Computers are much like cars; they need routine maintenance in order to continue running efficiently. One aspect of maintenance is reclaiming computer memory through cleanup. There are different reasons for cleanup and reclaiming computer memory. You may be running low on hard drive space or getting errors about virtual memory. In any case the steps to reclaim your computers valuable memory are simple to do and do not take long to complete.

1. Click on Start or the start pearl (for Vista or Windows 7) > click on “All Programs” > click “Accessories” > then “System Tools” > and finally “disk cleanup”. This program will open and calculate how much free space can be made available. You will see a list of folders that can be cleaned. Place a check in the boxes next to the folders; such as temporary files or temporary internet files, and then select the ok button. This may take a few minutes to run but when finished you have safely cleaned up computer memory on the hard drive.

2. You can reclaim additional memory by selecting the more options tab and select the “Clean up” button. This option allows you to view and uninstall any programs that you no longer use. Removing unwanted or unused programs is one of the best ways you can reclaim memory on your computer. You can also remove programs by going to the Control Panel and Add remove programs. In Vista or Windows 7 you will look for “programs” in the control panel. Here you will be able to list and remove unused programs to reclaim memory.

3. The next means of regaining memory on your computer is to delete unnecessary files. If you are not an experience user you may want to stick with clearing out the “My Documents” folder to start out with. This is an effective way to reclaim memory space and get rid of unused files. If you are an advanced user you can go into Start > Computer > Local Disk C: > and look in the “Program Files” folder. Here you may find some obvious folders or files that are claiming memory space you can be using. Make sure that these files and folders are not being used by the computer or you may end up rendering a program or worse, the operating system, to an unusable state. In almost any case it may not be worth it for the memory space you will gain.

4. Another form of computer memory is called Random Access Memory or RAM. This is a faster type of memory in your computer that cleans itself up or refreshes every time you reboot the computer. To clean up this memory simply restart your computer on a regular basis.

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