ABCs of Auditing and Optimizing System Storage

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System storage is responsible for the long-term data kept on your computer. The more storage space you have, the more information your computer will be able to store permanently. Unfortunately, heavy apps and system files eventually pile up, leading to limited system storage. In this article, you can find more information about evaluating system storage and optimizing its use.

Auditing and Optimizing System Storage

System Storage Functions 

System storage is the primary storage space on your device. It can hold long-term data, which may include the following:

  • App cache files
  • Operating system files 
  • Temporary documents
  • Downloads

The primary function of system storage is to preserve the data even when the device is switched off. No matter how long a user does not turn it on, the storage will protect the data and enable its fast retrieval later. Typically, the system files take up approximately 10GB. However, the storage may get cluttered with thousands of useless files you will never need and take more than 100GB of space. 

It is essential to differentiate between system storage and computer memory. The latter can only store short-term data, which are deleted once you turn the device off. Memory is faster, allowing the temporary files to be retrieved and used in a blink of an eye. 

Auditing and Optimizing System Storage

Auditing System Storage 

Checking the system storage is very simple. If you have a Windows-based device, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open the File Explorer
  2. Locate the navigation pane on the left
  3. Select “This PC”
  4. Click on the hard drives that appear and see the remaining storage space 

Alternatively, you can go to the settings and find the system information, including free space. Here, you can find the essential information about your main hard drive and options for managing this storage space. You can also check the available space on other hard drives. Right-click on the selected drive and choose properties. This section contains more details about the hard drive capacity, used space, and free space. You can also see what categories of files take the most space.

If you are a Mac owner, you need to go to the Apple menu and find the “About this Mac” section. Then, select “Storage” to see the information about the available space. You can see that the storage is split into categories such as apps, system, photos, etc. It allows you to determine what categories take too much space and what types of data you need to remove from your device to free up some space. 

Optimizing System Storage: Options for Different Tech Skills Levels 

There are many ways to free up some space on your hard drives. Some of them are pretty simple, while others may require more tech skills. Let’s discuss each in more detail.

Optimizing Storage Manually 

You can save a lot of space by deleting useless files. However, be careful and check every file before sending it to the recycle bin. Start with downloaded files and remove everything you no longer use. Then, check whether there are apps, files, books, movies, and photos you no longer need and delete them as well. Deleting cache files and old system logs is also simple. You need to type “~/Library/Caches” and then “~Library/Logs” in the command box. Check what files are there are select those you don’t need. After eliminating clutter, empty the trash. 

Whether you are a Mac user or a Windows user, your computer will offer some cleanup recommendations. Just follow them if you are not sure what files to delete.

Using Cloud Services 

You can store photos, videos, and other heavy files in the cloud service. Mac owners can use iCloud Drive, while Microsoft users can take advantage of Microsoft Azure. There are also many other free and paid options, so choose the one that works for you. 

Use Other Hard Drives 

You can move some data from your primary hard drive to another one. Using external hard drives for your files (e.g., photos and videos) is also convenient. This option is handy for people having several devices and requiring fast access to the files from any location. 

Auditing and Optimizing System Storage

Automated System Storage Management 

Finally, you can use specialized programs designed to clean up your computer. You can scan many apps on your computer and remove all unnecessary files quickly and efficiently.

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