Your computer requires periodic checkups and preventive maintenance—pretty much like you, its human sidekick. Fortunately, Microsoft has put quite a bit of effort into equipping Windows Vista with special tools, all dedicated to the preservation of what Microsoft calls PC Health. Here's a crash course in keeping your PC—and its hard drive—humming.
As you use your computer, Windows litters your hard drive with temporary files. Programs, utilities, and Web sites scatter disposable files everywhere. If you could see your hard drive surface, it would eventually look like the floor of a minivan whose owners eat a lot of fast food.
To run Windows Vista's built-in housekeeper program, choose your favorite method:
Open the Start menu. Type disk cl in the Search box. Double-click Disk Cleanup in the results list.
Open the Start menu. Click All Programs→Accessories→System Tools→Disk Cleanup.
Open the Control Panel. Click "System and Maintenance," scroll down to the bottom of the window, and, under the Administrative Tools heading, click "Free up disk space."
Vista asks if you want it to clean up only your files, or the files of everyone who uses the computer. When you make your choice, you're then asked which hard drive you want cleaned. When you finally click OK, the program dives right in, inspecting your drive and reporting on files you can safely remove.
The Disk Cleanup dialog box shown in Figure 20-1 appears when the inspection ...