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How to clean laptop memory

Updated July 19, 2017

Cleaning your laptop's memory will help it run faster and more efficiently. Your laptop has two types of memory that should be properly maintained. The first is hard drive space, which contains all of your software and data. Periodically removing unused or unneeded files and programs will increase the performance of your laptop. Random-access memory (RAM) is the temporary memory that the computer makes available to the processor at any given time. Disk Cleanup and Defragmenting will allow your computer to access files more easily.

Log onto your laptop and click "Start." Go to the "Control Panel." Choose "Performance Information and Tools." The window lists data information such as calculations per second and memory operations per second. On the left is a list of tools for disk cleanup. The tools in this window can also be accessed in the "System Tools" folder inside "Accessories," which is also located at the "Start" menu.

Click on "Advanced tools." Choose "Open Disk Defragmenter." The window will list the last time the laptop was defragmented. If the "Last run" was over a month ago, click "Defragment now." Defragmenting your hard drive will rearrange files so that the laptop can better access them. Defragmenting may take an hour or longer, depending on the last time it was done.

Click back to return to "Performance Information and Tools." Click "Open Disk Cleanup." The window will prompt you to select a drive to cleanup. Select "C:" and if you have more than one hard drive, an external or a partitioned hard drive, do a disk cleanup of these drives as well. Wait for Disk Cleanup to calculate how much space you will be able to free up. This may take a few minutes to complete.

Select the items that you want to delete. These files will be permanently deleted. Delete "Temporary Internet Files," "Downloaded Program Files," and the "Recycle Bin." You may have an option that says "Hibernation File Cleaner." Removing this file will disable hibernation on your laptop. Do not remove this file if you use hibernation. Click "OK," then "Delete Files."

Things You'll Need

  • Windows XP or higher
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About the Author

Based in Portland, Dwight Benignus has written since 2007 for the economics blog Raincheckonomics. His essay, "Voice of the Future," has been published by Elder & Leemaur Publishers. He graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor of Arts and Technology and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in renewable energy engineering from the Oregon Institute of Technology.