How to Remove Unused Files in Windows XP

Written by ty arthur
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How to Remove Unused Files in Windows XP
Windows XP has a built-in file cleaning tool. (deleting data image by dinostock from

Over time you will probably find that there are many different files and programs saved on your computer you never actually use. There is no need to leave these files to clutter up your hard drive when you can be using that space for data you access on a regular basis. If there are large numbers of unused files you need to remove all at once, you can use the disk cleanup utility that is included with the Windows XP operating system.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Open the Start menu and select "All Programs." Choose "Accessories" and then click "System Tools." Click the "Disk Cleanup" icon.

  2. 2

    Click the drop-down menu and select the drive that contains the unused files you want to remove, such as the "C" drive. Click "OK" and then navigate to the "Disk Cleanup" tab.

  3. 3

    Click the check mark next to the type of unused files you want to remove, such as "Downloaded Program Files" or "Temporary Internet Files." Click "View Files."

  4. 4

    Scroll through the list of files that are marked to be deleted. Remove the check mark next to any files you still want to keep and then click "OK." Click "OK" again to remove the unused files.

  5. 5

    Navigate to the "More Options" tab if there are specific programs you want to remove. Click the "Clean Up" button underneath the "Installed Programs" heading. Click the check box next to any programs you want to delete and then click "OK."

Tips and warnings

  • You can also access the disk cleanup utility for any given drive on your computer through the "My Computer" menu. Open My Computer and then right-click the drive that contains the files. Select "Properties," click "General" and then choose "Disk Cleanup."
  • You can also remove old restore points or optional Windows XP components you do not use by choosing the "Restore Points" or "Windows Components" options in the "More Options" tab.
  • If you only need to remove a few unused files it can be easier to simply right-click the individual file and choose "Delete."

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