How do I free up disk space?


How to free-up disk-space on your hard drive

Over time your hard drive can begin to fill up. You may see error messages that you cannot install new software, programs might crash, and if your available drive space drops below certain levels, Windows may actually begin to display messages that it's time to free-up some of your drive space.

Basic steps to regain hard drive disk-space

The first obvious step is to delete any unnecessary files. Some types of files such as video or music files tend to be very large and can quickly consume all of the hard-disk storage of a smaller hard-drive. To help make regaining hard disk space easier, Microsoft has put a Disk Clean-Up Wizard in Windows XP.

The Windows XP Clean Up Wizard performs the following steps for you

  • Deletes Downloaded program files - these files are automatically downloaded by Internet Explorer and can be deleted safely
  • Deletes Temporary Internet Files - Internet Explorer uses these files when accessing the internet. These files can be safely deleted
  • Deletes Offline Web Pages - Pages that are stored for access while you are not connected to the internet. - These files can be safely deleted
  • Empties the recycle-bin - When you "delete" a file, it's not really deleted (see our permantly delete files page for more info). Emptying the recycle bin frees up a large portion of storage space in your hard-drive
  • Deletes temporary files - temporary files are created and used by Windows and can be safely deleted
  • Clears/Deletes Web Client/Publisher files - These are temporary files that may be created if you use Microsoft web-publishing tools
  • Offers to compress old files - Old files that you don't access frequently will be compressed so they take up less room on your hard disk. The trade-off is that performance can be affected when accessing these files.
  • Other options - Depending on what Windows options and software you have on your computer, you may see other options to create more free-space on the disk. Click on the option to read the explanation.

Other options to free-up your hard drive space

By clicking the More Options tab you have the following choices to free-up even more disk space:

  • Windows Components - This option allows you to remove components installed in Windows that you may not need
  • Installed programs - This option takes you to the Add/Remove Software screen. You can uninstall software programs that you no longer need.
  • System Restore - Windows Xp automatically creates system restore points. These restore points are snapshots of your system that can be used in the event that you encounter a serious Windows crash. This option will allow you to delete the older system-restore points. Only choose this option if you aren't currently experiencing system crashes or problems.

Get ready to clean up!

Follow these steps to access the Disk Cleanup Wizard (note: there are several ways to access the Disk Cleanup Wizard. Not all methods work on all computers. This method will work on all computers with Windows Xp installed)

  • Find the My Computer icon on your desktop, or in your Start Menu double-click it to show the hard drives installed on your PC
  • Find your primary hard drive, or the disk you want to regain space on (usually the "C:" drive) and click it with the Right mouse button
  • On the small menu that pops up, choose Properties
  • On the General tab, click the Disk Cleanup button (note that you can view the amount of free-space on your disk on this screen)
  • Choose the options for disk-cleanup (explained above) and press OK
  • Windows will perform the tasks and you should have a significant increase in the amount of free space on your hard drive

Now that you've deleted all those files, it's time to Defragment!

See or page on how to defragment to read about disk fragmentation and why you should defragment your drive, particularly after deleting large amounts of data.

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Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space at a LAPTOP
I need help. My Hard Drive says i have no more space and when i checked my computer's hardware it says that there is only 258 mb free....so I uninstalled all my games then it says 2 GB free so I uninstalled everything i downloaded and unnecessary files then i noticed its still 2d GB free. I restarted my computer then when I looked again it became 1GB free then when I closed the My Computer window and opened it again it says 3GB free then it starts to increase and decrease randomly...I did do disk cleanup and i installed CCleaner and used it yet its still 258 Mb - 3GB free since it really is changing randomly..i researched everything yet nothing! I'm afraid my computer is broken and btw when installed a game that uses a decent amount of GB it did not chage the value of (its hard to explain XD) the used memory!! (for example: I download a game which is 5 gb and my computer says i only have 3 GB left space so when i installed the game it still says i have 3GB left space!!!) I hope you understand T_T I really need help T_T_T_T_T (Oh and just to let you know i did format the computer just last year and tried to keep the laptop safe at all cost :])
Mick E Deangeelow (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space at a LAPTOP
That aint normal. It's broken
Michael (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
I have windows xp It keeps tell me I have 0 disk space. I have tried to remove programs but it says I don't have enough disk space. How do i re move these programs to free up space?
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Hubby
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Re: How do I free up disk space?

Try clearing your browser cache and deleting everything in C:\Temp, C:\Windows\Temp, and C:\TMP then emptying your recycle bin and trying again.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?

I bought a windows xp home edition at a thrift store for $20.00
and did a fresh install of windows xp professional.the hard drive only has 32.2GB of space.after i did the install the recovery partition wouldnt work so i added the space it had by using partition wizard.The max hard drive space became 37.2GB.I installed the sims (1) and a few other programs and ended up with 20.00GB of space.Then i reinstalled windows to free up space because the minimum hard drive space for windows xp is 1.5GB.
When i checked the disk space i still had 20.00GB.Im defraging the system right now and
did what this article said and i now have 23.6GB.What are other ways to free up space?!?!?!?!?!?

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Hubby
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I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How do I free up disk space?

The only ways to free up disk space is:
delete things
move things to another drive
compress things that you have to keep on that drive. Windows XP has an option in the drive-properties screen to compress items to save more space.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
Does installing new hard drive solve my low disk space problem ? Tried deleting everything I can .
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Hubby
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Re: How do I free up disk space?

Installing a new hard drive will give you a new hard drive and a new place to start storing stuff. it will not automatically free up any space on the existing drive. you would have to move stuff from the first drive to the new drive to free up room on the first one.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
and yet still nobody has said how to free up disk space?
I See Stupid People (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
You must be blind.. Or just can't read, because there are several ways posted on the page above and in the comments below. Thanks for making the internet a better place with your comment.
dylan (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
my bioshock 2 game cant save and says 'free up some space' but when i look at my drives they both have about 100GB free WHAT DO I DO????
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Hubby
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I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How can I free up disk space?

Are you sure you have 100GB free and not 100MB or KB ?
If it's 100GB, then check where your game is configured to save it's stuff to. It might be saving to a smaller TMP type partition, or maybe it's not configured at all. Of course, you might just try a reboot as that can clear up 'weirdness', espeically if you dont reboot often.
If these things dont help then you might need a Bioshock expert.. might even have to contact Bioshock support and ask why their program is being so retarted..

Anonymous ftw (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
simply get a portable 1TB hard drive if it's getting to much
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
My disk space was originally at 76.8. Now it's at 151. I have 223 GB free, I've uninstalled programs, done Disk Cleanup and it keeps randomly increasing and decreasing...please help! Sad
stuartbell (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
Please check if you have divided your drive into volumes. The boot volume must have an adequate amount of free space in it. Else, just check and delete the unnecessary stuffs with Stellar speed up Mac.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
I don't see how you need more than 223 GB of free space unless you're going to install every game in the world..
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Hubby
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I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How do I free up disk space?

i dont understand how you can have 151 free at the same time as 223 free? but, doesnt matter i guess.. Windows (and Mac) uses temporary files and "swap" files. It may also be saving System Restore points (Windows) or making Time Machine Snapshots (Mac), and lord knows what lese - so it is normal for the amount of free space to fluctuate. How much it fluctuates depends on the exact version of Windows or OS X you are using, what programs you are using, and what you are doing with those programs. If it's not causing a problem I would not worry about it.

Ben (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
I try to uninstall programs in my add/remove section, but it doesn't let me uninstall ANYTHING. What is worse is that i have used up all my space and now it is interfering with skype and giving errors when i try to open other programs. What do I do?
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Hubby
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I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How do I free up disk space?

have you done all your other housecleaning (read thru the other comments on this page) emptying recycle bin, deleting temp files, deleting files that you no longer need?
If so, next step might be to temporarily move a few things off to a thumb drive.. just a few videos or a handfull of songs should free up enough elbow room to delete things..

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
How do I know what programs to uninstall in "remove/add programs" some listed I have no idea what they are for....Thank you.
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Hubby
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I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How do I free up disk space?

If you know what the program is, and know that you do not need/use it, then you should be safe to uninstall it.
If you don't know what it is you can Google the name to figure out what the program is and what it's used for to determine if you need it or not. If you still aren't sure, feel free to post a new question here (click the Post New Question link in the upper right) asking for help/input.

One thing to keep in mind though: usually when removing a program, it's data is not deleted - and the programs themselves are not that large. So just deleting the programs without (manually) deleting their data may not free up much space on your disk. for example: iTunes occupies, say 20MB for the "program" - but the iTunes "data", which is your music, videos, backups of your iPod/iPhone, etc, could easily occupy gigabytes. So uninstalling iTunes would free up that 20MB, but would still leave it's data laying around on your disk and hogging all those gigabytes unless you also find and delete that 'stuff' ..

The key to being successful is knowing what the programs are, what they do, and where they store their stuff.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
I understand...Thank you. I have ICOPY on my computer so if I delete that will I loose my itunes? I'm sorry if that is a silly question...
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Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How do I free up disk space?

It's not a silly question. You will have to research how iCopy works and what it does. I have never heard of it, but i cannot imagine that by uninstalling it, it would also delete another program (iTunes).. But like i said, you will have to become familiar with how your program works and what it does so you can be confident before you uninstall it.

oh yes, one other thing: ALWAYS have a backup of anything on your computer that you care about

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
I have an 8gb laptop, incredibly small disk space and i have windows, avast antivirus and itunes (cant delete because only computer ipod will connect to)installed.... My computer never has more than 200mb room on it, not even enough room for a defragment... Is there any way i can get more room on it? Any way i can fix this without buying a new laptop?
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
How do I find out what is taking up all the space on my disk. I suspect there may be multiple back ups of the same thing or something else is multiplying itself.
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Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How do I free up disk space?

There are free programs you can download that will display how much each folder is using.

Marcline (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
Well my computer won't let me uninstall programs and thats the only way I can free disk space. But it says I need more disk space before I can uninstall anything.
kay kandi (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
I used all my space on my 6 month old laptop.. no one can believe it! I was doing meth during that time and recorded myself 24/7 and added them all to youtube.. I erased a ton but it says my youcam does not used that much space.. my boyfriend says he thinks my computer got a virus that copied everything twice maybe.. I have done disk chean up and defrag but barely cleared any space! suxx
photo of member named
Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How do I free up disk space?

There is no virus that i am aware of that copies everything twice ( your boyfriend is just grabbing at straws)..

you need to find out where all that space is being used. There are free programs you can download that will display how much each folder is using. Once you find that out, delete that folder and you're good. My guess is there are tmp files or some other type of hidden system time files hogging up the space.

ian pankhurst (not verified)
Re: How do I free up disk space?
i have just bought a brand new pc for £2300. i went for a 120gb Intel 520 SSD. i'm glad i never went for the 60 as was planned as after putting just a couple of games on it, when you go to my computer it tells me that there is only 32gb left. if i hi-light it and press properties it tells me that i have used 80gb, but when i open the c drive, hi-light the contents and go to properties, it tells me that i have used 45gb, which is more like it???? where on earth has the extra space (35gb) gone??

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