Ask Leo: Is It Safe to Delete This File?

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By Leo Notenboom

My C: and D: drives have many gigabytes of .DAT files under “Documents and
Settings”. I’m trying to free up space on the C: drive. Can I delete any of
these files? I really don’t know what they are, how they got there, or why they
occupy so much space on my computer!

I don’t know.

Honestly, I have no idea either as to what they are, how they got there, or
why they occupy so much space. That’s the problem with “.dat” files – there’s
no way to know what they are without more information.

But I do have some ideas on how to determine if deleting them is ok, and
ways to do it safely. And those ideas apply to any file type, not just
“.dat”.

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ASK THE PROS September

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A new school year can be stressful for the kiddies heading back with books, backpacks, and probably some new laptops here and there. This is a great time to make sure their computer is ready for a new year. Give them a system clear of Virus and spyware. Clear out old temp files. Defrag the hard drive. You never know how much space is needed for taking notes frorm the new teacher.

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Are Your Children Safe from Spyware?

If you have kids, then the computer they use — which may also be the computer you use — is vulnerable to infestation by spyware. Spyware preys on the behavior of children, and teens in particular, by parking itself in the programs they download and on the sites they visit. Peer-to-peer music-swapping software, free online games, screen savers, song-lyrics sites are prime destinations for kids and many of them can carry an unwanted payload that can melt down a machine. But by teaching your kids appropriate behaviors and habits, and using some protective software, you can go a long way toward preventing spyware from gaining a foothold on your system.

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