The Explorer:Scrub Your Hard Disk Clean: Part 2

More ways to clean up -- including Cookie sweeping and Registry compacting!

Fred Langa, Contributor

August 6, 2003

5 Min Read

Tracking WipeTIF's changes
Before you run WipeTIF, shut down all top-level apps (browsers, word processors, etc.) Double-click on "My Computer" (or whatever you've named it on your system). Right-click on the icon for your C: drive, and select properties. Jot down the amount of "free space" shown in the dialog.

Now navigate to and double-click on WipeTIF.BAT. Let it do its thing.

When you're back in Windows, check the amount of free space again: whatever you gained represents what was formerly occupied by bloated Dat files and unneeded TIF files: Typically, you'll see a nice, but relatively modest gain (compared to what the original Cleanup.Bat did, anyway).

Adding WipeTIF to CleanUp.Bat
Yes, it's possible to add the functions of WipeTIF.bat to Cleanup.Bat; in fact, because WipeTIF whacks the entire TIF, it greatly simplifies the bottom part of Cleanup.Bat: There's no need to look for "orphan" files because they'll be deleted along with everything else when the TIF is erased. Combined, WipeTIF and Cleanup are an incredibly aggressive and powerful combination that can free up more space than either can on its own.

I've posted a new, modified Cleanup.Bat that already has the WipeTIF functions in it: To keep the versions straight, the new version that contains WipeTIF's functions is called CleanALL.Bat.

But -- and this is an important "but" -- like WipeTIF.Bat and unlink the earlier versions of Cleanup, CleanALL.Bat should only be run from DOS (not in a DOS window). So, I've also posted a downloadable Program Information File; you must either use my PIF or make one yourself, so that the new CleanALL.Bat runs from "pure" DOS.

You can download CleanALL.Bat here; be sure to follow all the instructions. If you need more info on the original Cleanup.Bat, please see Part One of this series.

Kill All Cookies?
Some people want to kill all their cookies, rather than perform the selective delete that I recommend. You can do this, but you're on your own. You'll be relying entirely on the completeness and accuracy of your backups or notes, should you find you deleted a Cookie that you'd wished you'd kept.

To kill all Cookies, simply modify either WipeTIF.Bat or CleanALL.Bat as follows:

Change "deltree /y
c:\windows\cookies\index.dat" to "deltree /y
c:\windows\cookies\"; or if you're using the downloaded versions, change
"deltree /y %winbootdir%\cookies\index.dat" to "deltree /y %winbootdir%\cookies\"

Either way, the entire contents of the Cookies folder will be wiped out.

What about Cleaning/Compacting the Registry?
Few people know the Registry better than WinMag's own guru, John Woram, so I asked him about tips and tricks for cleaning the Registry. Here's what he said:

Hmmm, I think I come down on both sides of the fence (and wow, does that sting!) on Registry cleanup. I always do a re-format when I'm upgrading Windows to a new version, just to kill off all those old ghosts of god-knows-what past. But as for Registry cleanup in between, I guess I'm in the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school. If the Registry gets a tad bloated, so what? I mean, it's all a big tree anyway (unlike INI files), so some app that needs to look at HKEY\whatever is going to go directly there, regardless of what else is in the Registry forest. But having said that, there are some things to do if one really wants to trim the excess fat. In fact, I have a "Registry Cleanup Techniques" section in my Win98 book (pp. 210-217). Eventually I need to modify it for Win Millennium (which uses 3-count them, 3-files instead of 2), but that's a project for another day.

After trying John's technique, I could understand why he was inclined not to worry about the size of the Registry: After running Microsoft's RegClean (as John suggests), and following John's step-by-step process for compacting the Registry via exporting/importing, I gained -- wait for it -- a whole 68K. Not 68 Megabytes -- just 68 Kilobytes of extra space. As usual, John was right: It wasn't worth it.

But I keep my system pretty clean all the time; perhaps you'd get better results. John graciously posted the relevant portions of his chapter on registry cleanup. It has all the info you need, including links to Microsoft's RegClean program. (Thanks John!)

If you'd like to see more of John's Registry books, check this out; and check out John's new "Optimizing Windows" columns too!

Your Results?
What improvements or alterations for the cleanup process (or to WipeTIF or CleanALL) can you think of? What other types of files do you look for when you're cleaning up your hard drive? What freeware or shareware disk-cleaning tools do you use? Join in the Discussion!

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Fred Langa's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Fred Langa, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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