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Deleting Files

Too many files eat up too much hard disk space—which is a bad thing, because you only have so much disk space. (Music and video files, in particular, can chew up big chunks of your hard drive.) Because you don't want to waste disk space, you should periodically delete those files (and folders) you no longer need.

The Easy Way to Delete

Deleting a file is as easy as following these two simple steps:

  1. Select the file.
  2. Click the Organize button and select Delete from the pull-down menu.

This simple operation sends the file to the Windows Recycle Bin, which is kind of a trash can for deleted files. (It's also a trash can that periodically needs to be dumped—as discussed later in this activity.)

Other Ways to Delete a File

As you might expect, there are other ways to delete files in Windows Vista. In particular, you can do the following:

  • Highlight the file and press the Del key on your keyboard.
  • Drag the file from the Explorer window onto the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop.

Restoring Deleted Files

Have you ever accidentally deleted the wrong file? If so, you're in luck. For a short period of time, Windows stores the files you delete in the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin is actually a special folder on your hard disk; if you've recently deleted a file, it should still be in the Recycle Bin folder.

To "undelete" a file from the Recycle Bin, follow these steps:

  1. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop (shown in Figure 7.3) to open the Recycle Bin folder.
    Figure 7.3

    Figure 7.3 The Recycle Bin, where all your deleted files end up.

  2. Click the file(s) you want to restore.
  3. Click the Restore This Item button on the toolbar.

This copies the deleted file back to its original location, ready for continued use.

Managing the Recycle Bin

Deleted files do not stay in the Recycle Bin indefinitely. By default, the deleted files in the Recycle Bin can occupy 10% of your hard disk space. When you've deleted enough files to exceed this 10%, the oldest files in the Recycle Bin are automatically and permanently deleted from your hard disk.

If you'd rather dump the Recycle Bin manually (and thus free up some hard disk space), follow these steps:

  1. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop to open the Recycle Bin folder.
  2. Click the Empty the Recycle Bin button on the toolbar.
  3. When the confirmation dialog box appears, click Yes to completely erase the files, or click No to continue storing the files in the Recycle Bin.
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