Can I Safely Delete EXE Files?

Bryan Cleaver from Canada writes:

Is there any danger in deleting all the .EXE files that I saved in my Downloads folder when I installed my programs. I have numerous such files and wondered if I could get rid of them safely? Thank you.

The Downloads folder on a PC fills up quickly and will definitely take up valuable space on your hard drive if you don’t spring clean from time to time. However, knowing what to delete and what to keep is not always as straightforward as you might think.

Deleting .exe, or executable, files will do your computer no harm. Once the program has safely installed on your PC, the .exe installation file is basically redundant. It is not needed by the program you just installed in order to run properly on your computer. No harm will be done.

However, while you can delete these files, it is also worth considering why you might not want to. Some people like to save their .exe files to a CD/DVD or flash drive to have as a backup in case they need to re-install the program at a later date. Yes, you can almost always go online and find the file you need to download it again, but sometimes software companies die, rebrand, or stop developing a product. Some downloads are also very large and would take a long time to download if you ever needed to re-install the program. In scenarios like this, it can be handy to have your original copy of the .exe file.

Moving some of your .exe files to a CD/DVD or flash drive will free up some space on your computer for more useful things. You don’t necessarily need to back them all up, but if there are any programs that you have become particularly fond of, it may not be a bad idea to keep a backup of that particular .exe file. Everything else? Trash it! 🙂

~ Jonathan

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