Lifehacker clone hard drive to SSD

Clean Up, Fix, and Upgrade Your Hard Drives This Weekend  February 26, 2016 – 10:19 pm

Clean Up, Fix, and Upgrade Your Hard Drives This WeekendLike most things, hard drives run better when you don't stuff them full of crap. Just because you have the disk space doesn't mean you have to use it all up. This weekend, get your drives in order and clear out the unnecessary crap.

Tidy Up Your Files

Obviously you'll free up the most disk space by getting rid of files you don't really need. Sometimes, it can be hard to part with your much-loved files, even if that means migrating them to an archival disk somewhere else. Naturally, you want to have everything you might need at your disposal but to tidy up, you need to make some tough calls.

First, just like you ought to do with clothing in your closet, find anything you haven't used in a year. All you need is an advanced search on Windows or OS X. You can also use similar searches to find large files (say, over 1GB) and throw away as many of those as you can. You should also seek out duplicates, and you'll need special software for that. Duplicate Files Search (free) works on OS X, Windows, and Linux and can handle the job, though you may prefer Duplicate Cleaner on Windows and Gemini for OS X. For more tidying tips, check out our complete guide.

Clear Out Lingering System Files

Operating systems don't always clean up after themselves as well as we might like, so regular maintenance can help free up quite a bit of disk space. Additionally, third party apps can leave remnants in places you don't necessarily know about so it helps to perform a thorough cleaning now and again.

First things first, when you have an app you want to get rid of you shouldn't throw away just the files you know about. Instead, you should get your hands on a great uninstaller to handle the task for you. We have recommendations for both Windows and OS X to get you started. Of course, not all app uninstallers will help you clean out remnants left on your machine before you came along. Just like you did in the previous section, search your system folders for anything that hasn't been used in awhile. That should turn up app data and settings that you just don't need anymore.

As for your system, performing maintenance tasks can help clear out caches and other crud. Follow our guides on Windows, OS X, and Linux to handle that. Windows 7 users should also make sure they install the Windows Update Cleanup to save several gigabytes of storage. Finally, if your system is just too bogged down for you to handle, you can always perform a fresh install.

Get More Space

When you need more space and you've removed everything you can, perhaps you need to just add more. As many recent Dealhacker posts have revealed, hard disk space doesn't cost too much these days and you can get a lot of it for cheap. Start stocking up on externals if you have a lot you want to save.


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