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Clean Up Hard Disk Space in Windows 7

Mar 28

Written by:
Wed, 28 Mar 2012 21:18:02 GMT  RssIcon

Clean Up Disk Space in Windows 7

With the expansion of the Internet - the ability download and generate data has become easier than ever. There are many useful and memory hungry applications some of which are built right into Windows. Follow the easy instructions in this Free I.T Guide and claim back your hard drive space...

Step 1: Finding Out What's Using The Most Space

First head over to our downloads section of the site here - and download Space Sniffer - this is a very easy to use app that takes very little space and does not need to be installed to use it.

Once you have Space Sniffer downloaded - unzip the file by highlighting it with a single Left Click and Right Clicking over it with the cursor to reveal the pop-up menu and then select 'Extract All...'

 

Launch the application from the extracted folder by double Left Clicking the yellow icon as shown above. Once Open select your (C:) drive or any other drive you wish to scan and Left Click 'Start' as shown below:

The scanning process takes anything from a few seconds to a few minutes - depending on the size and number of data files it has to scan through.

Once the scan is complete, Space Sniffer allows you to filter the analysed data in various ways - such as by file type and file age to name a few.

To filter by temporary files type :attr:temp in the filter bar as shown below:

To filter by file age - for instance any file that has not been modified in 1 year or over type >1year or for 2 years type >2year.

You can find more ways to filter in the Space Sniffer Manual that can be found in the folder you extracted after downloading the program.

You will notice that there are 2 rather large files - pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys - the combined total is 8.2GB in our example - this will vary from system to system.

PageFile.sys is used by Windows as a holding place for programs that are either too large to be run exclusively in RAM memory or are not read/write intensive and can be run from the allocated PageFile.sys area on your hard drive - many of Windows functions reside here and should your Computer crash it allows access to various diagnostic data. You can disable or reduce the PageFile.sys file though microsoft recommend leaving it as is.

Hiberfil.sys is the allocated area on your hard drive that is used to put your computer into a powered down Hibernation Mode - allowing you to save energy while keeping programs open. If you do not rely on this feature then you can disable it completely as described in Step 2 below.

Step 2: Removing or Resizing large files to gain disk space.

The second step to take is to remove all files that you no longer use or needed. Space Sniffer makes it very easy to pin point all the biggest areas of disk useage on your computer.

2.1: Disable Hibernate in Windows 7

A: Open an elevated Command Prompt by Clicking Start and typing CMD in the search box and press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER.

B: In the elevated command prompt, type powercfg -h off and press Enter as shown below:

You must Restart Windows for this to take effect.

To enable Windows Hibernate at a later date open an elevated Command Prompt by following Step 2.1 A and type the command powercfg -h on and press Enter.

Step 3: Disk Clean & Windows Restore Points

Installing programs, updates and/or drivers can prompt Windows to create additional System Restore Points. These restore points can eventually begin to take up a lot of hard disk space. You can use the built in Windows Disk Clean Up Utility to remove unwanted old restore points, keep in mind that if you decide to do this - then you won’t be able to use those restore points should anything go wrong in the future (it will keep the most recent restore points).

3.1: Left Click the Start button and type disk clean into the search box, then press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER to run it in an elevated mode as shown below:

  Simply Click 'OK' as C: is the default Windows System Drive.

After Windows Analyses your Computer you will be given multiple options to free up space as shown below:

Tick all the boxes (be aware that this will empty anything in the Recycle bin). Next click the More Options Tab as shown below:

 

Under the 'System Restore and Shadow Copies' section click Clean Up... to delete old System Restore Files and Shadow Copies (shadow copies are snapshot images of your files).

After Clicking 'Delete' above - you'll be taken back to the previous Window - simply click 'OK' to begin removing the other temporary files you selected on the Disk Cleanup tab:

  You will be prompted before the deletion begins - then you will see the progress bar as Windows Systematically removes the unwanted temporary files:

On our computer in the example above - we were able to free up 8.48GB of hard disk space! Let us know how much space you were able to regain through this tutorial.

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