What Files are Safe to Delete or Remove From my Computer?

What files can I delete from my computer? Many computer users would like to clean files from their computers but do not know what files to delete. Therefore to avoid deleting the wrong files, the computer is simply left alone to store more and more files. This can cause major problems with your computer. It can start to run slow, popup with error messages, and generally become a confusing and cluttered system. If you do not know what files are safe to remove and delete from your computer, it is extremely important that you find out. There is one basic rule when deleting files from your computer: If you do not know what the files is then leave it alone.

What files are not safe to delete or remove from my computer?

BIOS Settings: Lets face it, unless you are a computer technician, you should not be flashing or upgrading your bios any time soon. The main thing you might enter the BIOS for is to set the boot order of your devices so you can boot from a cd. You cannot access the BIOS after you have loaded your operating system. See more about the BIOS

Operating System files: When you install Windows (or another operating system) there will be a folder containing files that will run your computer. For Windows the system files are usually in a folder named Windows, stored directly in C: drive. My advice to you is not to even look in there. If you accidentally delete a file from there your computer will not be able to load the operating system files needed to enter Windows.

Free PC Matic Scan

Program Files: This is where all the programs you have installed are stored. If you accidentally remove a file from one of these folders you might cause the program to not work. If you want to remove a program you must do it through the control panel in Add or remove programs or programs and features in Vista. You cannot delete individual files hoping to get rid of the program. Some people also think that if they remove or delete the desktop icon that is a shortcut to a program, this also removes the program. This is wrong also.

Hidden Files: Hidden files are hidden for a reason. Do not touch them unless it is absolutely necessary. Here’s how to Show hidden files in Windows XP and Showing Super Hidden Files In Windows Vista .

When you are asking the question “what files can I delete from my computer“, make sure you steer clear of those ones listed above!

In the screen shot below it shows the Windows folder which is contained on your main C drive. You should not go in there at all. Next to it is the users folder where you will find your username folder and that will hold all the files that you have created. This includes pictures music downloads and all that stuff.

what files can I delete from my computer

What files can I delete from my computer?

Lets just say that any file you create, you can delete. If you put a photo onto your computer it is your choice to delete it or not. Deleting this file will not effect the computer and how it runs. So if you created a word document or downloaded an mp3 file then you can delete them when ever you want to. Just make sure you know what you are deleting before you make a mistake. The files you can remove are usually stored in the documents, pictures, or music folders.Free PC Performance Scan

How do I safely delete or remove temporary files from my computer?

Every time you do something on your computer a temporary file is created. So if you download a file or even open a document, a temporary file is created. These files can accumulate and need to be cleared from the computer as they have no value to you. There are a number of ways on how to delete temporary internet files from your computer.

  1. Delete files from the C:UsersUsernameAppDataLocalTemp folder. (%temp)
  2. Delete files from the C:WindowsTemp folder (temp)
  3. Delete files from the C:UsersMitzAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet Files for Windows Vista, and C:Documents and SettingsmitzLocal SettingsTemporary Internet Files for Windows XP. These files include cookies, browsing history, and more..

To see more information on how to remove temporary files please see how to delete temporary internet files

Install a Program to Do it For You! Safely Remove Junk Files

Many people are still not sure if it is safe to remove temporary internet files from their computer. I understand this so for those people I would recommend software to do the job for them.

A software program will not upgrade your memory but it will clean out all the junk files, detect Malware, delete unused registry keys, Automatic Driver updates, and more. At the moment I am using PC Matic to maintain everything for me. This software is amazing and has won a number of top awards. You can get a free scan for your computer to see how it works before you buy.

What programs are safe to delete or remove from my computer?

If you installed a program and no longer require it or need it then you can delete it as long as you do it properly. See how to Safely Remove or delete programs from your computer.
Also see how to Remove programs from Windows Vista. If you do not know what program you are deleting then you should leave it alone.

Notes on What files can I delete from my Computer?

  • Once you get the hang of what file is ok to delete safely, you will never have to wonder again.
  • Just stick to the main rule: Do not delete it if you do not know what it is!
  • If you’re still asking “What can I delete from my computer?”, I suggest you do some further reading as deleting the wrong files can cause major computer problems.

Comments

  1. says

    Mitz,

    I am learning so much each time I read a newsletter or take your quizzes. I flunked the security quiz bad so I need to focus on that a bit. I am in the process of cleaning up and sort of organizing my laptop. It’s a Toshiba, Win 7, Sattelite and I love it. But I screw it up sometimes by trying to make it better in some way. Here’s my question for today. My laptop came with all these programs that I don’t use because I don’t know what they are or what they do. Maybe I’d want to use it if I knew what it was for but my goal is a really sleek machine if you know what I mean. I want all the nutts and bolts and not much frill, (things that some folks seem to need to make computer snazzier or something. I’m not expressing myself very well but here are some examples of stuff I don’t know whether to keep or delete. Wajam, Silverlight, My Toshiba, Win. live mesh, desktop gadget, XPS viewer,Corel label @ Once, Browser +. That gives you a good idea of what I’m talking about. Hope that wasn’t too much reading. I have 86 programs in the Control Program. Thanks for everything Mitz. Have a great day.

    Linda Stewart

    • says

      Hi Linda
      I hate it when I buy a new laptop and have to get rid of the junk trial programs that are installed!! You really need to look at these and decide if you want to use them or not? I have a basic rule. If I have not used the program then I do not need it. Also if you do not know what they are then you do not need them.

      There is a lot of work in getting rid of them because you have to be careful not to remove the wrong one. For example there might be a program that includes drivers for your webcam.. who knows? You can Google what these are and then see if you can remove them.

      I Google Wajam and got this http://www.wajam.com/faq/
      That page will also tell you how to remove it if needed.

      By the way Toshiba is the worst for this!

  2. Rie says

    Good morning from here! I really need your help, if you can & if you have time to answer my questions. I’ve done & googled everything I need to know on how to clear/reclaim the space tha’ts been used on my hard drive to no avail. I have been using this desktop for 4 yrs. its a 32bit pc running on Vista with microsoft essentials for antivirus. My problem is that I cleared all the downloads & history. removed all the saved photos, music & files I saved here & saved it on a USB drive but the memory still is not that much. on my C drive it says 51.6 GB free of 139 & the worse of all is the factory image D drive which says 921 MB free of 9.05 GB. I didnt save anything on that drive just the “recovery part” that’s why Im clueless why it only has 15% space. What should I do to return it back from where I first used it, or to save at least half of it’s space? my pc is running slow really need help. Thank you so much!!!

  3. Natalia says

    hi!
    I have a really weird folder in my C drive, called ‘D’ and I have no idea where it came from. It’s around 1,43 GB and inside of it are 7 folders called C; CPU; G; L; M; S; W. inside of each of them, except CPU,there are more letter folders(like A ; IN; IT) and some of them also have the number 3 in them (there’s a folder called 3 and another one S3).all those folders contain some other number folders(1; 2;etc) and they all contain some kind of ‘programs’, I have no idea what kind of ‘programs’, thought.
    the CPU file contains 8 of these ‘programs’
    am I allowed to delete that folder? If not, then what IS that folder?

  4. Leonid says

    Hi, Mitz!
    I have a TMP file, 339.tmp sitting directly on my C disk, not in Temp directory. It is huge, above 1 GB. It was modified back in 2007. Is it safe to delete it, or is it some kind of system file?

  5. says

    In the temp folders, these files are rubbish. They are footprints only. It is safer to use a clean up program to remove the files if you are not sure though.

  6. Gary Eveland says

    I have a bunch of windows sdks for windows 7. I think they are only used by developers. Can I safely delete them?

    • says

      If these are just files you downloaded from Microsoft then you can delete them. If you installed any of these tools on your computer they need to be uninstalled through programs in control panel.

  7. Claus says

    Hi Mitz hope you can help me with a problem I have.
    I have a 60gb ssd for my C drive and I am constantly having to look for files to delete, for some reason my space is just disappearing.. I had about 8gb free and now it’s down to about 3gb free and I haven’t really installed anything. Everything I install goes on another drive. So i’m getting a bit frustrated about how I am losing gb for no apparent reason. I’ve deleted the browser temps and the user/username/appdata/local/temp folder, but is there other places that I could delete from.. I have NO clue as to how or why my drive is filling up for no reason.

    • Gerrit says

      Hey Claus.

      Im a VB Programmer,.
      Im working on a Windows Cleaner.
      Once it finished i will give it to you.
      Maybe i can get your computer in a better health level ok?

  8. Tammy says

    Hi, my question is, I have programs that have not been used since 2004 they mostly seem to be things like java script and such, if I haven’t used them, then can I remove them safely, is it possible that maybe I upgraded to something better that I am now using. Aren’t these now just taking up space and perhaps slowing my computer down?

  9. awais Jamal says

    hi may be due to viruses, because some viruses are very much in the files which dont let the file be deletee

  10. jessica says

    I am trying to clean A used computer I got for my kids their is over 99,638 files on it now what I need to know is which files can I remove in term log *bak ,bpm,application files,text doc ,In Ht Sy files theyy are all taking up alot of room can you give me a list of files that are safe to delete please

    • says

      I never recommend to delete any files from SYS files in Windows. you could delete the wrong files. It would be far better to clean out file from my documents and downloads. the very best solution would be to format with an operating cd.

  11. Mary says

    I have a program that i safely removed with the uninstall, but each time I start my computer, the program still tries to start up with an erro. How can I fix that?

  12. says

    My computer tells me I have low memory; I have 78.9GB free of 232GB.
    cannot figure out if something is useing most of the memory, or I need
    to delete some files. scans, and tools say my computer is working properly.

  13. Jesse says

    When I took my computer into my local Computer Technician he left a program on my desktop called CCleaner (Im assuming: ComputerCleaner). I’ve used it ever since and its helped my computer alot. Its supposed to be a better version of Windows Disk CleanUp (Start>Program Files>Accessories>SystemTools>Disk Cleanup).

    Anyway, I suggest this to anybody having troubles with their computer:
    http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner
    or, for Defraging:
    http://www.piriform.com/defraggler
    or, other Products:
    http://www.piriform.com/products

  14. John says

    Hi guys, the author said not to touch in the windows files cause it will mess your Pc up. The sad thing is, that’s exactly the place that taking over my Drive C’s space, almost about it’s 80%. Is it possible to re-size it? without touching any important files? Or should I just re-install a new windows and configure the Drive C partition to be a little bigger than before? But I’m afraid that the size of that folder(windows) will also increase in time, so the same problem will occur again. I’m open to any suggestion guys.

  15. says

    Hi Mitz,
    whenever I want to install a program, I have to download the installation files to the computer and then install the program. Once the program is installed, is it safe to remove the installation files from the “Downloads” folder on my computer? Because they seem to take up a lot of space over time, too.

    • says

      Yes it is safe to get rid of the file you downloaded… Although I like to save them sometimes because it saves me from using download bandwidth..I keep certain install files on a backup external hard drive.

  16. says

    Hidden files can often look like the folder is a bit faded..not the full strength color. Also if you choose to hide the files they will disappear..

  17. Sandy says

    Hey,

    My C: is completely full and i want to delete stuff but over 90% of my files have names like GRV. or other files i don’t know what it means can i delete them?

    Ps: there not in the windows folder or anything

  18. Tom says

    Hi!
    Re-Delete un necessary files . .

    Possible to have a comp’lete LIST of files? not just a selection of?
    I am finding “.xsp” (e.g.) essential or not (?)
    We know the usual ones .old .tmp .bak .log etc..

  19. stanley bereta says

    I have a used hard drive and theres files on there that are not from me or my family . how do I know if i can delete them or not?