Aura post #4: your advice is true for things which crucially need super reguar updates, though in some cases it can still be easier to install first the old one then update from within it immediately afterrwards. As for your comment about softwre which isn't available not being worth using, that's not true. It is true for things which need active patching on a regular basis, internet facing things, plugins and such, but for desktop applications which don't go online (things like photo editing programs, video editing programs, 3d modelling programs, audio editors...) it doesn't really apply. If a program was good when it was available and doesn't have internet facing parts then it's still worth using even if it becomes not available.
clayto: just to ask, precisely how much storage is the downloads folder using up? how many gigabytes? there might be other things on your computer which are just as big or bigger which might benefit from cleaning as well.
If you don't WANT to keep those setup files ( i've given reasons for keeping them IF you want to, aura has given reaons for getting rid of them IF you want to ) there is usually no need to keep them.
A program almost always functions fine without that installer about, most installers are a little bit like zip files in that they contain stuff and when you execute them they unpack it into the configuration they need to actually run the program and place this unpacked stuff into somewhere like C:\Program Files\(folder relevant to that software) to run the program, the original installer no longer being needed for further use.
You should have no trouble clearing your downloads folder just by deleting all the things in it which you don't want.
As for clearing other space, and making some other small enhancements which can help make things faster i would suggest using CCleaner from piriform. You can use it's temp file cleaning functons to remove the little bits of data which a program creates for further use while running but has no need of once you close it, these add up to quite a lot within just a few days so regular removal of them can be helpful. You can alos use it's startups function to disbale the startup of un-necessary services and programs, but you should check the names of each service or program online or on this forum to ensure it isn't smething important before you disbale it. Disabling is better than deleting because it can be undone if you later decide it was better to have a given thing start automatically at startup. You shoudl NOT however touch the registry cleaning/editing section in CClener, it can't make anyhting better but does risk causing severe system damage if you are unlucky.
Another pair of useful tactics for freeing up storgae space (which sometimes has effects on the speed of a system) are clearing out the recycle bin (a surprising number of people do not) and uninstalling unwanted programs, do you have any programs that you have barely used and think you are never likely to use again?
This is the advice i would give for computers which run programs in the "normal" way. For tablets where "apps" are the main thing i can't give any advice or comments as have no experience with such things.
Edited by rp88, 22 March 2015 - 04:21 PM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB