Guide to Free Up Storage and Improve Computer Performance

Lack of drive storage is a common reason behind poor computer performance. As such, computer users should be concerned about freeing up disk space.

Ideally, a computer’s drive should have somewhere between 15 to 20 percent of its total storage unoccupied. However, that is not always possible, particularly if your computer has lackluster hardware, including the drive that does not offer that much storage. It is also worth noting that the recent trend of solid-state drives over hard drives also leads to some storage issues because the former do not offer as much disk space.

So the question is, how can one counter the issue and solve the computer storage problems so that the device can run smoothly.

Below, you will find multiple ideas and approaches that ought to help you create a solid drive management strategy on your computer.

Antivirus Check

The first thing you should do is to thoroughly check the computer for malware and other cybersecurity threats. Use a reliable anti-malware tool that offers custom scans, not just a feature to run in the background and detect viruses.

After the scan is over, see if the software detected any corrupted data. If the drive is clean, it means that you should not worry about cybersecurity threats for now and can move on to the next step.

On the other hand, if there are corrupted files, you want to get rid of them right away so that they do not harm the system and potentially cause trouble to the drive.

Permanent Deletion

Do not think that dragging files in the Trash Bin or Recycle Bin is enough to remove them from the computer permanently. No, if you want to free up the drive’s space, you also have to get rid of unnecessary data permanently.

Each time you drag a file in the Bin, remember to clean it. Otherwise, binned files will remain on the drive and consume space.

If you do not wish to bother with the Bin, you can use Shift + Delete on Windows or Option + Command + Delete on macOS keyboard shortcuts to delete files permanently.

Temporary Storage

Caches, extensions, old system backups, and other temporary files accumulate over time, whether you like it or not. And they are not just the problem for drive space. No, when a system has to process more files, it will underperform.

If you were to read about some tricks on how to speed up a computer’s performance, you would see that getting rid of temporary system storage is often mentioned.

One thing to note about getting rid of these files is that you are better off using specific software. Removing files manually is tedious, and you might not be too familiar with some of the files, which could lead to removing one that is crucial to the system. 

Redundant Files

Duplicates, downloads, and old media are some examples of files that you do not necessarily need to keep on a computer if they become obsolete.

It is true that deleting these files might not help too much with the overall storage issue, but if you are looking to free up the space, every little bit helps. 

You can even consider taking different approaches in certain situations. For example, instead of hoarding email attachments and other downloads, you should get rid of them as soon as they become obsolete. 

Localization files are another example that you need to be wary of. Sometimes, when you install software, you will see a pop-up that suggests installing language pack support. Unless you plan to use the software in a language other than English, there is no real need to add the localization data.

External Storage

External storage is a decent alternative for those who have too many files on a computer and do not know what to delete and what to keep. Instead of pondering that, you can take advantage of external storage and transfer files to a different location so that you can access them later.

Speaking of external storage, there are two options that stand out. It is cloud services and accessories, such as external HDDs and USB flash sticks.

  • Cloud storage

For cloud storage, you have a few options. If you have a MacBook, iCloud is the go-to pick, and it offers 5GB of free space with an option to extend it for a monthly fee. 

Users with another operating system can try Dropbox and Google Drive, though it is also worth noting that there are other, less-known cloud services available to check.

As a rule of thumb, you will find a cloud storage service that offers a few gigabytes of free storage with an option to get additional space for a monthly fee. Depending on your needs, you should be fine with paying a few dollars per month.

  • Accessories

Hard drives and USB flash sticks require a one-time fee, and you can use them as a means to free up a computer’s drive space. In addition, such devices also work great for those users who would like to back up their data.

Sure, these days, managing files digitally might seem more convenient, but hard drives, and USB flash sticks, in particular, do not require that much room, so keeping them at your home should not be a problem.

Streaming Networks

For some, it is large media files that are posing the most problems. Certain computer users like to download and store movies, TV shows, and even collections of music albums on their devices without realizing that it leads to significant storage issues.

Unless you plan to transfer such media files to external storage, it will not take too long before there is hardly any drive space left on the computer.

Right now, it would make more sense to use streaming networks instead. Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Hulu, and other streaming services give you access to hours of entertainment in movies and TV shows. Spotify and YouTube are the go-to options for music.

Sure, streaming services cost, but they are worth the money thanks to the convenience, not to mention how they solve storage issues on a computer.

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