Digital junk

Recently I wanted to install a new piece of software in my personal Windows laptop which had about 20 GB of free space. Unfortunately, the new software needed at least 100 GB.

So I went to the application list and checked each of the installed software on the machine. I removed all of the applications that I did not need anymore, but that did not get me much additional free space. Seemed fishy.

Then I went to check the disk usage for each of the folder group at the root. The Users folder was large, but I recalled that I recently purged a lot of files prior to this due to some other activity. So next I dissected the size of the sub-folders in Users folder.

The AppData sub-folder was huge. And I just uninstalled many applications. Something is definitely fishy.

I painstakingly checked each sub-folder within AppData. Turned out it contained sub-folders from all applications that was ever installed and uninstalled on the machine. This machine is 7 years old and started life as a Windows 7 and now runs the latest Windows 10. It has seen a lot of experimentation and application try out, so there were a lot of application data folders to remove. Manually.

In the end, I had about 105 GB of free space. In other words, I freed up additional 85 GB of space out 256 GB storage capacity. All this time, one third of the space was filled with junk.

Lesson learned

If it were my house' living room, I would have noticed it when a third of the space is junk and would get rid of it. Some people like to keep things around in their storage or attic or cellar thinking those might come to some use sometime in the future. But even they would not keep junk / trash around as in the case of my Windows laptop story.

Yet in this digital age, mobile devices and computers comes with bigger and bigger storage. It is easy to assume that when the storage space is full, we had it filled with things we digitally need and therefore we need to buy additional storage or new computer or new mobile phone.

But before we do that, verify first if we truly use everything that fills up our digital storage.

Even if we have the financial means to buy more storage or new device, it is a good habit to clean up the digital junks in our life from time to time. Be it in our computers or our mobile phones.

At work this can happen too

Yesterday I met with the Server team to discuss migration plan to the incoming new infrastructure. My team planned to decommission some applications, but less than two years ago, we already cleaned up our applications as part of server consolidation clean up.

Turned out my team had been monitoring that some applications were not used at all recently. And nobody in the Application teams knew who the business owners were, due to staff turnover and missing documentation. So the Server team turned off those applications and waited for who would shout.

Nobody.

So those applications will be backed up and archived but not migrated. If somebody shouts post-migration, we will find out why they need the unused application.

Even in business, digital junk exists and we need to vigilantly clean it.

#learningorg