Poor performance results when logical drives become too full. This is especially true of the system volume, which holds the virtual memory, or page file. Furthermore, adding disk space is sometimes just not an option. In particular, this affects laptop computers, which rarely have space to add more fixed storage. Instead, you have to clean up the drive to free up space. Luckily, XP provides a great utility to help.
The Disk Cleanup utility presents an easy way to get rid of unused files. It scans your system for temporary files that have not been removed, downloaded program files, and Offline Files (you get the Offline Files back by reconnecting to the server where the Offline Files reside). Disk Cleanup also empties the Recycle Bin and compresses files that haven't been opened recently.
In order to keep your hard disk free of too many unnecessary files, you should run the Disk Cleanup at least once a year. Make it a part of your spring cleaning program.
To run the Disk Cleanup utility:
The check boxes allow you to control exactly what gets deleted, and you can see how much disk space will be freed by each chore.
You can free up even more disk space by selecting the More Options tab as shown in Figure 4-16. Also remember that you can always free up disk space by opening the Control Panel and removing any programs you don't usethough the More Options tab can do this for you. Click the Clean up… button to pick from a list of programs you can remove. If at a later time you decide that you needed the program after all, you can always install it again.
Figure 4-16. Other disk cleanup options.
Compressing files is no big deal, and with current processing speeds, you won't notice much, if any, difference between working with a compressed file and an uncompressed file. Before an application works with a file, the file is decompressed in memory. In Explorer, compressed files are identified in blue (Tools | Folder Options to change this). Lastly, only NTFS volumes can use compression.