What Happened to my Hard Drive Space?

hdd2Are you asking yourself where all the free space on your hard drive has gone when you don’t even have that many (big) files? Do you want to free up space but you don’t know how or what to delete? If yes, then it’s time to investigate and find out what’s taking up the space and figure out a way to free it up for new files.

So, what can you do?

Firstly, you should know that some space is reserved for System Restore, and you can find out how much by going into System Properties (Control Panel, System), selecting your local drive and clicking on Settings. You will see how much space (in GB and percent) has been reserved for this purpose. You can adjust this but don’t turn off this option or you may regret it later. If you need more space, just move the slider to the left a bit.

Sometimes, your space is taken up by hidden files. This can be either a swapfile (pagefile.sys) or hiberfil.sys, a file used in laptops for hibernation. They can take up to 1GB each. Your hard drive can also have a hidden partition with Windows installation files or recovery programs, set up by the manufacturer of your PC.

In Windows XP, if you want to see how many big files there are on your PC, open the Search Window (Start, Search) and click on All Files and Folders. In the next window, click on What size is it? and select either size larger than 1MB or a custom size in the last field. When you get the list of files, see if there is anything you can delete.

There is special software that you can use to see what your hard drive space is used for. Download VisDir Free Disk Space Finder 1.4 and let the program do the searching for you.

To free up more space, delete all temporary Internet files, cookies, history (in Internet Explorer under Tools and Internet Options) and use the program CCleaner to select and remove more unnecessary stuff from you hard drive. You can also defragment your hard drive if you haven’t done it recently. Also, make sure your Recycle bin is empty and uninstall programs you don’t need.

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