I’m using Crashplan for my on-line backup. If you are not backing up your data regularly – you should. In more than one place, if possible, and not all in the cloud. So when I was sitting quietly in front of my computer the other day pondering a particularly ambivalent English sentence, I noticed that my hard drives were spinning like crazy, even though I had not been touching the computer for a while. Backup activity was the first thing that came to mind, and indeed, the Crashplan dashboard showed that a particular folder, buried deep within the Windows folder, was being copied cloudward – to the tune of 56,407 files or roughly 2 GB of data. That’s a large number of files and a lot of data.
When I looked closer, it turned out that it was a cache folder for Windows Media Player. The thing is, I never use WMP. It is on my computer because I installed Windows. It seems that by default, WMP runs a service that writes to the WMP cache all album art I download through iTunes – and that repeatedly. I found a Microsoft forum entry where someone claimed that WMP had accumulated over 2 million files. Whenever you do a virus scan or a data backup, all those files have to be handled, which can slow down the process considerably.
If WMP is not your preferred media player, you want to make sure that the cache is empty and the service turned off. Here you can find a description of how to turn off the service. After that, delete all art in the folder
C:/Windows/ServiceProfiles/NetworkServices/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Media Player/Art Cache/LocalMLS. You have to have your Windows Explorer set to show hidden and system files to see the content.
This remedy may seem scary to some. One possible alternative is to use Piriform CCleaner. With this program you can set up any number of custom files or folders to be included in the general cleaning routine. Go to Options > Include and Add the path to the WMP cache. Then, when you run the Cleaner function of CCleaner, any newly accumulated art will be deleted.