How can I find useless files on my Windows computer?
Question by John /

I have heard that there are various Windows files that have no purpose but are consuming hard drive space. How would I be able to find these files? Could someone give me a list of what files are considered ‘junk’?

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Answers (5)
  • computer genius

    to remove useless files

    do the following steps:-

    ~go to start
    ~go to run`
    ~type temp
    ~select all the files
    ~delete all of’em..`
    ~dont delete those files which cannot be deleted.
    ~you can also type..%temp%……prefetch……..recent………

    those folders also contain useless files…..also you can delete your cookies,download folder in browser,history and stuff like that…..enjoy…

  • Aibek

    Windows has an inbuilt Disc Cleanup utility, make sure to run it every 2-3 weeks or so.

    Open Disk Cleanup by clicking the Start button -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools- > Disk Cleanup.

  • Anonymous

    Dont forget to check the box for hidden files and folders!

    Set a Restore Point: “Before Junk Removal.”

    Here are some files that they can clutter windows and eat spaces.
    *.tmp, *.temp, *.chk, *.old, *.gid, *.nch, *.wbk, *.fts, *.ftg, *.$$$, *.err, *.—, *.~*, ~*.*, *.??$, *.___, *.~mp, *._mp, *.prv, *.sik, CHKLIST.MS, *.ilk, *.aps, *.mcp, *.pch, *.$db, *.?$?, *.??~, *.?~?, *.db$, *.^, *._dd, *._detmp, 0*.nch, chklist.*, mscreate.dir, *.diz, *.syd, *.grp, *.cnt and *.~mp…

    you should be careful with windows folder files such as *.bak, *.thumbs.db, *.log, *log.txt, *.pf files.

    Backup, then delete c:windows$Nt*$ (500 megs). These are the update rollbacks. These folders may be deleted after backing them up. DO NOT remove $hf_mig$ — future updates depend on it.


    These are the service pack(s) and updates via Windows Update. They should be backed up to optical so you don’t have to re-download them if they need to be reinstalled. The folders may be deleted in download, leaving download empty. Don’t delete other files in other folders in SoftwareDistribution. I think some of that stuff tells Windows Update what you do and do not have.

    Open a command window in windowsfonts, then type dir > fontlist.txt. Then, as you add applications, you can check it and remove unwanted new fonts. Don’t delete them, back them up, as some programs may complain, and you’ll have to restore them.

    You can also use treesize pro in order to find out which files are taking spaces on your pc.


    Junk files will always be on computers whether it is maintained clean or not. The main reasons for this are because we often add/delete software, being online and other behaviors when we use our computers. The hard drive will have a variety of junk files, and these junk files not only take up hard drive space but will also reduce the speed of the computer and affect the efficiency of our work.

    * One of the biggest culprits for generating junk files are the temporary files generated in the process of installing software. Every time you install new software, the installation software will use you hard drive as temporary storage (Temp directory) for the files needed. Once the installation is finished, those files remain behind. It is important to mention that if the software is design right, these files are deleted once the installation process is finished.

    * Another big culprit are the temporary files generated in the process of running software. Similar as the installation of the software, these temporary files will usually produce some temporary swap file in the process of running the software. After the software is finished running, it will leave a lot of megabytes of garbage behind. A couple of examples are the files with the extensions *.old and *.bak.
    *.old — files with this extension are usually left behind by antivirus software specially for old definitions, etc.
    *.bak– the backup files generated by antivirus software or system software when checking the hard disk.

    * Another big culprit are the files left behind after uninstalling software. After the software is uninstalled, it often leaves some *.dll and *.ini files in the hard drive. Also there are a large number of obsolete data in the registry which has a big impact on the stability of the system.
    *.dll – stands for dynamic link library. Every software uses and needs this files to run. These files can cause a lot of problems specially if you uninstall an antivirus software and then you install a different one. To avoid this problem with antivirus software, it is better to download the uninstaller tool provided by the antivirus manufacturer because it cleans the system from .dll files.
    * .ini –The .ini file format used to be the standard for configuration files. It is still in use but nowadays the .config extension is used more often. .ini files are simple text files with a basic structure. Sometimes files using .ini standard will use different extensions like .cfg, .conf, or .txt. That is way it is very important to use software like Revo Uninstaller to uninstall software because it can get rid of all these files left behind by the default windows uninstaller.

    * Another culprit are the Temporary files generated when surfing the Internet. The browser is always downloading files to your local machine when surfing the Internet. These cache files can occupy huge amounts of space in the hard drive. Some examples of these files are the cache, history, cookies and flash files.
    cache — The main purpose of cache is to store data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. There is nothing wrong with the cache files but it is good to keep them in check. Once in a while clean the cache.
    history — As the name implies, it keeps a history of all sites visited with your browser. The main purpose of the history is to be used as a quick link for visited places. Instead of typing a web site name, you can go to your browser history and click on it to be taken to that site. You can set your browser to automatically clean the history every so often or you can set your browser to delete history on exit.
    cookie — is a piece of text stored on a computer by a web browser. A cookie can be used for several things like authentication, site preferences, identifier for a session, or anything else that can be accomplished through storing text data.
    flash files — used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. Flash can stored a big amount of files in your computer and use a lot of space. If you use browsers like Chrome and Firefox you can keep flash files on check. The best way to deal with these files explained above is to use programs such as CCleaner.

    * Another culprit are files/programs install in your computer and are not frequently used. To manage this, make an inventory of the programs you have and how often you use them. If you have not used a program or file for a long time, you might as well deleted. Programs also install additional services and the more services you have running, the slower your computer will be.

    There are other files that are also considered as junk:
    — duplicate files- as the name indicates there copies of the same file all over the place.
    — obsolete- When you uninstall a program, sometimes there will be files left behind that have no reason/purpose to be there.
    — orphan- similar to obsolete files. Program is uninstall and this files are left behind.
    — old minidumps- minidumps are files log by windows when the system has a blue screen. There is a reason for these files to be there but not when the bluescreen happened a long time ago.
    — broken shortcuts- Some times when uninstalling a program with default add/remove it will leave behind shortcuts for that program. You click on them and it can not be found or does nothing.

  • Mjnc101

    IMHO, playing around with files that belong to the operating system is Not a good idea.
    To clear drive space, there are a few options.

    1) Go to Add or Remove programs and select Add / Remove Windows components.

    2) Uninstall programs you no longer use. Revo uninstaller is very good at cleaning up Registry entries leftover After the unistaller has finished,as well as leftover files.

    3) Use CCleaner.

    4) Take a good look at your own data files and see what can be deleted, moved to other media or archived with compression software such as 7Zip, PeaZip, etc.