Too Much Data – What to Delete

Data sizes can grow out of control like bunnies (we did a fun stick-man video on this one; check it out!). There are two places on your computer that have may have data that can be cleaned out to buy back some of that drive space and improve performance.

The first one is easy – the Deleted folder in your email. You actually have to delete the email in the Delete folder; really.

What we’ve learned over the years is that there are quite a few of you who use the Deleted email folder to save email, like an archive. When you need historical info, you search the deleted folder. I admit, I search this folder from time to time, and it can be helpful for recent items. But, we don’t recommend using this folder to archive email messages. If it’s worth saving, move it to an Archive folder. Besides, there are probably quite a few email messages in there that really could be deleted after all and it’s tedious to sort through everything when you’re running low on space and have to clean up.

So, rather than delete an email to the Deleted folder, you can use the Shift/Delete key combination to permanently delete any email you want deleted. At a minimum, this saves some extra steps. Besides, when it’s time to clean out the Deleted folder, you’ll have a lot less data to look through.

Second, when you’re on the server and you delete files, or even on your workstation/laptop, they go to a Recycle Bin where they may sit for quite a while, taking up space. You think you threw them out, but you haven’t emptied the trash can yet.

We recently had a client with a huge amount of data in the Recycle Bin, bringing their available drive space to critically low levels. The same thing can happen on your workstation/laptop, or even a server.

So why don’t people empty the Recyle Bin? They may not know about it, which is why we write these articles. Sometimes we find that people are using this as a way to store files for future use, which is not the intent. When maintenance is done on the computer, you may be in for an unexpected and potentially unwelcomed surprise.

A computer maintenance checklist includes a step to ‘empty’ the Recycle Bin on the computer. This frees up space and cleans up the files. If you’re using this as a file drawer, you may want to re-think your process and move important files to file folders instead.

Sometimes files seem unnecessary, but you just don’t feel comfortable deleting them. That’s a great time to move them to an external hard drive or thumb drive. Don’t forget to label these with dates and a general description of the contents and put them in a safe place.

Running out of space can freeze-up a computer, corrupt data, and create unexpected and expensive work disruptions.  Keep your computer data clean and organized which should allow you to have more days when you ‘love’ your computer rather than the alternative. – CMW