As you use your computer, Windows places numerous temporary files on your hard drive. Programs, utilities, and Web sites litter your hard drive with disposable files. Trouble is, Windows doesn’t always clean them up when they’re no longer needed. 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.
Choose Start→All Programs→Accessories→System Tools→Disk Cleanup to open Windows XP’s built-in housekeeper program. (Or, if you find it faster, right-click the icon for your hard drive in your My Computer window, and choose Properties from the shortcut menu. Then, on the General tab, click the Disk Cleanup button.)
The program dives right in, inspecting your drive and reporting on files you can safely remove (Figure 16-3). It’s like getting a bigger hard drive for free.
Start by selecting the drive you want to clean, and then wait while Disk Cleanup examines various files. The Disk Cleanup dialog box shown in Figure 16-3 (at left) appears when the inspection is over. Turn on the checkboxes of the file categories you’d like to have cleaned, and then click OK to send them to the digital landfill.
The More Options tab of this dialog box (Figure 16-3, right) provides links to three other Cleanup programs of Windows XP. Its three “Clean up” buttons take you to the Add or Remove Windows Components window (which lets you delete Windows modules you don’t use), the main Add and Remove Programs window (which ...