How to optimize your hard drive and free up space on your PC

Free up Space on your PC – If from time to time you don’t carry out certain tasks of maintenance and optimization of your files, they will end up devouring all the storage on your hard drive. Here’s how to optimize that space by removing duplicate files, temporary files, and unnecessary updates.

On many occasions, our computer does not work at all well because we do not have it optimized and with enough space on the hard drive.

That is why we must do everything necessary so that there is enough storage to not have problems when it comes to working with the operating system.

There are several ways to achieve it, of which you must choose which one you want to use or if, on the contrary, they are all likely to be used. Let’s leave the preambles and let’s get down to business.

How to optimize your hard drive and free up space on your PC:

  • Analyze files with WinDirStat
  • Duplicate files with Duplicate File Finder
  • Delete duplicate photos with VisiPics
  • Locate repeated songs on your hard drive
  • Clean junk files with System Ninja
  • Windows 11 Cleanup

Analyze files with WinDirStat

The best way to realize how big a file is is to see it represented in a proportional graph.

Windows File Explorer does not offer a graphical view of which files are taking up the most space on your computer. But luckily, other programs like WinDirStat do.

Detecting which file or folder is taking up the most space on your hard drive is not an easy task with Windows File Explorer.

Although this explorer shows you the size of files and folders, it’s hard to get a visual picture of which files are taking up the most space on your drive. To achieve this, use WinDirStat.

WinDirStat is a free and multiplatform program that will analyze your hard drive and show you graphically and proportionally the space occupied by each of the files it contains. That way you can locate the largest ones and decide if they are worth keeping. After downloading it from its website, start installing WinDirStat. Free up Space on your PC

During this installation, pay special attention to the Choose Components box, since in it you must indicate to add the Spanish translation of WinDirStat. To do so, check the Spanish (español/ESP) box in the Languages category and continue the installation with Next.

Create a graph of your hard drive

The first thing WinDirStat asks you is which disk you want to visualize graphically. You can choose the option All local drives, which will scan the entire computer, Individual Drives in which you must indicate which drive will be scanned, or A folder, which displays a single folder, such as My Documents, etc.

Choose the option you prefer and click OK. Immediately afterward, it will begin to analyze the contents of the hard drive, showing you the proportional size occupied by each of the files it contains.

The result is a huge multicolored mosaic with tiles of different colors. Each of these tiles represents the proportional size of the capacity of your hard drive that a file occupies.

For the moment, forget the smallest ones and focus on the largest ones. Those larger files are the ones that you should now assess if they are files that are useful to you, or if you didn’t even know they were there. Free up Space on your PC

Click on one of these larger files and, in the file tree in the upper left box, its name and location, the percentage of the hard drive it occupies and its size will be displayed. Also, in the box on the right, you will get more information about the file type.

If you decide that it takes up too much space for your use, simply select the file and click on the Delete icon (it will go to the Recycle Bin).


Duplicate files with Duplicate File Finder

After obtaining a more global perspective of what the files occupy on your disk, it proceeds to locate and eliminate the duplicate files that surely occupy part of your hard disk, to optimize storage.

There are numerous reasons why you could duplicate files and unknowingly keep both copies (or more) taking up space on your hard drive.

Sometimes you will have generated these files yourself involuntarily, but on other occasions, it will be the programs you use that will create these duplicities.

To locate and remove these duplicate files use the free Duplicate File Finder tool .

  • Download this tool and install it, being careful not to also install other programs that you may not be interested in.
  • When the installation is complete, Duplicate File Finder will start.
  • To start the search for duplicate files on your hard drive, mark, in the Duplicate File Finder panel, the disk to be analyzed.
  • Next, don’t make any distinctions between what types of duplicate files it will look for since you want it to locate all types of duplicate files.
  • Check the Search all types of files option and click on Search to start the analysis and search for files on your hard drive.
  • When the search is complete, all duplicate files found on your system will be listed, grouping redundant files into pairs or groups.
  • In this list, you will find all the information about the size, location, and date of creation or modification. Based on this data, you can choose which file to keep or delete.
  • If there are many files, you can make an automatic selection based on, for example, the oldest modification date. To do this, pull down the Select button menu, click on the Select Duplicates by Modification Date option, and choose Earliest, to indicate that the oldest copies should be selected. Then it removes duplicates from each file.
  • Display the list of the Delete Selected Files button and choose if you want to send them to the Recycle Bin, to a quarantine area or delete them permanently. By performing this cleaning of duplicates, you will have already managed to recover a good part of your lost gigabytes. Free up Space on your PC

Delete duplicate photos with VisiPics

With Duplicate File Finder you could detect duplicate files. But what if you have two photos that look the same, but are two different files?

Maybe when you took the photo you realized that it came out a bit blurry, or someone had closed their eyes at the last second and you took the photo again, but you didn’t delete the file and when you copied them to your computer this file remained.

With VisiPics you will be able to locate two duplicate photos since this tool analyzes each image and detects similarities between them. Download VisiPics from its website, install it on your computer, and start the tool.

  • Next, change the interface language. Access the Options menu, click on Languages, and choose your language. Now, with the translated interface, it will be easier for you to use the program.
  • Select, in the box at the top, the folders where you usually save the images and click on Add selected folder to the list to analyze.
  • Next, click on the Start search for duplicates button (green triangle button) and all the images contained in those folders will be analyzed without taking into account their file names or creation dates.
  • When the analysis is finished, the images with the most matches found are displayed. These can be duplicate images, very similar ones, thumbnails of the original image, or the same image at a different size.
  • Hover over the thumbnail of the found image and you will be able to see a preview, as well as get all the information that will help you determine whether to keep or delete the image.
  • If you choose to delete it, simply click on the thumbnail of the image and it will be marked with the Delete indicator. Then, click on the Delete button and the marked images will be deleted. Free up Space on your PC

Locate repeated songs on your hard drive

Some programs, like iTunes, can generate duplicates of your music and even rename the files, making it impossible to locate them with Duplicate File Finder.

Just like with images, you’ll need a tool that analyzes each song and finds similarities in its content, regardless of its filename or size. This analysis tool is called Similarity.

Download this tool from its website, taking into account the version of your operating system, since there is an installer for 32-bit systems and another for 64-bit systems.

After this check, install the program on your computer and start it.

  • Then, in the Similarity side panel, check the folders to search for duplicate sound files and songs. These folders will be displayed in the bottom box.
  • Now, pull down the Start Scan button menu and click on Find Duplicates to check it.
  • Next, click on the Start Scan button and the scan of the files in the assigned folders will begin. In the status bar at the bottom of the Similarity window, you can see the progress of the analysis.

Are they repeat songs?

When Similarity finishes scanning the selected folders looking for duplicate sound files and songs, click on the Results: Audio tab and see how different files that could be duplicated have been detected.

These “suspected duplicates” are assigned a number and grouped, indicating that they are all the same song, despite having a different name or file format. In addition, the percentages of similarities that exist between them are indicated.

To check if, indeed, they are all the same song or not, double click on any of them and a small player will start with which you can listen to it.

If, as indicated by Similarity, they are duplicate files, right-click on the files you want to delete and choose the Delete option.

When only one copy of that file remains, it will disappear from the Similarity interface. That does not mean that you have deleted the file, just that since it no longer has duplicated it is no longer displayed. Free up Space on your PC


Clean junk files with System Ninja

Over time, Windows also takes up more space than it should with temporary files or updates that are not removed from your system after use and take up a significant portion of your storage. Cleaning these files will also free up a lot of space.

Daily, temporary files, browsing or program caches, and incident files are generated and accumulate, gradually invading your hard drive more. For this reason, it is advisable to periodically use a program that locates and eliminates these files.

There are many alternatives, but we recommend using System Ninja. Also, since it has a portable version, you won’t need to install it on your computer.

Using it is very simple. Download System Ninja from its website and start it.

  • Check, in the panel on the right, all the types of temporary files that you want to detect and remove. Then, click on the Scan Trash button, choose the drive to scan, and click Continue.
  • After this, the analysis of the entire unit in search of “junk files” begins. When the scan is finished, all junk files found will be listed.
  • You can perform a selective deletion of these files by selecting the ones you want to delete and clicking with the right mouse button to display the context menu and choosing the Delete file option.
  • If, on the other hand, you prefer to delete them all at once, click on the Delete all files button and all the junk files that have been detected will vanish from your hard drive without leaving any trace. Free up Space on your PC

Windows 11 Cleanup

Windows 11 has the Disk Cleanup tool that will eliminate the “junk files” that the system generates.

It is very effective to gain more internal storage space in Windows 11 :

  • To access this tool, launch File Explorer and go to This PC (left side).
  • Next, right-click on the system drive, choose to Show more options, and then choose Properties.
  • Now, click on the Details button.
  • Then it will take you to a part of Windows Settings where you will see everything that makes that drive busy. You can go to Temporary files and there mark what you see that you can delete such as Windows updates in memory, Windows error dump, temporary files, Internet temporary, or thumbnails, among other things.
  • After selecting what you want you must click on Remove files .

As you have read all these options are the ones you can use to have more space on your computer. Optimizing your hard drive and freeing up space on your PC is easier than you might think. Free up Space on your PC

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