What Are Junk Files?

What Are Junk Files

There are secret files on your hard drive that you don’t even realize exist. They hog space and gradually affect your computer’s performance. Junk files are sneaky. Since they’re not stored in obvious folders, you usually never notice them until you’re having computer problems.

Where Do Junk Files Come From?

You didn’t put them there, so where do they even come from? Many programs you install leave behind files. Even when you remove a program, files are left behind. Of course, this is just the start of junk files.

When you create a document in Microsoft Office, temporary backups are created. As Windows starts and shuts down, temporary files are created and left behind. While all of these files are supposed to be temporary, they’re not automatically deleted like they should be.

As some Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users discovered, a bug in the operating system could be the source of a steadily increasing amount of junk files. If you’re interacting with your computer, it’s creating junk files.

Why Worry About Them?

Each file is usually only a few bytes, which is incredibly small and inconsequential. However, if you accumulate thousands of junk files, a few bytes grows to megabytes. That number then starts turning into gigabytes.

As your hard drive fills up, you computer has a harder time fetching the files it needs to run. You also have to wait longer for your documents, music, and videos to open. Clearing away junk files that you don’t need frees up space for better overall performance.

Related Read: Are Hidden Processes Slowing Down Your Computer?

Why Doesn’t Microsoft Do Something?

Actually, Microsoft has always known about junk files and even created a tool long ago to combat the problem. Most programs that leave behind junk files don’t have the capabilities to go back and delete the temporary files after they’ve been created.

This is why the Disk Cleanup tool was created. It’s one of the few tools that hasn’t really changed throughout all the versions of Windows. When you run the tool, it takes a few minutes (or more if you’ve never ran the tool before) to gather details on your junk files. It then provides a list of different types and sources of the files along with how much space each category takes up, such as Temporary Internet Files and Temporary Files.

Go to Start and type Disk Cleanup. Click the first result. Allow the tool to run. Check any items you want to delete and press OK. There’s also an option to delete system files to free up more space. Click the Clean up system files button to proceed.

How Often Should You Delete?

Heavy users might delete junk files daily or weekly. The average user is fine doing it weekly or even monthly. There are numerous tools to help you clean up your PC and they all include features like emptying your Recycle Bin, deleting junk files, and removing browsing cookies and history.

Digital Care AntiVirus Complete is an all-in-one tool providing antivirus protection along with a system optimization toolkit. The free version allows you to manually clean junk files from your system. The premium version allows you to set a schedule to delete junk files regularly so you don’t have to worry about them.

Related Read: Suffer From Slow Windows 10 Issues No More

Contribution by Crystal Crowder

About the Author

Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.