freeing up disk space the easy way

Even though hard drive space is increasing according to More’s law you can still run out of disk space at some point. For a more permanent fix to get more space on your drives you can always resize your partitions, but if you need those free gigs pronto, the only option is to start wiping files.

Now what files can we ditch without actually having to delete all those precious dubstep and breakcore mp3’s we downloaded from th3 internetz, and with the least amount of trouble and time? We have more important things to do than cleaning out hard drives right?

  1. Well you could get a copy of CCleaner for starters, and give it a spin. I bet there will be some log-files or temporary files out there you didn’t know of that have been sitting around your drive for ages. Lots of little files take up a whole lot of space, so this is an excellent way to get rid of debree that has been piling up over time.
  2. Clean up those Windows system restore points! First of all you might want to limit the size used for the restore points. By default Windows uses 12% of your total disk size for this, but with the large drives sold these days that percentage turns out to be ridiculously high. For a 130 GB drive this end up at a whopping 16 GB of space you can’t use! You can easily win a few GB by just moving that slider to the left. You can find this under your Control Panel > System > System restore tab.
  3. If you have a machine other people have been using as well, you can delete obsolete user profiles stored on it. On a work PC where you’re machine has been used by others before, these profiles can take up a lot of space that can’t be accessed. Using the Control Panel > System properties > Advanced tab > User profiles button you can delete old or unused profiles. This will delete any user specific setting stored on your computer like desktop settings and browser bookmarks, but will be recreated when the user would log on again later. Don’t do this if you know people have files stored in their “My Documents” folder though, as they will be erased as well.
  4. Another thing you can do is clean up some hotfix installers. Whenever Windows installs a hotfix using the automated upgrades, it also creates an uninstall folder for it in your Windows folder. You can recognize those hidden folders as they are named like $NtUninstall*$. I manual clean these up if they are older than a year. You can also use the latest version of CCleaner to do this for you, but that deletes all of them I think.

So, that should have cleared up quite some space without actually deleting any of your own files. If you’re still short on space, you might want to try out a tool like WinDirStat and see what files are taking up the most space. Through the graphical visualisation of your diskspace you can easily pick out huge files you can actually miss and free a lot of space with minimum effort.

Know another cool trick to clear out some space? Drop it in the comments for others to enjoy!

Photo by givepeasachance, cc-licensed.

4 thoughts on “freeing up disk space the easy way

  1. n3wjack Post author

    Yeah, I like the fact that presenting big files as bigger blocks makes it so much easier to literally see where the problem lies.
    Numbers or progress bars take more interpreting, while the block arrangement makes it kids play to see that some folder is taking up too much space.

  2. n3wjack Post author

    Yeah, I like the fact that presenting big files as bigger blocks makes it so much easier to literally see where the problem lies.
    Numbers or progress bars take more interpreting, while the block arrangement makes it kids play to see that some folder is taking up too much space.

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