Here are five tips you can follow to accomplish the above steps and help give your Hard Disk Hybrid Tray some breathing room.
1. Uninstall unnecessary programs
In Windows 7: Click Start, Control Panel, and then select Programs and Features.
You can click the Size column to sort the installed programs and display them from largest to smallest. I’m not sure why a simple PDF reader (Foxit) consumes the most disk space on my machine, but as you can see, there isn’t much I can free up, and the applications listed are all that I trust.
In Windows 10: Right-click Start, choose Settings, click Apps and Features:
Click the Sort By field and choose Size to have the largest programs appear at the top, then browse the list and see what can be removed.
2. Analyze your system
Take a tour of your computer using Windows Explorer to see where the storage hoarders may be. You know where you keep your files, so this will be subjective to your system, but I can advise you to check and delete the Downloads folder if possible. It probably contains a lot of ripe fruit to remove. Take a look at your digital photos. Some cameras now set the resolution so high that an image can be two, three, or more megabytes in size. These add up: Do you really need 16 different shots of the Epcot Ball at Disney or pictures of the food you ate at Chef Mickey’s?
Go granular and browse all files to find excessively large ones that you can delete.
In Windows 7: Click Start, Computer, type * in the search box in the upper right corner, and then press Enter. The system will be scanned and all files will be displayed (note this may take a few minutes).
You’ll want to sort them by size for the best results, so press the left Alt button to open the Windows Explorer menu near the top of the screen. Click View, Details, and then sort by the Size column.
In Windows 10: Click Start, choose the File Explorer icon on the left the one that looks like a folder in an HDD Trays, expand “This PC,” select the drive you want to search, and then enter * in ” Find this PC “field in the upper right and hit enter.
Results for all files found on the system will appear (note that this may take a few minutes).
Sort results by size for best results – click View, Details, then sort by Size column:
You can then examine and possibly delete unnecessary files, but keep in mind that some of these will be system files (like pagefile. sys) that Windows will probably not allow you to delete and would just recreate them if you did.
Google a particular filename if you’re not sure what it is and want to know if it’s safe to delete. Make sure to empty your Recycle Bin after deleting files that you no longer need (right-click the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop and select Empty Recycle Bin.
3. Use disk space utilities
There are many useful utilities that can help you control disk space. One of my favorites is called TreeSize Free and it tells you the size of the directories on your system.
Run the program and click Scan, then select the Drive or Directory to check (in this example, I just selected C 🙂
Here we can see that the Dropbox folder on my computer contains the most data. So I can reduce the files it contains or remove folders from syncing as needed (I’ll explain in step 5).
Use CCleaner to purge temporary files and other debris that can waste space:
CCleaner can go through your hard drive to find temporary data and the like and then delete it automatically. It will also empty your Recycle Bin and has a registry cleaner along with a few other tools to help you see startup options, safely delete files, and more.
4. Use duplicate file utilities
Duplicate files can be quite common, especially when the same file ends up downloading over and over again. Deleting them can save disk space. You can use CCleaner to find and remove them, but here are a couple of other options. Duplicate File Finder is an easy-to-use program that can detect redundant files.
Add the directory to scan (for example, c: \) in the Directory field, then click Add. You can customize the search to include or exclude specific file types, search for minimum or maximum file sizes. And other options, such as checking for hidden or empty files. Click Go when you’re ready. The program will show you all the files found in the same size. Right-click and delete the files you don’t want to keep. Dup Detector works especially well with images. And can detect duplicate or very similar images even if they have different file names.
You need to click the Get Data tab to create an image data file, which basically means pointing the app to a directory you want to scan (make sure to check to Include all subfolders (recursive search). Click the Search Duplex tab, then Search Duplex to start scanning, then View Duplex to work with the results; You can remove the extras as needed.
5. Download data
Simply moving files from your hard drive to another storage location can be one of the most obvious and effective cleaning strategies. You can move data to an external hard drive or flash drive. But I highly recommend that you back up anything crucial as all hard drives have a limited lifespan.
You can also use cloud storage, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, to get files from your computer. Each has an option to selectively sync only specific folders, which means that your data will exist in the cloud. But not on your PC (Google the specific steps as the processes may change). You can still access the information in the cloud as needed of course. And if you change your mind and want to restore it to your PC, a few mouse clicks will do the trick.