TUCOWS ARTICLE

How to Remove Junk Files

In the process of using your computer you accumulate files. Now, many of them are files that you actually want. Things like data files, text files, documents, databases, spreadsheet files, photos, graphics, music files, and more.
Published: Sep 26, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan
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This question submitted by Linda Simms, Carl MacCallum, Jane Nicols,Robert Nagawa, Tina Pressman and numerous others

Accumulating Junk

In the process of using your computer you accumulate files. Now, many of them are files that you actually want. Things like data files, text files, documents, databases, spreadsheet files, photos, graphics and music files. Others are files installed by programs, and you have no control over these files. Unfortunately, however, you also accumulate files that you don't want or need. I've found that many programs don't really uninstall files and folders when you uninstall the program. Instead, often the files and folders are left on your machine, taking up space and slowing things down.

Another source of file clutter is the Internet. When you surf the Internet, regardless of which Web browser you use, the browser establishes a cache. These are your "Temporary Internet Files"only they aren't all that temporary. The premise is a good one, it just gets carried away. Your browser creates a cache so that the Web pages you visit frequently will load faster. It does this by putting pages,graphics and other files in the cache. So, for example, if you visit a news site in the morning and go back to it later in the day, it will load faster. Why? Because many of the files needed to make up that page are on your computer! If they're on your computer they can be loaded into the Web page much faster. They can also take up a lot of room on your hard disk.

Removing Junk

There are a number of ways to remove and/or eliminate these junk files.If you just want to remove junk files from your Internet cache, every browser gives you the tools to do it. With Mozilla Firefox, for example, you can simply click Tools -- Options -- Privacy -- Cache. You can then clear the cache. The same is true in Internet Explorer, Opera, and other browsers. Yet another option is to use software that specifically goes in and removes junk files.

There are a wide variety of programs that are designed not only to clear out your Internet cache, but also to find other junk files. Many of these programs will also remove traces of recent documents, Internet history and so on. If you've never used one of these programs, you might be amazed by how much junk they can find. A friend of mine was recently using the junk-cleaning function of TuneUp Utilities and it found over 380 megabytes of garbage on his computer. I've found TuneUp Utilities is an excellent program and I use it myself on a regular basis. (Insider Tip: They just released TuneUp Utilities 2006 at http://www.tune-up.com/) Other programs you might want to try include:

Summing It Up

In using a computer from day to day you're going to accumulate junk files. Some of them are a result of surfing the Web, and others will be left by programs you use. Internet browsers provide a way to remove cache files, but if you want to dig deeper and get rid of all the junk, there are a number of programs to help you. I also recommend that you defragment your computer after you've removed a lot of junk.Remember, if you take good care of your computer, it will work better and last longer.

I'd like to thank Linda Simms, Carl MacCallum, Jane Nicols, Robert Nagawa, Tina Pressman and numerous others for asking this question.

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via email by clicking HERE. You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.


About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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