[AI] HASSLE-FREE PC

Sanjay ilovecold at gmail.com
Tue Jul 20 03:57:21 EDT 2010



Free up valuable hard-drive space

Need a fast way to claw back storage space on your hard drive?  Patrick
Miller
introduces the crash-diet plan

Your hard drive is full.  That might not bother you now but, whether you're
planning to download a large file overnight or need to grab a colleague's
files
before they go on holiday, there will come a time when this will suddenly
become
a problem.  Here are some short-term tips for clearing space on your hard
drive
until you have the time to do a proper cleanup.

SPRING CLEANING

With PC vendors supplying ever-increasing amounts of storage with new PCs,
there's less reason to practise the same habits that we did when megabytes
(or
even kilobytes) were scarce.  But it's still a good idea to give your drive
the
occasional sweep to reduce clutter and avoid filling it up prematurely.
Follow
these steps to quickly eliminate junk and reclaim wasted storage space.

The first step is obvious but often overlooked: empty the Recycle Bin.
Right-click it and choose Empty Recycle Bin.

Next, open the Disk Cleanup tool.  Type Disk Cleanup in the Start menu box
or
click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup.  Select
which hard drive you want to clean.  Once the utility has finished scanning
your
drive, it'll calculate how much storage space can be freed up by deleting
cached
web pages, temporary application files, Windows error reports and more.

Select files to delete.  Bear in mind that the reclaimed space will quickly
fill
up again.  If you need it to store something else, you'll need to clear out
even
more.

If Internet Explorer isn't your main web browser, clear out your cached web
pages using the following tips.

Firefox: Go to Tools, Options, Advanced, Network.  Click Clear Now to delete
the
cache, then adjust the amount of space that the cache can use in the future.

Safari: Enable the Menu Bar if you haven't already (click the gear icon in
the
upper-right corner and choose Show Menu Bar).  Now choose Edit, Empty Cache.

Google Chrome: Click the spanner icon in the upper-right corner and go to
Options, Personal Stuff, 'Clear browsing data'.  Here, you can select which
kinds of data to delete.  Tick 'Empty the cache' and select Everything from
the
drop-down menu.

FIND MORE DISKS

If your hard drive is full, you may have other PCs on your network that you
can
draft into extra storage duty.  If you're in an office or school
environment,
first check that it's okay to do so with a system admin.

It's also likely that you own other peripherals that can help: a portable
media
player, a flash memory card, a USB drive or even the internal memory of a
camera
or mobile phone can mount via Bluetooth or USB and act as a removable hard
drive.  Keep note of where you're storing your files, however, or you might
find
yourself missing something important later on.

Don't overlook your humble optical drive either.  Any relatively modern PC
should be able to burn CDs and DVDs, and even when most shops are closed you
can
still find blank optical media at an all-night chemist, petrol station or
supermarket.

Storing files online is another option.  Services such as Box.net can
provide an
extra gigabyte or two if you're willing to put up with the hassle of
uploading
and downloading your files.  Google Docs ( docs.google.com) also offers 1GB
of
storage (individual files can be up to 250MB).

MANAGE YOUR MEDIA

No matter how clutter-free you keep your PC, or how many methods you can
find
for gaining extra storage, you won't be able to clear away enough space
without
deleting something significant.

The most likely culprits for a full drive are space-hogging music, video and
image files.  A Jpeg image captured with a 12Mp camera, for example, could
take
up about 6MB.

If you've already put those photos on Facebook or Flickr, you could delete
them
from your drive and re-download them later with Fotobounce (
fotobounce.com).
This free app lets you upload and download albums with ease.  Likewise, any

videos stored on YouTube can be re-downloaded when you need them.  This is
particularly useful, since the downloaded versions will be compressed files
and
take up less space on your drive than the uncompressed files you'll be
removing.
See How to: Video in this issue for more on video downloads.

Similar principles apply for music files.  If you keep most of your music
files
on your iPod, delete them from your PC.  See Back up your iPod to your PC,
right, for tips on getting your MP3 files back later.

Finally, delete any old TV programmes.  If you haven't yet caught up on last
year's TV viewing, you probably won't miss it - besides, it will soon be
repeated on Dave.

If you still need more space, buy a new drive.  See the previous article for
some options.

EXPERT TIP: BACK UP YOUR iPOD TO YOUR PC

CopyTrans ( copytrans.net, pictured below left) helps you sidestep one of
iTunes' most galling built-in limitations.  This useful $20 (around ukp12)
app
lets you back up an entire iPod or iPhone library and place it in a specific
folder of your choice or import the tracks and playlists directly into
iTunes.
This will prove invaluable if your hard drive crashes and you find your
tracks
are stuck on your iPod with no way to get them off.  It's also a hassle-free
option for transferring your music to your PC.

Note that CopyTrans won't work unless iTunes is closed, and it won't check
for
duplicate files.  A free application, iTunes Library Updater (
itlu.ownz.ch/wordpress), can do this for you, though.

CopyTrans first copies all the songs from your iPod.  After you unplug your
iPod, the software launches iTunes, imports your songs and, finally, closes
iTunes.  It then relaunches iTunes again.  It's not a neat solution, but it
does
the job.

Another option is iPodRobot ( ipodrobot.com, pictured below right).  Also
priced
at $20 (ukp12), it offers the same functionality as CopyTrans, but you can
only
back up 10 files per session using the free trial version rather than its
rival's 100.  You can only copy digital rights managment (DRM)-protected
files
you've bought.

The free, open-source program Floola ( floola.com) is yet another option.


Technical telepathy: 09969636745
Saints are not always saints; sinners are not always sinners.






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