One of the questions I get asked often is, “Why is my computer slow?” One of my popular computer repair services is speeding up slow Microsoft Windows computers.  Many things can slow down a Windows computer and one of them can be easily overlooked: a full hard drive. 

Hard drives permanently hold the Windows operating system, program files, and user files they create. As files are needed, they are copied from the hard drive to RAM and then copied back. If these files are too large to fit on the hard drive, then the trouble begins.  I’ve read over the years that it’s best to have at least 10% free of the total hard drive space.

One of the things I use to investigate hard drive space is the Windows built-in search tool. You can search for different criteria like name, date modified and kind of file. My favorite criteria is file size. To search for files based on size in Windows 10, open File Explorer and select the Search tab on the far right. Select “Size” for many choices to narrow the search. In Windows 7, right-click on the search field in Windows Explorer and type “size:gigantic”. This reveals files larger than 128MB in the default directory.  Then the desired large files can be moved off-line or deleted if they’re not system files.

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