Q: The hard drive on my wife’s computer is almost full, even though she uses it mostly for e-mail. While looking for things to delete, I noticed that the Windows\Temp folder contains 180 gigabytes of data. Can I delete all the files in that folder?
Rick Bloom, Colorado Springs, Colo.
A: The “Temp” in the folder name stands for temporary, so most of these files aren’t needed and can be deleted.
Delete the files this way: Completely shut down the PC at the end the day. When you restart the PC the following day, delete every Windows\Temp file that was created prior to the day you make the deletions. (To find the creation date, select the “view” heading in Windows Explorer, choose “details” and look at “date modified.”) If the PC is still using a file, you won’t be able to delete it.
Why has the PC accumulated 180 gigabytes worth of temporary files? Windows update installations and other operating system functions regularly add files to the Windows\Temp folder, where they remain until deleted. As a result, you should periodically run the Windows Disk Cleanup program, which will delete those unnecessary files (see tinyurl.com/ycg3ynqz for directions on running Disk Cleanup in Windows 7, 8.1 and 10.)
Alternatively, there’s an easy way to have the Windows\Temp folder cleared automatically. Just type two lines of text into Windows (see tinyurl.com/y73yerzt). That will create the file “cleantemp.bat,” which will automatically delete old temporary files each time the PC is started.
Don’t wait too long to clear the Windows\Temp folder, because once the hard drive is completely full it may cause the PC to freeze. Why? The PC needs some hard drive space to act as a backup in case the PC’s RAM (computer chip) memory is temporarily used up — or it may not work.
Q: I’d like quit using AOL Desktop Gold, the new PC-based software that’s replaced earlier AOL programs. But I want to be able to move my AOL e-mail contacts to Gmail, and my AOL browser Favorites bookmarks to Google Chrome or Microsoft Internet Explorer. Is there a foolproof method for making these transitions?
Tony Antonico, Manchester, N.H.
A: Moving AOL contacts to another e-mail system is easy. But moving bookmarks from the AOL browser to a different one has become more difficult because of recent software changes.
To move your contacts, first set up a new Gmail account (see tinyurl.com/y9aszxhh). Then go to the tutorial at tinyurl.com/ybwkfr9h and use method three (export contacts) or method four (copy and paste contacts.) Either one will transfer your AOL contacts to Gmail.
Because AOL no longer provides an easy way export AOL bookmarks, you’ll need to do it manually. To do so, use the AOL Desktop Gold browser to visit your favorite websites, then write down their actual Web addresses. Later, visit the same sites in the new browser, and bookmark each one. (If a website name is long or complex, you may want to copy it from the address line of the AOL browser, then paste it into the address line of your new browser. Then go to the site in the new browser and bookmark it.)
E-mail tech questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include name, city and telephone number.