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Clean up your Windows hard drive (screenshots)

It's much easier to fill up your hard drive than it is to clean it. With so many folders and directories, how do you pinpoint what's taking up space?

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Sharon Profis

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1 of 5 Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

Get started

To get started, download and install WinDirStat. Go with the recommended installation.

Select the drive you want to evaluate, or "all drives" if you have multiple hard disks. Click "OK."

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WinDirStat scans your drives

Depending on how big your hard drive is, WinDirStat will take about 5 to 10 minutes to evaluate your drive.

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Find out what's taking space

When the scan is complete, you'll be presented with the summary screen. The top half lists files and folders sorted by file size. If you click on a folder or file, the corresponding color block will be highlighted below.

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Click the color blocks

Alternatively, click the large blocks of color to find out which files are taking the most space.

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Once you've identified the culprit, right-click the file and choose "Delete (to Recycle Bin)" for later disposal, or "Delete (no way to undelete)" for permanent, irreversible deletion.

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