In a typical office, you need a filing system. Even home offices for family finances and business use some kind of filing system. If you don’t maintain that system properly, chaos will take over. I know. I’ve been there.
Your computer has the same problem. Most people don’t realize that a computer files everything and not always together in the same place. There could be a piece of a file here and another piece over there and so on. There’s only so much room on disk and every time a file is deleted, the computer will fill that space with the piece of another file. Computers save everything. every button or graphic on a webpage goes in a folder on your hard drive. the temp folder itself is in pieces on the hard drive, stuffed in wherever there was space. The computer will just cram the files into it.
That’s what the disk cleanup program is for. That’s what Windows calls it anyway – I’m not sure what Apple calls it, but you can be sure that Apple’s Mac has such a program. The program goes through the hard disk and picks out files that haven’t been accessed in a while from the temp folder and gives you the option to delete it permanently from the hard drive. that clears space on the hard drive, but it only clears a few bits here and few bits there and some bits over there as well. that’s why computers slow down over time. the data retrieval program has to follow the clues to gather all the pieces of a file and put them together before delivering it to the user. Think of it as having a twenty-page report stored on twenty pages in twenty different locations and you will see the problem. The computer has to search the entire disk some twenty times to assemble the report.
Twenty pages of a single file stored in twenty separate locations in no particular order, is what we call a fragmented disk drive. Disk Defrag (Window’s name for it) is a program that you can use to gather all the pieces of a file and put them closer together on the disk. This action, while time consuming in itself, will ultimately save time by having the pieces of file closer together, often in adjacent cells of memory or disk space.
Think of the hard drive as a warehouse with shelving units. If the items needed are next to each other, it’s a quick an easy job to get them. If the items you need are on separate shelves on separate units in separate row – well you get the idea.
So it is a good idea to run disk cleanup and disk defrag regularly to keep the system in good order.