer need anymore? Not all programs are freestanding, meaning that sometimes they share
some of the files that other programs use, or the are sometimes linked to other programs.
When you remove folders and files from your hard drive you have to be very careful to not
remove the shared files or break the links. Regularly following this suggestion may help
you avoid the frustration of having to re-install some of the programs and files that you
use on a regular basis.
Here is how I check to see if my unused folder or file is really not needed.
- I copy the folder or file into a separate "hold"
folder, directly on my "c:/" drive titled "c:/holdto____" and each
time I create a new "hold" folder, I replace the "____" with a real
date... (Example - c:/holdtojuly1 - usually at least a month away)
- The easiest way to do this is by using "Explore". To open "Explore",
right-click your "Start" button and choose "Explore"
from the menu, by clicking it. On the top list of menus, you will want to make sure the
"details" option is checked on the "view" menu. Using the left scroll
bar (if it is exposed), scroll to the top of the left window, so that the details of your
"c:/" drive are easily accessible. If you are unsure how to proceed, the
"help topics" in the "help" menu on the top list of menus will provide
you with assistance for the "Explore" area.
- In this "holdto____" folder, I include a small NOTEPAD file
(of_the_same_file_name.txt) that tells me where my folder or file originated from and
other pertinent memory joggers, in case I need to restore that folder or file to the
location I got it from. I use the *.txt file from NOTEPAD because it has no additional
formatting included with it and it uses very little space on my hard drive. To use
NOTEPAD, click your "Start" button and go up to
"Programs", then choose "Accessories" from the "Programs"
menu. Choose "Notepad" from the "Accessories" menu. When you are done
making your note to yourself, name the NOTEPAD file the same name as the file or folder
you just put in that file, so it will be easy to locate, especially if you have quite a
few folders and files in that same "holdto____" folder.
- Once this has been done, I delete the original file or folder. (I follow this procedure
because if I "move" the folder or file, all active links move with it, and I
have accomplished nothing but move the folder or file from one area of my hard drive to
- I continue using my computer as usual.
- When the date on the "holdto____" folder arrives, I review my NOTEPAD note and
move the complete "holdto____" folder to the "Recycle
- I then empty the recycle bin by right clicking it and choosing "Empty Recycle
Bin" from the menu.
- I follow the above procedure because it provides me with the opportunity to
"test" the folders or files that I am proposing to remove from my hard drive.
- The alternative to the above would be to remove the folders or files by placing them in
the Recycle Bin and then selectively emptying the Recycle Bin. I used to follow this
procedure until I deleted a few files from the Recycle Bin that I really had intended to
keep for a while longer. Necessity has caused me to develop the above procedure.
If there are any errors or if there are sections that need clarification,
here and let me know.
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