System Cleanup on the Cheap – System Optimization Series
We’ve gone over a slew of tools that can be used to clean up and clean out your machine. With all those terabytes of space at your disposal it’s easy to let things pile up and folders will become bloated with unused files and duplicates of the same thing you couldn’t find from the first time you downloaded it. For this final part here are some tools to help you clean up your machine, recover disk space and remove some programs. All of these programs are FREE. Not shareware, or trials, or limited time versions. They are free tools to help you get the job done.
From MindGems is FolderSize. Personally, I think this is one of the most beneficial tools you can have. This tells you how much space each file and folder on your machine is taking up. I found this to be an extremely beneficial tool in TuneUp Utilties which helped me remove over 500GB worth of files. Here is the free equivalent.
Simply run a scan of the drive and you’ll get a report of folder sizes. Drill down into each one and remove what you don’t need, make a backup or move them off to another drive. A very cool tool that’s easy to use and comes with a pricetag of $0.
From the same company comes the Duplicate File Finder to help remove the same file that inevitably ends up on your machine. These can be duplicate images, the same PDF manual over and over again, video driver downloads, INI files, Zip or Rar archives or even ISO images for the same program. Duplicate File Finder is here to help locate all those files and help you get some space back. I know that I had the same download multiple times because I couldn’t find where I put the first one. Duplicate File Finder also comes with filters so you can isolate images, PDFs or archives.
To help clean up your system is the venerable CCleaner. With just the touch of a button it will remove Internet clutter from both IE and Firefox. It can also be used to clean the registry and keep things tidy in there. A registry cleaning is always a good idea after you remove a ton of programs to make sure all those entries actually go away. It too has a Duplicate File Finder. If you don’t have it installed, you should. It’s handy, small, quick and keeps things cleared out. For those of you worried about lingering cookies (like I am) you can run this as a scheduled task to make sure all those remnants get swept away.
And finally, Index Your Files. I don’t like the Windows Search or Index feature. It uses too many resources for my liking. There is a fine alternative though, Index Your Files. IYF builds a database of everything on your system. Forgot where you put a file? Want to see a list of all your ISO images? Just type those into Index Your Files and you’ll get a listing of everything that matches and the directory it’s in. this is great for finding PDF files and lost archives. Again, free to use and much lighter on resources than the stuff Microsoft anchors us with.
There are a lot of excellent tools out there for getting your machine back under control after so many files and programs have been downloaded. I quite literally bloated my 1.5TB drive to have under 300BG of drive space left. Where did it all go? What could I get rid of? Using a combination of tools, I was able to literally move, backup and delete over 500GB of hard drive space as well as remove a dozen programs I hadn’t used in over 6 months. I think TuneUp Utilities is pretty excellent with Ashampoo Uninstaller and Core Tuner offering some very nice features of their own. TuneUp strikes me as the Norton Utilities of old and I like that. It has a lot, but not everything. I like Uninstaller so I can try out programs, but make sure they actually go away. Core Tuner is good for truly making low priority apps a low priority and giving more power to programs that can use it. There are lots of excellent tools out there, but there is a lot of junk as well. But you have to start somewhere and I think this list of apps is a pretty good one.