Whether you’re using a solid state drive (SSD) or that classic hard disk drive (HDD), as the get larger and larger, they’re somehow always seeming to fill up. So if you’re hurting for extra space on your hard drive, these seven tricks should help you free up some space for the important files and programs, while trashing any unimportant junk that’s cluttering and hoarding up your hard disk space.
1) Run Disk Cleanup
Windows has a built-in tool that deletes temporary files and other unimportant data. Just right-click one of your hard drives in the Computer window, select Properties, select Disk Cleanup, select downloaded files and temporary internet files, and run it.
2) Uninstall Space-Hungry Programs and Apps
Uninstalling huge programs that you no longer need will free up space. In the Programs and Features area of the Control Panel (or just type “Uninstall Program” in Search in the Start Menu), you can click the Size column to see how much space each program installed on your computer is using.
3) Use a Hard Disk Analysis Program
These applications scan your hard drive and show exactly what files/folders are taking up the most space. My favorite is WinDirStat, which shows you exactly what folders, file types, and files are using the most space. Plus, it only deletes personal data files and NEVER risks that chance of deleting any important system files (you know, the ones computers need in order to operate). WinDirStat also shows how much space a program is using, something that the Programs and Features Control Panel doesn’t ALWAYS do.
4) Use CCleaner to Delete Temporary Files from Other Programs
Unfortunatley, Windows’ Disk Cleanup doesn’t delete temporary files created by OTHER programs and app, but the program CCleaner will take care of that. It cleans junk files from a variety of third-party programs and also cleans up Windows files that Disk Cleanup won’t touch.
5) Find & Delete Duplicate Files
You can use a duplicate-file-finding programs to scan your hard drive for unnecessary duplicate files. I personally like dupeGuru, and although its free version can only delete/move up to ten files at a time, it will display to you which duplicate files are wasting space on your hard drive.
6) Reduce System Restore Space
There’s a trade-off here: while this can allow more hard drive space by reducing space used for reserving restore points, you’ll have less restore points of your system and less prior copies of files to restore in case your computer goes all wonky on you. It’s up to you, but you’ll be able to save a few gigabytes by reducing the amount of space used for System Restore.
7) LAST RESORT: Go Nuclear
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT recommend these following space-saving tactics AT ALL. While they’ll definitely save space, they’ll disable some very important Windows features. THIS IS LAST RESORT ONLY; and even then I don’t recommend them:
- Disable Hibernation – Hibernating your system involves saving the contents of its RAM to your hard drive to save its system state without any power usage. This means that the next time you boot your computer, you’ll be back where you left of. The contents of your RAM are stored in the C:\hiberfil.sys file. If you disable hibernate entirely, the file will be removed.
- Disable System Restore – Piggy-backing from tip #6, should reducing the amount of space System Restore uses isn’t enough for you, you can disable System Restore entirely. HOWEVER, you WILL be OUT-OF-LUCK if you need to use System Restore to restore your system to an earlier state. You have been warned.