A Hard Drive that’s pretty much full on your PC and which is also poorly maintained can significantly slow down your computer while clogging up and occupying valuable hard disk real estate.
For instance, a hard drive that’s near full capacity won’t even have enough free space to run Windows’ virtual memory function, which is how Windows OS is able to save applications when the physical on-board RAM on your computer begins to run low.
So when this happens and Windows’ doesn’t have a place to store this data, this results in your computer significantly slowing down. So here are some easy to perform tips on how you can perform proper and regular maintenance on your computer to free up some hard drive space on your PC.
Software Options For A Quicker Hard Drive
The older versions of Windows, such as Windows XP features two different programs for hard drive maintenance, which are Disk Defragmenter and Check Disk. They will scan, find and fix any errors while better managing the virtual space placement as well.
There’s also a variety of excellent 3rd party maintenance utilities which offer ways to maintain and tuneup your hard drive. For instance, one utility, WebMinds’ Easy Duplicate Finder, is a software app which is able to analyze all of your documents, photos, spreadsheets, email, along with other types of files which are duplicates and occupying hard drive space. The program also searches for any duplicate MP3 files, even if the file size is different. What it does is it scans the IDC tag to compare the artist or the title of the MP3 file for dupes.
Using Disk Defragmenter
Another way that your hard drive slows down is when the data becomes fragmented and begins to take up too much space. Disk Defragmenation is when there’s similar data on the disk which is no longer organized properly while sitting next to each other.
Hard drives can quickly become fragmented every time Windows writes new data on the hard drive. This is because it may at times need to break up the existing files on the drive to make more room for the large blocks of new data.
All of this unorganized data, much like your sock drawer, takes longer to find specific data, which in turn causes the slowdown in performance.
Defragmenting a hard drive when using Windows 7
• Click on the “Windows Start” button located at the bottom left corner
• Select the “Computer” tab
• Right-click on the “Hard Disk Drive” icon, and then choose “Properties”
• Then select the “Tools” tab and click the “Defragment Now” button
Select the drive that you’re wanting to defragment, usually the “C” drive, which is the main storage drive, and click the “Analyze Disk” button. Once it’s finished the analysis, Windows will then let you know if the hard drive needs to be defragmentated. If so, proceed to run the utility by clicking the “Defragment Disk” button.
Also, if your computer happens to have a Solid State Drive or SSD disk, it should not or doesn’t require to be defragmenteded since the defrag process can potentially significantly shorten the drive’s lifespan.
The entire defragment process could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
“Error Check” Your Windows PC
If your computer is constantly giving you errors, messages such as when a file happens to generate a “Not Valid” type of message, then you should be running the Windows’ “Check Disk” utility. The process is similar to Disk Defragmenter.
• Open the “Computer” tab from Windows Start, then right click on the hard drive icon
• Choose “Properties” and click on the “Tools” tab
• Click the “Check Now” tab and select “Scan For” and
• Click the “Attempt Recovery Of Bad Sectors” box
• Click “Start” which will begin the automatic error-checking process
Typically, Windows will inform you it’s not able to check the hard disk while it’s in use.
So Click on the “Schedule Disk Check” button, so it will automatically run the next time you boot up your computer. After the process begins to run, the utility will let you know if it’s located any bad sectors on the drive, and will also attempt to move the files from those sectors.
In some cases, the process may involve needing to replace some of the corrupted files with a copy which is stored on a backup utility.
Removing Of Unwanted Applications
If you find that your hard drive is still slow and/or low on disk space, then you should uninstall any applications or software programs which you no longer use, as well as clearing the temporary files.
To be able to see a list of all the applications which are on your computer
• Click on the “Start button”
• Select the “Control Panel” tab, and
• Click the “Uninstall A Program” tab which is located under the “Programs” section
Scroll through the entire list of the applications which you currently have installed on your hard drive to see if there’s any apps which you can or want deleted. When you come across an app or program to delete, select it and then click on the “Uninstall” button.
Be extremely careful when you do uninstall any programs or applications however, since some of the files may be linked to other apps on your computer which may disable that program.