More and more people are starting to use solid-state drives (SSDs). This type of drive is smaller but faster than mechanical hard drives. While SSDs will boost the speed of everything that needs disk access, they can fill up pretty quickly.
As you put more files on an SSD, it will start to have more and more partially filled blocks. It is slower to write to these blocks than it is to write to empty blocks. The end result is that your computer starts to slow down as the SSD fills up. Freeing up space is one good method for increasing the speed of a computer with an SSD.
Although SSDs have algorithms designed to address this problem, there are still some things that you can do yourself. Here are a few easy ways to free up some space:
1. Running Disk Cleanup
Your system files may be taking up gigabytes of potential space. If you are using Microsoft Windows, the built-in Windows Disk Cleanup tool will let you see how much space these files are taking up, and give you the chance to clean through your system.
To find the Windows Disk Cleanup, right-click on your hard drive in the Computer window. Next, click on "Properties," and then the "Disk Cleanup" button in the tab labeled "General."
2. Uninstalling Applications
Some applications can take up a lot of space on your hard drive. In order to free up space, you should consider deleting the applications that you don't use, especially if they are particularly large.
Windows lists your applications and their sizes in the Programs and Features section of the Control Panel. While several applications don't report the amount of space that they are using, this section can still give you information about many of them.
3. Removing Temporary Files
As useful as it is, the Windows Disk Cleanup tool doesn't delete temporary files used by other programs. Internet browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox will use hard drive space to save you time when accessing websites, but those caches can add up.
You can clear up these browsers individually. Alternatively, you can use a third-party tool to clean up these files, as well as any files that Disk Cleanup doesn't handle.
4. Getting Rid of Duplicate Files
While you are going through your files, you should keep your eye out for duplicate files. Programs like iTunes are particularly notorious for creating duplicate files.
While iTunes has a built-in tool for tracking down duplicated files, it doesn't help you find other duplicated files on your computer. Thankfully, there are a number of third-party programs that can help you track down the doubled-up files that are slowing down your system.
5. Moving Files to Another Drive
If you are still finding that you need more space, you should consider purchasing a portable drive. This device is a great place to store large media files that you don't want to delete, as well as other files that you rarely access.