Admit it, you’ve got a ton of junk on your computer. No, not stacked on top of your computer, but on your desktop screen and in the file paths lurking below the surface, in downloaded detritus and folders long covered with pixelated dust — what does “reports-final-finalforrealthistime” even mean?
All that clutter adds up to extra work for you by slowing down your machine’s performance and making it hard to get anything done, whether it be finding a file, clearing space, or just letting you see the picture of your adorable kid you set as your desktop background.
Want to get on top of your files in 2020? Here’s the software you’ll need to get your machine organized, and hopefully keep it that way.
Available on: PC, Mac, Android
Price: Free, $19.95 (one year subscription)
CCleaner is great for dealing with the easily-accumulated clutter clogging your computer. For avid web users, CCleaner wipes data stored in browsers, including temporary files that can take up precious space, history logs that make it easy to identify you, cookies that store information like login credentials, and more.
But that’s not all. Designed to keep every part of your PC or Mac running smoothly, CCleaner can clean up and remove low level system files responsible for crashes or errors, old logs you’ll never need or read, and lets you easily uninstall apps that could be slowing down your computer. Buying the professional version nets you access to more features, like scheduled cleanings, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re overdue for one.
Available on: Mac
Price: $19.95 (one year subscription), $44.95 (one-time purchase)
If you’re an avid photographer, hoarder of music, collector of memes and their variations, or just love making sure you don’t have multiple copies of files you only need one of, Gemini 2 might well be the app you need to keep duplicates at a minimum. It scans your entire Mac for similar and/or identical files, then presents them to you for perusal or disposal.
Getting rid of duplicate files is a huge help when it comes to reorganizing, but detecting similar files — like the eighteen pictures you took of your sleeping puppy from the same angle — can really free up space, and get you to focus on the photos that really matter to you. Of course, you can always change your mind later, as Gemini 2 only gets rid of them for good once you tell it to.
Available on: PC
If you’re a Windows user with enough duplicates to make your hard drive spin (well, spin faster than usual), check out File Juggler. While there’s no circus tricks involved, File Juggler can organize your files based on preset or custom rules you can enable and disable with a click. It works with all kinds of files, and can categorize them based on nearly every aspect of their existence, including metadata.
Its most powerful feature, though, might be how it handles documents and text. File Juggler can look inside files like PDFs for keywords and dates essential to your organizing style, filing them away accordingly.
Available on: Mac
Hazel may be my favorite utilitarian application. Essentially an organizational assistant for your Mac’s files and folders, Hazel makes everything from tagging and renaming to moving, uploading, and deleting as simple — or complex — as you want it. It works by following rules you make using its menu of options, which you can apply to specific folders where your files go, or are supposed to go.
Just assign Hazel a place to monitor (like a few folders, or your cluttered desktop) and watch it work. Its filtering tools are pretty thorough, and lets you pick and choose from various settings associated with your files. Download bank statements often? Hazel can monitor your download folder for PDFs, detect any files matching multiple factors (including name, file size, file type, and more), and drop them where you want them, keeping you organized without you lifting a finger. Put imported photos into one folder, automatically delete or archive documents, automatically tag your images with the proper names and comments.
Available on: Mac
Onyx is the utility app for more advanced Mac users. It can double-check your system to see if everything is running smoothly, handles cleanup and maintenance, and can rebuild any corrupted elements should something go awry.
Where Onyx really shines, though, is in its more granular customization options — options which should only be pursued by a more advanced tinkerer, or at least someone prepared to deal with a temporarily disabled computer should they check the wrong box. You can alter how the dock functions, how the Finder appears, customize what wallpaper you see when your Mac boots up, and more. It’s the tool every power user should have at their disposal.