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Issue #37: April 3, 2008

Q: My daughter got the computer in her divorce and she said it was running slow.  I went in to see what all was on it.  It’s a 40GB, but all the free space she had left was 6.5GB.  I started cleaning out all the kids’ music, pictures etc and got it up to 12.6 GB free space.  My question is, how can I find out what is using so much of the space?

– Judy M.
Miramar Beach, FL

A: Depending on what operating system the computer has, and how it’s configured, the amount of space you’re describing may not be excessive.  However, I suspect that any machine equipped with a 40 gig hard drive probably came with Windows 98.  There’s an outside chance that it is an XP machine, or has been upgraded.  You’re on the right track cleaning up music and pictures.  In large quantities, these files can be mighty bulky.  You might also want to be sure you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin, deleted all the Temporary Internet Files, and uninstalled any applications you don’t need.

Beyond merely cleaning up, you can investigate disk space usage in several ways.  You can right-click on any folder and select “Properties” and it will tell you the size the folder, including every file and folder it contains.  That’s kind of a hit-and-miss approach though.  A better idea would be to use one of the many utilities available on the internet.  Try Googling [disk space utility] and you should find lots of programs that will create anything from a simple list to a very detailed map of disk space usage.  Of course, all of my normal cautions about downloading from unknown sources applies!

Q: I attended your session at Okaloosa-WaltonCollege, and afterward I went home, downloaded OpenDisc 0710.iso to my hard drive, and copied it to a CD.  From the notes I wrote during session, I think you said to download the file and install it.  I cannot figure out how to install an .iso file.

– Jack D.
Fort Walton Beach, FL

A: Sorry for the misunderstanding, Jack!  An .iso file contains an actual image of the contents of a CD.  In other words, it is a digital copy of the entire content of a disc.  You cannot simply copy it to a CD, because all that does is make a copy of the .iso file.  You must get the content of the file burned onto a disc, thus re-creating the original CD that the .iso file was created from.  Most CD burning software has the ability to burn an .iso image onto a disk – it should be in the menus somewhere.  If you can’t find it easily, look in the software’s help files.  Once you install the .iso onto a disk, the result will be a CD that contains the installation files for whatever this is that you’re trying to install.

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