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21 Ways to Speed Up Vista: Part 7 - Delete Unnecessary Files

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 4/24/2009

Read this step-by-step Windows Vista tutorial to learn how deleting unneeded files frees up valuable hard disk space and speeds up operational performance.

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    As you install and uninstall programs, browse the Internet and download to your computer, several unneeded, obsolete and sometimes dangerous files accumulate on your hard drive, taking up disk space and slowing down your computer. As they accumulate, they often cause system errors.

    These unnecessary files include everything from temporary (*.tmp) Internet and computer files, off-line web pages, deleted files in your recycle bin, and other unnecessary files. You can recover valuable disk space by getting rid of these files, and help speed up system performance.

    While Vista’s gets rid of a large number of unneeded files, it still leaves behind a lot of junk. For example, it will only allow you to delete files that have not been modified within the past week. Follow the steps below to manually delete these files from Vista.

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    Tip #14: Manually Delete Temporary Files from Vista’s Temp Files Folder

    1. Click on the Vista Orb in the bottom left-hand corner.

    2. Type: %TEMP% into the Start Search box. Press Enter. This takes you to your temporary files folder.

    3. Highlight the files to be deleted, and then press the Delete key on your keyboard.

    • Delete individual files by holding the Control key down and then left-clicking each file to delete. Release the Control key and then press the Delete key.
    • Delete all the files in this folder by clicking on the Organize button and then clicking Select All from the pop-up menu. Press the Delete key.

    4. Click OK to bypass the prompt that there are hidden files in the folder. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete multiple items.

    5. Close the Window. Empty out your recycle Bin to permanently delete the files from your system.

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    Quick Tips

    • If you receive an error message reading: Error Deleting File or Folder, this indicates that one of the files you are trying to delete is currently in use by a program. Simply click OK, and then close all the programs you have open. Repeat the steps once again.
    • The "%" in “%temp%" indicates that "temp" is a placeholder to represent all temp locations on your PC.

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        Tip #15: Use Vista Search to Locate and Manually Delete Temporary Files

        1. Open the Start menu.
        2. Type: *.tmp into the Start Search text box. Press Enter. This will locate and list temporary files that you have in your system.
        3. Highlight the temporary files to delete and then press the Enter key. To highlight several files at one time, hold down the Shift key and then click on the first file, then on the last file in the list. Release the Shift button and press Delete on your keyboard.

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          Tip #16 Clear Out Your Browser Cache Files

          As you browse the web, a number of web files are stored in a cache file on your computer. Over time, these accumulate, taking up more and more disk space. You can reclaim this space by clearing out the cache. Here's how:

          1. Open Your Internet Browser.
          2. Click on the Tools menu, and select Internet Options from the drop-down menu.
          3. Click on the General tab.
          4. Click the Delete Files button in the Temporary Internet Files section
          5. Click OK twice.

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          Tip #17 Download and Run CCleaner

          CCleaner is a widely popular freeware tool is a system optimization utility that is designed to delete useless files to free up valuable disk space and speed up your system. It targets your browser cache, temporary files, recycle bin and clipboard among other locations on your hard drive.