How to Delete Junk Files in Windows XP

Over time, your Windows XP computer will become choked with unnecessary files such as temporary files, browser cache files and unused shortcuts. These files take up space that you may otherwise need to install programs or store documents and multimedia. They can also degrade the performance of your computer. Cleaning these files off of your computer can dramatically improve the way your system functions. Windows XP has system tools to facilitate the process.

Instructions

    • 1

      Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. Select the drive from which you would like to remove junk files. Click "OK."

    • 2

      Select the files you would like to delete in the "Disk Cleanup" tab. Select "Temporary Internet Files" and "Offline Webpages" if you would like to delete your browser cache. Select "Recycle Bin" to permanently delete discarded files. Select "Temporary Files" to delete files that have been left behind for more than a week. To save additional space, select "Compress Old Files." Click "OK."

    • 3

      Click Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs. Scroll down the list to find programs you never use. Check the "Last Used On" date on the right side of the screen for information on how frequently you use the program. Uninstall any program that you no longer need.

    • 4

      Click Start > My Computer. Double-click the "C:" drive. Double-click "Program Files." Scan through the folders to find ones you don't recognize. Look inside the folders to find ones that are empty or which do not contain an executable (*.exe) file. These folders are usually remnants of programs that have been uninstalled. Ensure that the program in question has been uninstalled, then delete any files that remain.

    • 5

      Browse to the "My Documents" folder. Find documents within that folder that are old or that are no longer needed. Save any important documents to CD before deleting them. Delete other documents that you don't need without backing them up. Then browse to the "My Pictures," "My Music" and "My Videos" folders. Delete any media files that you no longer use or whose license has expired.

    • 6

      Browse to the "Documents and Settings" folder in My Computer. Click Owner. Click Tools > Folder Options... Click the "View" tab and select "Show Hidden Files and Folders." Click "OK." Then click "My Recent Documents." Click and drag the mouse over the shortcut icons to select them. Press the "Delete" key." Click "Yes" to delete the shortcuts.

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