What Files Can I Delete From My Computer?

Written by william jensen
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What Files Can I Delete From My Computer?
Consider deleting any old documents you no longer need. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

When you delete unnecessary files from your computer, it frees up hard disk space and makes it easier to find the files you need. However, it's important not to delete any files required by the computer's operating system or programs. If in doubt, leave them in place; usually it's not very hard to find more computer files you can safely delete.

Temporary Files

Various computer applications create files used once or twice, not needed after a while. Most temporary files use the .TMP extension, but these files can have other extensions as well. Programs often store these files in folders with names such as "Temp" or "Temporary Internet Files." It's acceptable to delete this material periodically. However, it is safest to delete temporary files created prior to the date you log on.

Old Versions

Sometimes you install a new version of a program on your computer such as a portable document format reader or Web browser and the old version remains. If you no longer have any need to use the old version, feel free to delete all of its files. In Windows, check the program's "Start" menu entry to see if it includes an "Uninstall" option usually listed below the entry for the program itself. If not, delete the old version by using "Add or Remove Programs" in the "Control Panel."

Antivirus Files

Some antivirus and anti-spyware computer programs keep logs, disabled virus file backups or other unnecessary content on your hard drive. For example, AVG has a "Virus Vault" you can clear with the "Wipe Objects" button. Spybot's S&D stores backups in its "Recovery" area; select them and click "Purge Selected Items." HijackThis software keeps a "list of backups" for deletion using the "Delete All" command. Before you decide to delete any backups and logs from your computer, verify that you have no need to restore or reference them.

PDF Documents

Files with the PDF extensions sometimes come with computer software or drivers. You might occasionally download them from the Internet and e-mail messages as well. These files often prove unnecessary after you have finished reading them, unless you need to refer to them again. They usually take up a considerable amount of hard disk space. Windows may identify these files as the "Adobe Acrobat Document" type. If you might need the information later, another option is to print a .PDF file out before you delete it or store it on a compact disc or a backup drive.

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