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Windows 7 hints and tips

Explore the new Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is a useful maintenance accessory that can be used to clear out files that are not needed on the hard disk drive.

Removing unnecessary files reduces the clutter and allows the hard disk drive to operate more efficiently and it saves valuable disk space that can be used for more useful files.

To run it you click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup. It can take a minute or two to scan the hard disk drive, and then it presents a list of items that can be removed, like temporary internet files, offline web pages, the Recycle Bin, and so on. A description of each item is displayed when it is selected.

Windows won't list anything that is essential, although some items may be useful. For example, items you have deleted to the Recycle Bin will be removed and you won't be able to undelete the files in there if you ever decide you need them. It's therefore worth checking it before you empty it.

Most of the items on the list are the same for everyone, but extra items can be added by certain software packages, like Microsoft Office.

There has been a small change between Disk Cleanup in Vista and Windows 7. The 7 version has been simplified and initially you are presented with a reduced list of items that can be cleaned up. Windows 7 lists eight different items that can be cleaned. At the bottom of the dialog is a Clean Up System Files button. Click it and you'll be able to clean up even more items.

With a clean install of Windows 7 you only get one more item (System archived Windows error reports), but this may change when you install extra software. It's worth clicking the button to see what extra options are offered and to clean up thoroughly.

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