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Windows Drive Space Issues and Free Solutions

Windows Drive Space Issues and Free Solutions

hard drive space maintenance

By monitoring your computer hard drive usage carefully you can avoid system crashes. Other advantages can include a longer period between hardware upgrades. See which sections apply for your computing environment. This leads to more efficient use of your computer resources and less unplanned downtime.

Computer Space Issues

1. Computer is slowly filling drive space up over time by itself

2. C drive partition is nearly full which contains the operating system

3. Your files are now close to filling your existing hard drive with large files such as video, music, photos, databases etc.

 

Computer Symptoms

1. Computer is running slowly

2. Computer is giving warning messages

3. Computer has stopped

 

Free Solutions

Recycle Bin tasks

1. Right click the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop and select Empty Recycle Bin

2. Right click the Recycle Bin and select Properties. Examine and perhaps lower the space allocated to the Recycle Bin for each drive letter.

3. If space is really tight the select the Global Option check box for Do not move files to the Recycle Bin.

 

Use Windows Disk Clean Up Tool

1. Use Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Disk Clean Up

2. Select the drive you want analysed which is usually C drive

3. Wait for analysis to complete which could take 10 minutes

4. Selecting temporary files for deletion can quickly save you some space. Selecting to compress old files can save a lot of space but may slow your computer down if you need to access the files again.

 

Backup and move files off hard drives

1. Use Start - Search - Advanced Options to look for your old files by date ranges. Candidates for backup include Internet Download files, old photos, old video ,old documents etc.

2. Back them up to DVD ; tape ; external hard drive ; Network attached storage or Online storage options

3. Delete files on the hard drive

 

Compress old files that do not get used often

1. Use Start - Search - Advanced Options to look for your old files by date ranges. Also consider looking for large files.

2. Right click files individually or as a group and select Send To - Compressed Folder

3. Delete original files on the hard drive

 

Examine System Restore parameters

1. Use Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - System Restore

2. Select System Restore Settings

3. Under the System Restore Tab click on Available Drive usually (C drive) then click the Settings... button

4. Examine how much space is allocated for System Restore points. Consider lower the allocation if required. Click Cancel button to come out without making changes.

 

Adjust Internet Temporary Files Storage

1. Use Start - Control Panel - Internet Options.

2. Select the General Tab, look for Browsing History section and click on the Settings button.

3. Look and the Disk Space to Use value. Consider lowering this value if space is tight. Click OK to change value or cancel to exit section.

4. Another button is Delete which will delete all Temporary Internet files to save some space immediately.

 

Search for Regular log type files

1. Use Start - Search - Advanced Options to look for files modified in the last month.

2. Try to see if there are any applications leaving regular log type file. Research any file that seems to fit the category. Can the files be compressed to save space initially? Find out if these files can be deleted after a period of time e.g. 90 days.

3. Have a reminder to look at these types of files every week or month for possible clean up.

 

Search for Regular backup type files

1. Does your computer run a database program like SQL 2005? Do you know where every backup is stored? Can backups be stored elsewhere to balance storage requirements?

2. Use Start - Search - Advanced Options to look for files modified in the last month.

3. Try to see if there are any applications leaving regular large type files (e.g. .bak or .bkf). Research any file that seems to fit the category. Can a backup be saved on a remote computer? Database backups can become larger and larger until the computer crashes so monitor this type of activity.

 

Application Locations

1. Look at your drive/Program Files directories. Note the size of the folder and sub folders of applications.

2. Can some of the applications be un-installed?

3. Otherwise, can some of the applications be reinstalled on other drives with more space?

 

Email or Outlook File Location

1. Emails can build large files over time. Confirm where you emails are held at a file level.

2. For Outlook, select Tools - Options - Mail Setup - Data Files.

3. Where is the file kept? Could it be moved to another drive with more space?

4. Other alternatives to reduce email size are to select Tool - Mailbox Cleanup. From there you can permanently delete Deleted Folder email, find large emails and delete them and initiate archive of old emails.

5. Create a email Archive.pst data file on another drive. Archive email older than e.g. 6 months to the archive file.

Software Update Services

1. Where do your Windows updates get stored? Does your server support multiple operating systems update distribution? Look for a folder named SUS on a server. How big is it? Is it time to move it to another drive? Allocate up to 30 GB of storage for this program store of updates.

2. Also check directory C:\InetPub\wwwroot for space used by the web server portion of the SUS application.

3. Check Start - All Programs - Administrative Tools - Internet Information Server. Check for the location of virtual directories used by SUS. Examine the real location of the directories.

 

Disk Defragmenter

1. Once you have cleaned up some space on your hard drives then a run a Disk Defragmenter is suggested to improve drive performance.

2. Use Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Disk Defragmenter

3. Select a drive letter usually C and the choose Analyse button or Defragment button.

4. Wait for the process to complete. This can be hours.

 

Resources Links

Hard drive file and folder size analysis process
External Computer Storage
Windows 2003 Server Review
Whole Site Map