Windows 7 - Low disc space

Asked By Rhia on 15-Apr-08 06:35 AM
Hi everyone,

I've got a really dumb I know nothing about computers question, so please be
I keep getting low disc space on my c drive and do the clean up and delete
some things but it's an ongoing problem that gets on my nerves.  Is there
anyway to buy a plug in or something to give me more harddrive space? so I
don't keep running out of space.

Thanks for any answers

Paul replied on 15-Apr-08 07:07 AM
1) Buy a larger disk

2) Disable utilities that squirrel away large amounts of disk
space for their own reasons. For various reasons, the space
used may not be apparent and accountable easily.

3) Enable drive level compression.

My guess would be, that some utility is using space up, as
fast as you free it. It is better to figure out what is
mis-configured on your system, than to find better ways
to "feed" the bad habits of such a program. For example, if
you enabled drive level compression, a couple days from now
you'll be faced with the same "shortage".

Rhia replied on 15-Apr-08 07:28 AM
Thanks Paul,

that's helpful, but what kind of applications to take up a lot of memory
usually, or how could I find out what programme is taking up the space?

and when you say buy a larger disc would that be an external one or can you
get them put into your laptop?

Don Phillipson replied on 15-Apr-08 07:41 AM
Answers can be meaningful only when we know actual
numbers, e.g. total capacity of your laptop drive and the
currently usual amount of free space.


Your first post did not specify your PC is a laptop (i.e. adding
another hard drive is not a feasible task to do yourself.)   But
external USB drives work with laptops the same as with desktops.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Lil' Dave replied on 15-Apr-08 08:28 AM
The answer is a larger hard drive, period.  When you get such low space
warnings, you will again later after you clean it up.  Drive compression is
not suggested here, ever.

Since you divulged you have a laptop, you need a 2.5" hard drive
replacement.  Hopefully, the onboard bios will recognize its full capacity.

the context of hard drives.
Paul replied on 15-Apr-08 08:40 AM
You'll have to look at the software on the machine. I'm not
going to try to guess at all the things that are badly behaved.

System Restore uses space, but as far as I know, there is a
setting that caps how much space will be used to hold
that kind of info.

All I can say, is I've read posts before, where the poster
is frantic to free up space, and as quickly as it is freed,
or other "protect the user from themselves" software, that
keeps spare copies of stuff. (It might not even be obvious,
when you open Task Manager with control-alt-delete, as to what
that software might be. For example, you might have installed
a "software suite" with many component parts, and one of those
innocent looking components is the culprit.)

If you were gradually using the space yourself, your efforts
to clean up would have a more "linear" effect. You'd clean up,
have a small amount of space, and find that gradually, over
a number of days, you depleted it.

But in the case of misbehaved or mis-configured utilities,
you get hardly any relief after a cleanup. The next day,
the computer is whining again, that it is out of space.
In some cases, it'll be out of space, right after a

Which is why I don't recommend turning on drive level
compression. All that is going to do, is leave you in
a worse mess than before.

You can get a larger drive put in the laptop, but beware
that there are a lot of cretins working in the industry.
Before taking a computer *anywhere* for service, purchase
an external drive, and *back up* your email database files
and any data files you value. It is quite popular, if a
dude was going to install a larger hard drive for you,
to reinstall Windows and blow away all your hard work.

Also, with a laptop/notebook, *make sure* you've prepared
your recovery or restore CDs. Or arranged to order them from
the laptop manufacturer. Don't take the laptop anywhere
for service, unless you have that set of CDs or DVDs. Many
people forget to prepare the recovery CD/DVDs when they
take delivery of the laptop. Some companies make it easy
to order replacement disks, while other laptop companies
might as well be located on the Moon, for all the service
they may provide you.

So -

1) Backups first. Since bad things happen, especially with
retail external drives, I'd actually want two external drives
with my valuable files on them. I have heard of cases where
a set of backup files is lost, because the external drive
fails a few days after it is delivered to your door.
2) Recovery discs in hand.
3) Then consider your options...

Gerry replied on 15-Apr-08 12:52 PM

The default allocation to System Restore is 12% on your C partition
which is over generous. I would reduce it to 700 mb. Right click your My
Computer icon on the Desktop and select System Restore. Place the cursor
on your C drive select Settings but this time find the slider and drag
it to the left until it reads 700 mb and exit. When you get to the
Settings screen click on Apply and OK and exit.

Another default setting which could be wasteful is that for temporary
internet files, especially if you do not store offline copies on disk.
The default allocation is 3% of drive. Depending on your attitude to
offline copies you could reduce this to 1% or 2%. In Internet Explorer
select Tools, Internet Options, General, Temporary Internet Files,
Settings to make the change. At the same time look at the number of days
history is held.

The default allocation for the Recycle Bin is 10 % of drive. Change to
5%, which should be sufficient. In Windows Explorer place the cursor
on your Recycle Bin, right click and select Properties, Global and
move the slider from 10% to 5%. However, try to avoid letting it get
too full as if it is full and you delete a file by mistake it will
bypass the Recycle Bin and be gone for ever.

Select Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk CleanUp to
Empty your Recycle Bin and Remove Temporary Internet Files. Also
select Start, All Programs, accessories, System Tools, Disk CleanUp,
More Options, System Restore and remove all but the latest System
Restore point. Run Disk Defragmenter.

You will have a Local Settings folder for each User Profile. As others
have said you will have a Temporary Internet Folder as well as the
others mentioned. You can use Disk CleanUp to remove unwanted files.
This should be part of your routine housekeeping procedures.

If your drive is formatted as NTFS another potential gain arises with
your operating system on  your C drive. In the Windows Directory of
your C partition you will have some Uninstall folders in your Windows
folder  typically: $NtServicePackUninstall$ and $NtUninstallKB282010$
etc. These files may be compressed or not compressed. If compressed
the text of the folder name appears in blue characters. If not
compressed you can compress them. Right click on each folder and
select Properties, General, Advanced and check the box before Compress
contents to save Disk Space. On the General Tab you can see the amount
gained by  deducting the size on disk from the size. Folder
compression is only an option on a NTFS formatted drive / partition.


Hope  this helps.

Stourport, England
Enquire, plan and execute