Clean it up!

Clean it up!

By Richard Heller

Clean it up!

Q: When I download programs such as games or winamp or winzip or shockwave, can I delete those original downloaded files out of my download folder after I have opened and installed them?

A: Once you have downloaded and installed the program, you can delete the zip files; just highlight the filename and hit the delete key. The file will go into the recycle bin and remain there until you empty the bin or until enough new files are added to the bin to cause Windows to purge the old deleted files. After you have deleted the files, it will be necessary for you to download them again if you want to re-install the program or install it on another computer., A better idea would be to copy the downloads to a Zip disk or to a recordable CD, then delete them from the computer.

This question brings up an important topic. What do you do with the files that you have downloaded or saved on your computer that you no longer need? Also, what about the files that you didn’t actually save yourself, but were created by Windows and other programs?

As you work in Windows, programs create temporary work files. Windows, by default, places these files in the windows emp directory on your hard drive. These files usually have a .tmp extension for the file name. If the program is written correctly, it should delete these temporary files when you exit the program. The problem is, the files are quite often left behind, especially if the program or Windows crashes. You should periodically delete the files in the temp directory; they really are of little use.

Another type of file is created as a backup file and has a .bak extension. These files are also of little use and can be deleted. The easiest way to locate them in Windows 9X is by using the find command located off the start menu. Just type in that you want to locate all files named *.bak or *.tmp and then delete them.

When you are online, all the graphics and text from the websites that you visit are stored on your computer, making frequently visited pages load faster. In Internet Explorer, you should select Internet options off the tools menu and tell it to delete the temporary files. The other thing that you can do is to reduce the number of days your online history is stored on your computer. This option is also located on the tools menu.

By deleting these “junk” files, you will free up some hard drive space. The space gained may be from a couple thousand bytes to 50 megabytes or more. Another benefit of deleting the temporary Internet files is that it will be more difficult for others to know what websites you have been visiting. Remember to empty the recycle bin after you have deleted the files in order to actually recover the file space.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!