Do you have a computer that is short on space because it contains a lot of images, videos, or other large files? When your computer runs out of hard disk space, normal processes start to slow down and your computer will run very slowly. Of course, there are many other reasons why your computer might be slow, but this post is especially for those who know they are running low on disk space.
So instead of deleting files or moving them to USB drives or external hard drives, you can first try to free up space on your computer that might be occupied by useless temporary files, old system files, or installed service packs. Windows also has other large space predators that are configured to take up disk space by default and should be curbed as soon as possible! I’ll talk about these astronauts first, and then we’ll talk about what tools can be used to clean up old files.
Space Hog # 1 – Recycle Bin size
Why poke around in the basket huh ?? The never annoying and sometimes life-saving garbage just sits and waits for us to tell him what to do right? Well, it also takes up a LOT of space that it doesn’t need. Recycle Bin uses a percentage of your hard drive to store deleted files. However, this percentage is set to a very high value by default, and a lot of space is wasted as a result.
Here’s how to fix the # 1 space pig. First, right-click the trash bin on your desktop and select Properties. The dialog box may look different depending on the OS you are using.
In Windows XP, click the Global tab and select Use one setting for all drives or Configure drives independently. It is usually best to configure the recycle bin for each drive independently as it depends on the size of the drive, so 5% of a 50GB hard drive is much larger than 5% of a 20GB hard drive. At the top, you will see tabs for each section on your computer.
By default, the slider is usually set to about 12%, which is a lot! Unless you’re deleting huge files, you won’t need a recycle bin this size. A good size is 3 to 5% of your hard drive. Drag the slider and you will save a lot of space, especially if you have large hard drives. My computer is set to 1% and I have never had any problems recovering a file from the recycle bin!
In Windows 7, the Recycle Bin Properties dialog box looks slightly different, but the same concept applies.
Here, they just made it a little more efficient using just one tab. You can click on each section and see how much space is currently occupied. Just change the value to whatever is convenient for you. On my D drive, which is a 1TB hard drive, the bin was taking up a whopping 45GB! It’s just ridiculous and takes up a lot of space that could be used for something else.
Space Hog # 2 – System Restore
Another handy little service that can sometimes get your computer back to working order, but again takes up a lot of extra space that you don’t need, is System Restore. Also, System Restore only recovers Windows files, not your data. Therefore, enabling System Restore on any drive other than the C drive (where Windows is installed) is completely useless.
To fix this, right-click My Computer and select Properties.
Click the System Protection link in the left menu.
The System Protection dialog box opens, where you can see the current system recovery configuration.
As you can see on my computer, I have drives C, D and G with System Restore disabled on D and G. Again, this is because System Restore does not protect your data, it only protects Windows system files. so you don’t need it for any other drive besides the main system drive. If you click on the C drive and choose Configure, a dialog box will open to set the amount of space.
A value between 2% and 4% is suitable for system recovery. In Windows XP, by default, 12% wasted load and a lot of space! In Windows 7, this is a more realistic value, for example 5%. I have it set to 2%, and even with that in mind, I still have over 10 restore points to recover from if needed.
Space Hog # 3 – Hibernate
In Windows 7, you can have a lot of space occupied by the hibernation setting. In fact, this is not all that useful anymore, as you can simply put the computer to sleep. The main problem is that it takes up as much hard drive space as the amount of RAM you have. So I have 8 GB on my machine and so they take up 8 GB on my little 80 GB system partition or 10%! Definitely worth turning off if you don’t really use it a lot.
Luckily, I have already written an article on how to disable hibernation in Windows 7, so do that first!
Space Hog # 4 – System Files
The last big space flaw I encountered on Windows machines is system files. These can be old service pack files, old Windows installation files, and all sorts of other system files. The best way to clean them up is to simply run Disk Cleanup. Most people think this is a useless tool, but it helped me save over 20 GB of hard drive space. Have you ever used a tool and found a giant folder called WinSXS? Unfortunately, you cannot remove it, but you can trim it in two ways: by cleaning the disk and using the command line.
Open Disk Cleanup and click the Clean up system files button. By default, Disk Cleanup loads and deletes some temporary files and so on, but you have to click a button to clear the service pack files, etc. If you’ve never run it, you should see the total amount of disk space you have the gain value rises sharply. In my case, I saved over 6 GB on first launch.
Now it only shows a little more because you can see that I have already cleaned up the service pack backup files. You can also read my previous post on clearing the WinSxS folder using the command line, which can reduce the size even further, so be sure to try it.
Clean up other space hogs
Now let’s talk about some other areas that require a lot of space. First comes the temporary Internet files. If you browse the internet all the time but have never cleared your cache, your temporary files are likely taking up several GB of space.
I will not go into details on how to clear the search history and cache files because I already wrote about it. Follow this link and scroll down to the section for clearing browser history for IE and Chrome. For other browsers, just google it.
Plus, other large space pigs are harder to find. In these situations, you will have to use a third party program to find out where the space is occupied. For example, if you use iTunes and have multiple Apple gadgets, the mobile sync directory can be between 30GB and 40GB in size (this was for me) due to the backups being performed every time the device is connected to the computer. Once you know what is taking up space, you can find the best way to delete data online.
TreeSize is a freeware program that works great and quickly lets you know what’s taking up hard drive space.
I found out that with this program the Outlook PST file was 3GB, my mobile sync folder with many old backups was 30GB and the WinSxS folder was 25GB! Go through each folder systematically and Google anything you don’t understand before deleting it.
The last thing you can do to clean up your disk space is uninstall programs through the control panel and run a program called CCleaner CCleaner helps automate some of the things I mentioned above, so you don’t have to do it manually.
If you do everything I mentioned above, you should definitely get at least a few GB of space back if your computer is not already optimized. If you have any other tips for saving space for Windows, let us know in the comments. Enjoy!