Q: I'm trying to download some not-very-large files from the Web and I get a message saying that either the drive where I'm trying to store...

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Q: I’m trying to download some not-very-large files from the Web and I get a message saying that either the drive where I’m trying to store the files or the place where temporary files are stored is full.

I have 1.92 gigabytes left on my C:\ drive, which is more than enough for what I’m trying to do. So I checked temp files and found a C:/Windows/Temp directory with many large .IDX an .PDL files (1000 to 2000 KB). Is it OK to delete these? Does that make sense that a temp directory would have a limit?

Is there anyplace else I should look for temp files that should be deleted and can I assume that any file in a temp directory is OK to remove?

— Dion Valdez

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A: You should be OK deleting any files in the Temp folder that remain after you close Windows. And if Windows is still using any of those files, it won’t let you delete them.

So why do those files not get automatically deleted? First, if Windows shuts down improperly, the contents of the Temp folder may not be emptied.

Also, some applications, such as synchronization software for handheld devices, use the Temp folder and may not delete all the files they leave behind.

By the way, it’s not the Temp folder that has the limit, it’s the entire drive. The message is telling you that there’s no room to store the files.

You don’t say what version of Windows you’re using, but most recent versions include a utility specifically designed for clearing your drive of unneeded files.

Go to the Start button and select Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools. Next click on the Disk Cleanup tool.

Q: I read last week with great interest about how to keep MSN Messenger on your system but out of the way. However, when I go to the Tools menu up comes Folder Options and no opportunity to tell the system what to do with any program I may not want loaded during boot up.

Which brings me to my question: I have lots of programs that load at boot time that I really don’t want slowing the system down, such as Quicktime, Comcast support, etc. Am I looking at the wrong Tools menu or how does one prevent these programs from loading and sitting in the System Tray (lower right area of task bar), thus slowing the computer?


A: There are several ways to prevent programs from loading automatically. If it’s just MSN Messenger you’re concerned about, the easiest way is to load the program and go to the Tools menu, then selection Options and, finally, Preferences. Make sure to uncheck the box that calls for automatically loading Messenger when Windows starts.

Other programs may be loading from your Startup folder when Windows boots.

To check on this, right-click on the Start button and select Open. When Windows Explorer pops up you’ll see the Programs folder. Open it and you’ll find a Startup folder. Open that and you may find other programs that are loading automatically at bootup. Drag them out of the Startup folder and they won’t load when you next boot.

Finally, you may want to run the MSCONFIG program. To do so, click on the Start button, then choose Run from the popup menu.

In the field that pops up type msconfig and hit Enter. You’ll then see a utility pop up that offers detailed information on programs and services that load at bootup and you can select whether to have them load or not.

The downside of MSCONFIG is that, while it identifies processes that are loading, it may not be clear what processes are connected to what applications.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by e-mail to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.