Ways to Free Up Disk Space on Windows
Every year computer hard drives seem to be getting larger and larger, but somehow that has not solved the problem of consistently running out of hard drive space. This has come up as a common issue in the past couple of years especially given the transition from mechanical traditional hard drives to most computers sold today using a solid-state drive (SSD). Solid-state drives are still earlier in their technological development compared to mechanical hard drives and do not have the same capacities. Solid-state drives are faster and recall data from the drive much more quickly, but are still limited in total capacity and in some cases are very expensive. This makes efficient storage and cleaning hard drive space a priority for anyone using large file sizes, media, or anyone who needs to maintain detailed digital business records.
Windows includes a built-in tool that deletes temporary files and unimportant data. To find this tool, right click your hard drives in the computer window and select properties. Another way to find this is to search "disk cleanup" in your start menu. Click the "disk cleanup" button in the disk properties window. Then select the types of files that you would like to delete and click okay. This will remove temporary Internet files, log files, and files in your recycle bin. These are generally considered unimportant files but if you have a question as to whether or not these are okay to delete you can ask your IT staff member, or give us a call. You could also clean up system files which don't appear in the previous list by clicking "cleanup system files" button. By clicking the "more options" button you'll find additional options to clean up and delete possibly unusable for unneeded files.
The next recommendation we make for cleaning up hard drive space on a Windows computer is to uninstall high storage space applications that you don't regularly use. Uninstalling programs always free up space, but some programs use very little space and some programs are used often enough to justify the space on your hard drive. The way to look at installed programs and decide which to uninstall and which to keep is to first go to programs and features Control Panel. You can click the size column which will tell you how much space each program installing computer users. The easiest way to find this window is to search for uninstall programs in the start menu. If you don't see the size column, click the options button at the top right corner of the list and select the details you. These sizes aren't always perfectly accurate because some programs don't report all of the space they use. The program may be using a lot of space but may not have any information at all of the size column. There are also many third-party UnInstaller's like Revo Uninstaller, and CCleaner. We recommend doing research and possibly contacting the specialist or consultant to find the best program to manage applications for your business. If your business is still small with only a few devices that need cleaning, do your research and find the most applicable free uninstalling program if you feel the need.
If you'd like to find out a very detailed and exact view of what is using space and a hard drive, you can use a hard disk analysis program. These applications scan your hard drive display exactly what files and folders are taking up the most space. After scanning your system you have options with what to do with each file type, folder, and file that is using. Many of the available programs including the disk defragmentation and cleanup programs on your computer options and features that will warn you before deleting important system files, but it is important to ensure you know exactly what you're deleting and cleaning from these programs before you make any permanent decisions.
The last method we recommend freeing up hard disk space on a Windows computer is to find duplicate files and delete them. You can use a duplicate file finder application to scan your hardware for duplicate files, which are necessary to be deleted. There are many third-party options for signing and deleting duplicate files, and a quick Google search will present you with the information needed. Any managed services provider will perform this task for you as well as recommend any additional programs include the methods needed to ensure you have the right amount of space in the computer for the job at hand.
Previously mentioned items are the primary methods you should free up your disk space on a Windows computer, but there are a few nuclear options if the previous items are complete and you still do not have enough space for the immediate task. These next tricks will definitely save a little space, but they will disable important Windows features. We don't recommend using any of them, but if you desperately need disk space, they can help. Disabling hibernation is an option in this case. When you hibernate your system, and saves the contents of its RAM to your hard drive. This allows it to save it system state without a power usage. The next time you boot your computer, the back where you left off instead of at your startup screen. This is a major convenience prefer professionals who leave and come back to their desk regularly during the workday. The other risky but functional method is to disable system restore. This is probably the highest risk activity to free up disk space, it should only be used in an emergency. Your computer regularly takes a snapshot of the system so that in the event of a system crash you can restore all applications and settings to previous documented point. By disabling system restore your be completely out of luck if you need to use this feature in the future.
When you need to free up our disk space there quite a few options available, we recommend starting with the top of this article and then if you find yourself taking a serious look at our listed nuclear options, we strongly recommend calling a managed services provider first.