1. Use an online or external storage device for files. If you have an abundance of word processing or spreadsheet files taking up space on your laptop, move them to another storage facility. The cheapest way to accomplish outside storage is to sign up for an online program. These programs put your files on an encrypted server, where you can log in and access them whenever you need to. You will need Internet access, however, so an external hard drive is a better option if you need to access your files when you’re offline. An external hard drive will attach to your laptop via USB cord. Once your files are stored elsewhere, you can delete them from your original hard drive and free up space.
2. Run a defrag. Deframenting your hard drive, often called a disk defrag, is a default feature on all Windows operating systems that will help you free up space. Defragging moves your data around so that larger areas of space are created. You still have the same amount of data on your machine, but because it is more organized you have more available space for downloads and program operation.
3. Clear your downloads folder. Each time you download a file from the Internet or a mail program data is saved to your Downloads folder. Once you’ve saved a copy of the file to another folder on your computer, such as Documents, you no longer need the copy that exists in the Downloads folder. Cleaning out this folder will clear up some hard drive space without deleting the copy of the file that you saved.
4. Delete unnecessary programs. When you download one program, you are often authorizing the addition of several add-ons or toolbars without even realizing it. While you may never use these programs, they still take up coveted space on your hard drive. Open up the Control Panel on your computer and go to the “Add/Remove” programs link. Carefully examine all of the programs on your computer and uninstall anything that you don’t use, especially if it’s a large program.