How to Regain Hard Drive Space

Running low on disk space? There are a few steps that you can follow to help free up your hard drive.


  1. Image titled Regain Hard Drive Space Step 1
    Uninstall unused programs.
    • Go to START -> Settings -> Control Panel. Select Add/Remove Programs.
    • Here, you can select from a list of installed programs, sortable by size and previous date used. Remove any programs that you have not run for a long period of time. Make sure you know which files are which, because some files that have not been run for a long time are the actual files your OS needs to run.
  2. Image titled Regain Hard Drive Space Step 2
    Remove unused Windows Components.
    • Go to START -> Settings -> Control Panel. Select Add/Remove Programs. On the left, click the Add/Remove Windows Components button.
    • A new window should appear. Uncheck any components that you do not use. For example, if you do not use Outlook to check your e-mail, then uncheck the appropriate box.
  3. Image titled Regain Hard Drive Space Step 3
    Run Disk Cleanup.
    • Go to START -> Run. Enter cleanmgr into the text box and hit enter to load Disk Cleanup.
    • Select your hard drive [default C:]. Select any of the options that are available, and click OK to delete these files safely [with the exception of Compress Files, which does not actually delete your files, but reduces the amount of space that the files use up].
  4. Image titled Regain Hard Drive Space Step 4
    Reduce the size of your Recycle Bin.
    • Right click on the Recycle Bin icon on the Windows Desktop. Click on Properties.
    • Left click on Global. You should see a slider that is set to 10%. Using the mouse, slide the pointer to 1-2%. This will reduce the amount of space that your hard drive reserves for the Recycle Bin.
    • Click OK. This space will be recovered the next time that you defragment your hard drive.


  • A very good program to use is CCleaner.
  • Also consider reviewing 3rd party utilities, such as Lenovo Think vintage Rescue and Recovery. Start -> Programs -> ThinkVantage -> Rescue and Recovery. Review the number of backups that are on the system, and delete any, as appropriate.
  • Some third-party programs can help to clear up your computer and help make it faster, such as Tuneup Utilities 2006 and 7-zip.
  • Disable hibernate and delete the file that stores the hibernation data. After you have disabled it in the control panel, delete the file hiberfil.sys in the root directory. This file is as large as your system memory, so if you have 2 GB of memory, you will recover 2 GB of space!
  • Be cautious when using the "Compress Files" feature in Disk Cleanup. While the program will only compress files that have not been accessed in a long time, these files will take longer to load the next time that they are loaded. In addition, if you have many unused files on your hard drive, it may take a considerable amount of time to compress all of these files.
  • Defragment your computer after regaining a substantial amount of hard drive space. This will help to keep your free space clusters in one area of your hard drive, making it easily accessible, thus reducing loading time.


  • Be careful not to delete any important system files, as this will render your computer unable to function.
  • Similarly, be certain that the programs that you are uninstalling are not completely essential, such as device drivers and the like.

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Categories: System Maintenance and Repair