Connor's Blog

Root Hard Drive Files for Windows XP

Many time I fix my friends’ or my family’s computers, and I run across one common theme among them all…they are DIRTY! Now, I am not talking about dust bunnies here, although that might prompt me to write an entirely new post. Anyway, when I say “dirty”, I am talking about the file structure! Some of the hard drives have not been formatted or even just cleaned up in years, and unfortunately most of the people who I try and stress this point to just don’t see why it is important. Then i say, “Well, you had to call me to come here, didn’t you?”, at which point I get a polite agreement-nod, and I can move on.

Now, there are many places extra left over files and junk can hide, which strangely enough is right out in the open! On your Desktop! Most people’s desktops have way too much junk on them…I believe mine has 4 icons, but then again I am somewhat OCD, so the max anyone would ever really need is two columns on the left. I see no reason to clutter up your desktop with icons you might click on once a month. How hard is it to go to “My Documents” and open it up that one time you need it, or click on the Start Menu? Well, either way, that is not what I am here to talk about, albeit a very nasty subject.

What I want to stress today is the root of the primary drive, most likely your “C” drive. If you are running any version of Windows XP, then the screen-shot below contains the only files and folders that should be allowed to reside in the root of the drive. Notice, you need to show hidden/system files to be able to see some of these, so open “My Computer” and select “Tools”, then “Folder Options…”. Select the “View” tab, then make sure you select the radio button (bubble) that says “Show hidden files and folders”, then UNCHECK the boxes next to the following two line-items: “Hide extensions for known file types”, and “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”.

Yes, it will give you a warning and ask if you are sure…just humor Bill Gates and play along, and confirm that is what you want. Now, when you open your main drive, probably your “C” drive, you should see this…


I am posting this for all of those like me out there who like to clean up your drive every now and then. Add/Remove programs can only get rid of so much, so sometimes it is necessary to manually delete files, carefully, in certain areas of the computer. So, use the screen-shot above as a reference for the only “required” files that should be in the root of the “C” driver for Windows XP users.

3 comments for “Root Hard Drive Files for Windows XP

  1. Aikee
    December 12, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Sir Isn’t the folder RECYCLER a virus?

  2. January 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    No, this is part of Windows XP

  3. dan
    February 1, 2010 at 4:57 am

    There is a virus caled RECYCLER but that “RECYCLER” folder on the root drive is for holding files and folders you send to the recycling bin.

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