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Tech tips

Files and folders you should delete now to clean up your PC

Storage space for our files has always been a limited commodity. Even as we migrate to the cloud, we pay a premium for that space. When it comes to your devices, the more stuff you have, the slower it runs and the harder it is to find what you need. Tap or click here for reasons you should use cloud backup.

How often do you snap a photo with your phone without putting much thought into it? Is every photo a masterpiece? What about all the doubles? Scrolling through thousands of photos to get rid of the ones you don’t want or need is a daunting task, but there’s an easier way to go about it. Tap or click here for tips on finding and deleting duplicate photos on your phone.

When it comes to your computer, you are not the only culprit in terms of clutter. Windows comes with lots of files and folders you can do without. Getting rid of them will free up some disk space. Among other things, a full hard drive can slow down a PC. Read on for our tips on cleaning out your Windows PC.

Easiest trick: Empty the Recycle Bin

Whenever you delete a file on your Windows PC, it goes to the Recycle Bin. Deleted files are stored here and still take up space until you permanently delete them. To empty it, right-click on your Recycle Bin and click Empty Recycle Bin.

Another way to delete your Recycle Bin is to go to Settings > System > Storage > Temporary files. You’ll see a list of temporary files, including your Recycle Bin. Check the Recycle Bin box, then select Remove files to empty your recycle bin.

Clear temporary files

Temporary files are ones that Windows only needed while they were being used. They don’t have much use afterward, and over time they can take up lots of space. Open up your C: drive and select the Windows folder, then Temp (C:\Windows\Temp). Press Ctrl + A to select everything, then hit Delete.

You can also navigate to Settings > System > Storage > Temporary files and select the ones you want to delete, then hit Remove files.

Tap or click here for tips on finding and deleting junk from your Mac or PC.

Hibernation File

When you want to power down your PC or laptop without turning it off, you can put it in sleep mode. This stores your open windows, documents and files in the memory, and you can pick up where you left off when you return.

Hibernate does the same thing, but rather than putting your work in the system’s memory, it saves it all to your hard drive. Your computer can be shut down without losing your data in hibernate mode.

Hibernation mode takes up disk space and can add up to a large amount over time. You can disable hibernate if you don’t use it. Here’s how:

Right-click on the Start button or press Win + X, then select Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin). Type the following command to disable hibernation: powercfg.exe /hibernate off.

Delete the old version of Windows

While Windows will automatically delete the old version of the OS after an upgrade, you can manually delete it before that happens to regain some space. Be aware that you’ll be deleting your old Windows file, which means you won’t be able to return to your previous Windows version if you change your mind.

Go to Settings > System > Storage > This PC and scroll down to Temporary files. Under Remove temporary files, select Previous version of Windows and then Remove files.

Tap or click here for 6 checkups you can do to keep your tech running in tip-top shape.

Safest idea: Automate the task

You can let Windows do the cleaning for you with the Disk Cleanup and/or Storage sense applications. These are safer to use than doing it manually, as it’s less likely you’ll delete something important.

Disk Cleanup scans your computer’s hard drive for files you no longer need, like temporary files, caches webpages, files in your Recycle Bin, temporary internet files and more.

Storage Sense works with OneDrive to make files you aren’t using anymore online-only. You can see these files on your device even though they aren’t stored there.

RELATED: Want to delete your last 15 minutes of search history? Tap or click here to learn how.

Type Disk Cleanup in the Start menu and select a drive. When the app is finished scanning, you’ll get a list of files you can remove. Select the ones you want to get rid of and click OK, then Delete Files.

Type Storage settings in the Start menu. Under Storage, toggle Storage Sense to On. Now click Configure Storage Sense or run it now, and you can set when to run Storage Sense or select Clean now to run it immediately.

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