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.




i am trying to play a old game, Gangsters: Organized Crime.... i have an updated version.... when i go to play it and save it it says that i need to free up disc space.... but i have and it doesnt work... it still says 0. and then when i start the game anyways nothing happens.... people, vehicles, ect.... nothing. the "clock" wont either... please HELPP ME

Whoaa, I'm late on this one.. Are you still having trouble?
Sounds like it's not able to write to the disk - maybe a permissions issue, not really a disk space problem. What version of Windows are you using?

Have Windows 10 on an ASUS E200HA. The installed RAM is 2.00GB (1.89 GB usable)

I have done everything listed on here. I am running windows vista. whats next?

We have Windows XP and have done all the steps shown above after receiving numerous messages of having low disk space. Our C drive is almost full but the D drive is completely empty and we have to wonder how or if we can move files or programs to the D drive and still be able to use or access them. Our C drive indicates we have 15 GB of total space and 54 MB of free space. We've tried to move our pictures to CD's but we obviously have to have more memory to accomplish this.........HELP PLEASE!!!

D: drive??  On your computer what is your D: drive?  Is it your DVD/CD (optical) drive?  Check it by opening My Computer (or Computer), inserting a disk and watching what changes. Windows defaultly assigns C: to a non-partitioned hard drive containing the operating system. If the hard drive has been split into two or more partitions (e.g. Recovery, Data), the partition with the Windows operating system gets labeled C:, the other partitions will be named D, E, etc. with the next available letters being assigned to the optical drives.  If there are USB devices on the front like built-in camera card readers, those get assigned drive letters last. After reading what I wrote above and you see that the D: drive is not a Recovery partition or your DVD/CD but actually a usable partition or another hard drive used as a slave, you can move files to it but not just any files.  Trying to move installed programs to that drive will require in-depth registry surgery and hours of troubleshooting.  Then comes the binge drinking and property damage. The best candidates to move to a storage drive are videos, music, and pictures.  These are weighty files and will free up the most space.  If you use iTunes, there is a process to get it to see the new location of your media directory. There's another option... cloning your existing hard drive to a larger one.  what happens here is you buy a hard drive of the same connection type type (IDE or SATA) as your existing one.  But larger of course.  You also will need some way of connecting it to your computer.  I recommend a USB adapter like a Rosewill RCW-608 or a Apricorn Drivewire - I've used both. Download something like Acronis cloning software, create a bootable CD, connect the new hard drive via USB, boot to the CD, and this leads you through the steps to cloning your existing hard drive to a bootable, exact (but larger) copy that you can simply swap in place of your smaller one.  It works wonderfully.

a D: drive is your optical drive (CD's, DVD's, and in some cases Blue ray disks)

yes you can just copy and paste or just drag your files from C to D, just go to D to open them again

Im trying to download yahoo messenger and it tells me i need atleast 100mb of disc space ive done everythng on top n it still doesnt let me. wen i look how much disc space i have it says 61.9GB so wtf is going on??

[quote=SNOman].. so wtf is going on??[/quote]

Your hard drive is too full.. simple as that..
You will need to track-down where all that space is being used up, and either move or delete the 'stuff' .. If you've already done all the steps in the page above, the next place I would look at closely are all the folders in your "My Documents" folder. Specifically your pictures and music folders. If you still cant find where all your space is being used, there are free utilities that you can download that will list-out all the areas on your hard-drive and show you what is taking up all the space. You can then decide what to do.


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