Windows

Video: Clean out old files with Windows 7's Arrange By feature

Bill Detwiler shows you how to weed through your old files with Windows Explorer's Arrange By feature.

If your Windows 7 PC is running low on disk space, it might be time to do a little digital spring-cleaning. But, where do you start? How do you quickly find old files that you no longer need? During this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how the Windows Explorer Arrange By feature can help you weed through your files.

For those who prefer text to video, check out Greg Shultz's original article, "Weed through your files with the Windows Explorer Arrange By feature." You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

11 comments
bobc4012
bobc4012

I use CDs, DVDs, External HD and even USB flash drives (although temporarily - a few months). I would have checked both the CD/DVD box and the external HD box. I still have a HD container box, which allows me to drop in any HD I have laying around and I have used an old (even 250MB) HD. Somehow, those downloads (TAR.GZ, Zip, pics,ISOs, EXEs, etc.) seem to chew up a lot of space over time (you get to a point where it takes more time to weed stuff out than it does to accumulate - downloading late at night when speed is better - and clean up "ma??ana").

krsmav
krsmav

Hard drives are so cheap that I have little need to weed out old stuff. My PC (a year old) came with a 1Tb drive, and I added a second (internal) one for under $100, plus a 2Tb external SATA3 for backup. By the time I fill these up, Petabyte drives should be under $100. Oh yes, the Inverse Moore's Law has resulted in at least two more size names: Brontobyte (1024 Zettabytes) and Geopbyte (1024 Brontobytes). See http://www.whatsabyte.com/

zidamon
zidamon

I have two internal HD's, each with a size of 320GB. The first drive has several partitions, including OS (Win 7), Data for work, Data for myself, Downloads, Multimedia and finaly Games. The second HD is only used to store my daily Images (with Acronis True Image) of the OS partition and the two data partitions. Besides that I use Goodsync Pro to sync data from the data partitions with a folder on this second HD (easier acces then with an image). To make sure that this isn't the only failsafe, I sync all my backupdata from the second internal HD to a 500GB external HD (once a week). This external HD (USB connection) I can store in a fireresistant safe. It's not a 100% failsafe system, but it's pretty close.

bigaussie
bigaussie

If I read between the lines of this survey; it appears the readers and participants of this survey may not take their own medicine. Assuming many of the readers are consultants in the area of technology; we (as a group) do not appear to be looking after our own backup procedures as best we might. I have many clients using Mozy and some alternatives, and they (and I as their consultant) could not be happier, with the performance, ease and price. Many of our clients fall inot the Micro business market (1-10 employees); so it is critical that files are safely tucked away, with minimal human intervention. The day a hard drive fails, or an important document is deleted unintentionally the Cloud backup is as close as an internet connection away. Wonderful stuff -- especially for those using laptops on a regular basis.

InvisibleBoss
InvisibleBoss

Even if external disks often don't run as much as an internal disk, they still happen to fail some day. Too bad to trust "just one other mechanical unit" I normally backup to a secondary machine for quick access, and a full backup to an external disk, which is not stored in the office (backup 2-3 times a week). Usefull files are saved to categorized DVDs, and stored properly at unregular times (yearly).

blueberry606
blueberry606

Its hard to answer the poll question, as I use them all. Is it so hard to be organized and create file structure and backup solution that makes sense? My laptop is the only computer that requires me to to be storage savy. I just move laptop files to my desktop computer were they are also backed up to an external storge solution. Most temporary files I create are kept on the computer desktop and are filed or deleted when the information is not needed anymore, so as not to junk up the desktop and have unneeded files in my documents and multimedia storage files. I consider the desktop a quarantine area. I can sort, combine, create files and then cut and paste were I want them. I must say I use the sort features alot. Especialy, Type. But when is microsoft going to make it were I can sort folders by size, the way that the little 3rd party progam called File Size does? How hard is that? When its time to make some space, its so much easier to pinpoint offending folders by checking were I can save the bulk of my space from. Since I work with more mulitimedia files and not alot documents, I want to sort folders by size, and be able to drill down easier. Is this possible with Windows 7? Maybe im just stuck in folder land...LOLOL and not using 7 at its best.......

edwardtisdale
edwardtisdale

I think your question is directed more at the enterprise, but for just one desktop, I like to keep a folder structure organized enough to never have to rely on any extra tools to determine what I might save for possible later deletion. I might just make a folder and name it "older" or something similar, and then when I start running out of disk space, find one of these folders, quickly look at what is in it to see if I want to keep anything, and delete if it so be not needed, else I will use external storage.

mcbinder
mcbinder

Although it's still early in the polling, I see a pattern developing. No one uses magnetic anymore and no one uses cloud storage yet. I also suspect that the Optical option is starting to shrink as well. Hard drives are so cheap, we keep everything live on a local or external drive. I still can't believe 2TB for less than $80 !!! My first HD was 20MB at $400, so from $20/MB to less than 1/2 penny ! mcb

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

....when you can just click the header in the detail view to sort files by date modified/created, name, type, tag, author.

Cannabis Seed
Cannabis Seed

Yup these features are now so embedded in how I use my computers that we wouldn't be able to use them without it. The need to weed through files on the HD's and external HD's all the time and this speeds it up brilliantly.