To keep your computer in shape and running for years, you need to clean it once in a while – just like your room or car. The biggest problem with that digital trash is that it takes place on your hard drive and it hurts overall system performance in a long run. Moreover, you probably won’t use any of those junk files in the future, so they are literally just sitting there for no reason.
Now, what can be referred to as a junk file? There are tons of various junk files, but they can be generalized as automatically generated, insignificant files that won’t be put into use. Even though a typical junk file only takes several kilobytes of space, you would be surprised to see how much space on your hard drive can be occupied by a great number of those.
Almost every program you install on your computer or smartphone automatically generates a lot of various files that are left behind even after you remove the actual program or application. Also, programs or even operating systems generate temporary backup files. Even though they should be temporary, due to various reasons they can be left on your system. Another major source of junk files – web browsers. They can generate various cache and cookies files and store them directly on your hard drive.
In this guide, we will tell you the most effective ways to remove junk files. Regardless of what operating system you are using, you will have to get some help from professional software that is dedicated to cleaning junk files, as manual removal is not advisable. It can get very tricky and you certainly don’t want to remove something that is crucial to your system, right?
How To Remove Junk Files from Windows
If you are running a personal computer with a Windows operating system on it, there are probably a lot of junk files that should be removed. This operating system just loves to store various backups and temporary files, so eventually, they stack up and you have yourself a problem. Fortunately, there are various built-in tools in Windows that can help you with removing those junk files. We are only referring to Windows 7, 8, and 10 operating systems as Windows XP and older versions are not supported anymore.
Here’s a brief list of junk files that should be deleted in order to clean the Microsoft Windows operating system:
- Temporary files;
- Files from recycle bin;
- Webpage copies;
- System error memory dumps;
- Crash data dumps;
Removing Junk Files From Windows With Built-In Tools
There is a default Windows application called “Disk Cleanup” – it can be accessed through the Control Panel menu or simply by typing “disk cleanup” into the search field. When this application is started, you will be asked which hard drive you want to analyze first. Select the one that your operating system files are stored on (most of the time it’s disk C) and click OK.
The program will analyze your files for a couple of minutes and then you will have an option to choose what you want to get rid of. Basically, you can select all of the options there and click OK.
Windows also has Storage Sense, which can automatically get rid of unnecessary files.
Cleaning junk files from the Windows system only takes several minutes and you don’t need to do it often.
If you want to go the extra mile and use dedicated software to ensure that your computer is completely clean, you could use a third-party cleaner program. One of the most trusted ones is CCleaner (although it is not perfect). However, you should be careful with various cleaner programs, as most of them do more harm than good.
How To Remove Junk Files from Mac
Mac OS is supposed to be self-cleaning. That means the system should be capable of removing all temporary files and other junk automatically, without you having to move a finger. Unfortunately, that works only if you barely use the computer. Supposing you are browsing the Internet and installing additional (not default) applications to your Mac, there are definitely some junk files that should be removed.
Those junk files might be the reason why your Mac is getting slower and slower every day, as well as why you are experiencing some errors.
Here’s what you can do about it right now, by yourself: clean user and system cache. Again, it can be dangerous so you should do it only if you think that you are capable of this.
To clean Mac cache manually, open the Finder menu (icon in the left on Dock menu), select “GO” and then “Go to Folder”. Then, paste this into the dialog box: “~/Library/Caches”. This is where all caches are stored and you need to get rid of them.
To quickly select all of the files in the caches folder, just press the CMD+A buttons on your keyboard and then drag all of the selected files to recycle bin or use the shortcut CMD+←.
The same process should be removed to the logs folder, which can be accessed by pasting “~/Library/Logs” into the dialog box.
This process might be complicated and you can accidentally delete something that is not supposed to be deleted, so we highly suggest to use some kind of utility tool for you – such as a free version of Combo Cleaner.
Removing Junk Files With Combo Cleaner
The name of Combo Cleaner suggests that it is dedicated to cleaning junk files from a computer. That is actually true – we find Combo Cleaner to be one of the most effective tools in this business. Actually, this tool is multi-purpose, it can protect your computer against malware and viruses. It features both free and paid versions. The free version of Combo Cleaner is enough to remove junk files, so you won’t have to spend a dime on it.
This utility tool is dedicated to detect and remove all kinds of junk from a Mac system. It is very convenient to use and the user interface makes it easy to understand all of the functions that are offered.
Combo Cleaner features that will help to clean junk files from your Mac:
- Disk Cleaner;
- Duplicate File Finder;
- Big Files Finder;
- App Uninstaller.
Disk cleaner instantly scans the hard drive and detects outdated cache, logs, browser data and other junk that is no longer needed. Moreover, it can also scan external drives.
Duplicate file finder will effectively find and suggest removing duplicated files, regardless of their formats. Files that are duplicated can be the reason why your hard drive is running out of free space. Also, there is a big files finder that will help to detect really big files that are rarely used. Maybe you don’t need them and they are only taking up free space on your system? Combo Cleaner will help to get rid of those.
Lastly, app uninstaller will help to completely remove applications that you want to be removed. Incorrect or insufficient removal often leaves behind a lot of junk files, which can lead to performance problems over a longer period of time.
How To Remove Junk Files from Android
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are also vulnerable, they can also stack up a lot of junk files. Keeping in mind that those devices usually feature even less of storage space, that can become a serious problem. As always, you can do that yourself or get some application to do that for you. Actually, there are Plenty of those available.
Basically, you need to do the same thing as you would do on a computer, only the process of doing it looks a little bit different. First of all, get rid of the cache. To do that, navigate to settings, then select storage, and finally cached data. You will be asked if you want to remove it – select OK.
Downloads folder often gets overlooked in mobile devices. In this folder, you can find not only the files that you have downloaded yourself but the ones that have been downloaded by various applications you have installed as well. Make sure to remove all files from the downloads folder that are no longer needed.
Lastly – don’t store all of the data on your device. Files like pictures or various documents can be exported to free online data storage, such as Google Drive or Dropbox. They can be accessed at any time (if you have the internet connection) and you definitely don’t need to carry all those hundreds of old photos on your phone all the time.
How To Remove Junk Files From iPhone
To completely clean your iPhone from junk files, you need to delete the Safari cache (if you use this web browser), clear application data and eliminate applications that you don’t use anymore. The same goes for photos or other files you don’t use.
To clear the Safari cache, you need to enter the settings menu, scroll the way down and select “Clear History and Website” option. Please note, that by doing this you will also delete all history of your web browsing, like your most visited websites and all saved data (passwords, nicknames, etc).
To clear application data, you need to enter the settings menu, select general settings, and iPhone storage. In case you are using an iPad, it will be marked as iPad storage. This will take you to the list of applications that takes up the most space (in decreasing order). If the application takes a lot of space on your phone, you might want to consider deleting and reinstalling it. Old applications can be filled with junk files and it’s just the easiest method to get rid of them. The reinstalled application will be much lighter and won’t take so much space.
Read "How To Remove Junk Files" in other languages
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