Alternate Directory is a free program for Microsoft Windows that you may use to find and delete files of specific types on connected storage devices.
The program has been designed to remove unneeded file types, for instance temporary file types or files that are created automatically.
Handy to remove thumbs.db or Spotlight V-100 files on removable Flash drives. While you may remove files manually at any time, using software is often more comfortable as you can run the operation on the entire drive or even system.
Alternate Directory can be run right after installation. First thing you may want to do after program start is to click on options.
The program lists all file types that it scans the selected path or drives for on the options page. Alternate Directory ships with three presets called standard, advanced and critical, and an option to edit the file type listing to add, edit or remove file types manually.
Standard is the default preset, and it alone includes several dozen file types that the program will scan the selected path for. Advanced and critical add more file types to the scan, but should be used with care. Critical includes HTML, JPG or XLS file types for instance which you may not want removed from the system.
The preferences page lists options to exclude folders from the scan, and to add folders that you want cleared completely whenever the program runs.
The remaining options include ignoring write protection, including zero-byte files, and to remember selected folders.
The program's main interface lists several configuration options on top of that. You select the drive and folder that you want scanned, or check to scan all drives, there for instance.
Alternate Directory displays delete dialogs and deletes to the recycle bin by default. What you may want to do is select the diagnosis button first once you have configured the path and options displayed there. Diagnosis processes the selected path or paths in simulation mode. The program returns the files that it found during the scan, but won't delete them in this mode.
This is useful to find out how much disk space you would restore when deleting those files, and how many files would be deleted altogether. Diagnosis does not list the files however that will get deleted.
You may select the clean drive button afterwards to run another scan, this time however with the option to have matching file types deleted automatically by Alternate Directory.
If you did not remove the checkmark from "display delete dialogs", you will be prompted for each file. This is the safer option, as you get the full file name and path and can decide on a file on file basis whether to keep it or to delete it.
Alternate Directory is a specialized program that is well designed for a very specific purpose. Other cleaning programs, CCleaner for instance, support the deletion of select file types as well. If you use those already, you may prefer using the programs that you are using already over using yet another program.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.