Cleaning up your C:// drive (2024)

Your guide to de-cluttering of C: drive

Purpose of hard drive(C: drive)

C: drive, also known as Hard drive of you PC/Laptop is responsible for storing Operating System (Windows/Linux/MacOS etc) as well as other applications that your computer uses and files downloaded from internet.

Aging of hard drive

It is not uncommon to observe slower hard drive and high disk usage which can happen due to multiple reasons including malicious applications or just too many redundant application leftovers, multiple copies of installed applications or useless temporary files.

How to de-clutter your hard drive safely?

While deleting files from C: drive we are afraid of deleting some important file which might lead to unexpected error or system crash. Not Anymore! Follow the guide below:

  1. Relying on the C: drive for long-term storage is risky. All hard drives fail eventually. It’s better to save your data on a less volatile storage. Usually laptops comes with just C: Drive. It is advised to either fragment your drive into two or three parts yourself or get it done by a local laptop repair shop. If you wish to do it here a guide: https://www.dummies.com/computers/for-seniors-how-to-defragment-your-computer-hard-drive/
  2. Clean your desktop. If you don’t know all your easy to reach files on desktop are all stored in C: drive as desktop is part of C: drive itself. Organize your files in D: E: H: drives.
  3. Uninstall application you don’t use. Use Window btn + X → Setting → Apps → Uninstall.
  4. Program File and Program File(x86) contains data and configurations from install or previously installed applications. Be careful deleting files from here as they can store important information of application. But once you are sure you don’t want to use the application again or want it freshly downloaded you can delete the file with same name.
  5. AppData folder also contains data from application. If you are no longer using the application it is safe to delete the folder from here.
  6. Erase temporary junk : Access it by typing Disk Cleanup into the Start menu and selecting the disk you want to clean. Avoid deleting Download or recycle bin if you are not sure.
  7. Storage sense: Setting →System →Storage sense →Configure Storage Sense or run it now

Located at C:\Windows\System32

Nearly everything in the C:\Windows folder could fall under this list, but the System32 folder deserves special attention. It holds hundreds of DLL files that are essential to your computer running properly. In addition, it contains system programs.

Located at C:\pagefile.sys (Note that you won’t see this file unless you click the View tab in File Explorer, choose Options > View, and uncheck Hide protected operating system files. We don’t recommend doing this, though.)

Random-access memory, or RAM, inside your computer is responsible for temporarily holding open programs. When you open an instance of Microsoft Word, for example, it’s placed in RAM for quick access. This is why having more RAM allows you to run several programs concurrently (check out our guide to RAM for more background info).

If your physical RAM starts to fill up, Windows uses what’s called a page file or swap file. This is a dedicated portion of your storage drive that acts like RAM. If you have enough RAM on your computer, you should rarely ever see the page file take effect.

However, relying on the page file often will affect performance, as storage drives are much slower than RAM (especially if you have a slower hard disk drive instead of a modern solid-state drive).

If you run a scan to see what’s taking up space on your computer, chances are that the page file takes up several gigabytes. You might be tempted to disable it to save space, but that’s not a good idea. Without a page file, when your RAM maxes out, programs might start crashing instead of swapping into that extra memory.

Windows lets you manage your virtual memory if you must, but most people should let the operating system manage this automatically. If you’ve got memory problems with your machine, you can free up RAM on your PC, but the proper solution is to add more RAM to your system.

Located at C:\System Volume Information (This is also hidden if Hide protected operating system files is checked.)

Another large folder that doesn’t have an obvious purpose, the System Volume Information folder actually contains several important Windows functions. In fact, when you try to access it, Windows will give you an Access Denied error.

This folder contains the System Restore points that your computer creates so you can jump back in time to reverse changes. To decrease this folder’s size, you can type Restore Point into the Start Menu and click Create a Restore Point. In this window, click your C: drive and choose Configure.

Located at C:\Windows\WinSxS

WinSxS stands for Windows Side By Side and was created in response to an issue that made working with Windows 9x versions a pain. The colloquial term “DLL Hell” describes the problems that arise when dynamic link library (DLL) files conflict, duplicate, or break.

Read more: How to Manage the Huge WinSxS Folder in Windows 10

To fix this, Microsoft started using the WinSxS folder to collect multiple versions of every DLL and load them on demand when Windows runs a program. This increases compatibility, such as when a program needs access to an older DLL that’s no longer part of Windows.

The longer you use Windows, the bigger this folder becomes. As you might guess, trying to pick and choose files to delete out of this is a bad idea. You shouldn’t ever visit this folder directly; instead, use the Disk Cleanup tool as part of a holistic Windows cleaning routine to clear out unneeded files.

Located at C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local

We conclude with a folder that isn’t as critical for operating system tasks as the above, but is still worth mentioning as many people wonder what it is. D3DSCache is a folder that contains cached information for Microsoft’s Direct3D API.

This is part of DirectX, which is used for graphics display in games and other visually intensive software. You shouldn’t need to touch the files inside under normal circ*mstances, and they only take up a few megabytes. However, if you’re experiencing game crashes related to graphics files, clearing this cache may be a useful step.

Located at C:\Program Files\RUXIM

RUXIM, or “Reusable UX Integration Manager,” is a folder that has a couple of executables inside. These, according to Microsoft’s Windows 10 required Windows diagnostic events and fields page, are primarily information collection processes. The page describes various processes, stating that “The data collected with this event is used to help keep Windows up to date.”

While this isn’t a mission-critical folder like some of the above, there’s still no reason to touch it. The files inside help Windows Update run smoothly, which will hopefully help you avoid any hiccups with updates in the future.

Cleaning up your C:// drive (2024)

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