Today's Topic: How Well Does Your Hard Drive Cleaner Work?

There are many different cleanup utilities, and they mainly fit into a few key categories. Firstly there are file cleaning products like Microsoft's Disk Cleanup utility, that can quickly help to clean out unnecessary files and restore free space to the available pool. There are 'PC privacy' tools which delete internet history and typed URL entries stored as history within your browser records, including 'evidence' and 'privacy' cleanup tools. Also common is the porn detector software, which can be used to discover porn images and video files and inappropriate material and can manage the cleanup of these items. The last category of drive cleaners consists of forensic style software which, by writing random garbage over existing data, completely erases it from any part of the hard drive, so that it is not recoverable by any means.

The internet is full of software packages each of which approaches the issue of drive cleaning by implementing different techniques. Many of these fall into the hard drive cleaner category, and there are a number of these to choose from on software and shareware sites. This is not the only function that software can do, as an example, several can clean up orphaned data, detect and remove pornography, discover and clean copyrighted material, and help with free space recovery.

Two key methods for cleaning a HDD come to mind; you can go the manual path, meaning you select and delete items by hand, or secondly you can use an automated tool to do the job. The more user intensive manual process means walking through the directory tree, ie. directories within the drive then coming up with a list of which parts of the drive are no longer required, and deleting them whenever necessary. This procedure is much more thorough than running a cleanup program but can be repetitive and time intensive. Software tools can be used instead, tools that make delete/dont delete decisions based on fields which include file properties, last opened dates, etc. and make a collection of files and folders that can be safely erased without involving the user.