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How to Free Up Hard Drive Space Occupied by Windows System Files

Author: Brook Perry
by Brook Perry
Posted: Jan 08, 2014

Many of you've got a computer running on Windows 7 or 8 operating system, which is supported by an internal hard disk drive. Several users make one or more than one partitions on their hard disk drive to segment their data storage process and streamline the search function while looking for a particular file. After using the computer for a year or so, the hard disk partition gets filled up with your personal stuff. While observing your personal user profile, you will realize that your personal stuff is acquiring more disk space, which was left as free space on those partitions.

Some of the disk space is acquired by your personal stuff, but the other major section of the disk space is occupied by the Windows system files. You can easily check the free available space on your hard disk drive by clicking on ‘My Computer’ and right-click on the ‘Hard Drive’ icon. Now, select ‘Properties’ and you will be able to see the information about your hard disk drive along with a pie chart illustration, where pink represents the free space while occupied space is represented by blue color.

If you’re looking to free up some hard drive space, then this article will help you in revealing some of the tricks that will free up some extra space occupied by Windows system files.

1. Analyze disk space

The first thing to do before starting the actual cleanup process is to find out exactly what is using space on your hard drive. To identify the same, you can use a hard disk analysis program that scans your hard drive and display the exact value of disk space occupied by files and folders. WinDirStat, SpaceSniffer, TreeSize Free, Disktective, DiskSavvy, JDiskReport and many other programs are available on the Internet to analyze the exact disk space.

After scanning your system, all these programs show you exactly which folders, file types, and files are using the most space and you can plan their removal accordingly. Before pressing the delete key, ensure that you only delete personal data files and don’t delete any important system files that may lead to improper functioning of your PC. If you observe that a folder under ‘Program Files’ is occupying large space, then you can easily uninstall that program to free up some extra space on your drive.

2. Clean temporary files

For cleaning temporary files, you can use the Windows’ Disk Cleanup tool, but be informed that it isn’t capable of deleting temporary files that are used by other programs. For instance, the disk cleanup tool from Windows will not clear Firefox or Chrome browser caches, which may occupy a few gigabytes of hard disk space. Although, the browser cache uses disk space to save your accessing time while visiting the website again in future, but the huge hard disk space occupied by it may result in slow loading of web pages.

You can also try CCleaner for removing temporary and junk files. This program is efficient in cleaning junk files from various third-party programs and will also clean up Windows files that Windows Disk Cleanup tool won’t touch. Cleaning all the temporary files will not only make your PC run at a faster speed but will also free up some extra disk space for essential software/program install.

3. Uninstall heavy applications

Uninstalling heavy application and programs will free up some space on your disk drive, but ensure that you only uninstall the program which you don’t need very often. Some of the programs may use very little space so you can probably allow them to remain active on your disk. You can easily view the amount of space used by each program installed on your computer by clicking the ‘Size’ column, under the ‘Programs and Features’ in the Control Panel.

In case, you’re not able to view this column, click on the ‘Options’ button at the top right corner of the list and select the ‘Details’ view. It’s not necessary that the detailed view will always display accurate results as some of the programs may use a lot of space but may not list themselves in the size column.

4. Run disk cleanup

Windows incorporates a built-in cleanup tool, which efficiently deletes temporary files, folders and other unimportant data. In order to access the same, right-click on the ‘Hard Drives’ icon in the ‘My Computer’ window and select the ‘Properties’ option from drop-down menu. Now, click on the ‘Disk Cleanup’ button mentioned in the disk properties window and make the decision about what programs you actually want to delete.

Once the files are selected that you want to delete, you have to click on the ‘OK’ button. The list of files that appears in front of you will comprise of the temporary files, files in your recycle bin, log files, and other unimportant files. You can also clean up system files simply by clicking on the ‘Clean up system files’ button.

5. Erase Windows Update uninstall files

A wonderful feature of Windows is that it allows you to uninstall the patches of software that you install from Windows Update. This feature is very helpful when an update is causing a serious problem and you want to uninstall an update. You may not know but these files are probably occupying an unnecessary space and wasting the valuable space on your hard drive.

This update allows you to erase Windows Update files from the Windows Disk Cleanup tool. To do the same, open ‘Disk Cleanup’ wizard and click on the ‘Clean up system files’ button. Ensure that you check the ‘Windows Update Cleanup’ option, before clicking the ‘OK’ button.

The above mentioned tips will help you free up some extra space on your hard disk drive. Removing the recovery partition, disabling the hibernation files, shrinking the paging files and configuring system restore are some of the other effective measures that can be taken to free up some disk space. Finding and deleting duplicate files and folders, minimizing the amount of space used for system restore and using efficient disk cleanup utilities can also assist you in increasing the productivity and speed of the hard disk drive. So if you have an age old PC, then you must try these tips to ensure that your device always enjoys the sufficient free space for installing new and more productive programs.

About the Author: Brooke M. Perry is an ardent technician associated with Qresolve online laptop support with wide experience of fixing issues with PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. With a strong track record of devising effective ways of remote pc support and system security, she has so far helped thousands of users across the globe. Her writings on tech issues are the reflection of her in-depth interest and command she carries as a remote pc repair technician. Her blogs and articles have been rated high for their lucid style and easy to understand language.

About the Author

Brooke M. Perry is an ardent technician associated with Qresolve computer security, with wide experience of fixing issues with PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

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Author: Brook Perry

Brook Perry

United States

Member since: Oct 25, 2013
Published articles: 71

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