Feb 17, 2011
Slow Computer Fix

How to Free Hard Drive Space

When your computer gets low on hard drive space it will make your PC slow. If you have ever wondered how to free hard drive space I am going to show you the best way to go about freeing up disk space to make your computer faster.

Turbo Your PC

Step 1) Find out how much Hard Drive Space you have.

It’s pretty simple to find out how much Hard Drive Space you have available on your computer. Follow along and we’ll find out how much you have on your computer.

A. Click Start or the Orb in the bottom left of the screen

Click Start

Click Start

B.      A menu will come up. This is called the Start Menu. You’ll notice that there are two columns, one on the left, one on the right. Near the middle of the column on the right you should see either “Computer” or “My Computer” that’s the one you want to click on.

Start Menu

Start Menu

C.     Where it says Hard Drives, you should see a little picture with a graph and numbers underneath it.

Hard Disk Drives

Hard Disk Drives Status

Generally, red means that the drive is nearly full and green means there is a lot of free space which is better. You can see I have 1.70 GB of free space out of 148 GB of total Hard Drive space. I actually should free up some space. The correct amount of space to have free is ideally 10-15% of the total available hard drive space to ensure a speedy system and that everything works properly. Now it’s ok to go below this minimum (as I have here) but if you are experiencing any kind of computer problem it’s important to get back to the recommended levels as a MINIMUM. My free cleanup for computer process will clear up those issues very quickly.

Step 2) Free Up Disk Space

A.     Delete files you know that you don’t need. I usually start off by deleting files that I know that I will no longer need on my computer. I personally download and test a lot of software from the internet. A good place to start deleting files is the ‘Downloads’ folder on your computer. This is the folder where everything you download is saved by default. The easiest way to find it is to go to the ‘Computer’ page that we went to before (you may still even have this open). It’s not even a hop, skip, or a jump away!

Downloads Folder Location

Downloads Folder Location

After you’ve clicked to the Downloads folder, go through and delete any and every file that you know you do not need. To delete a file just click on on with the left mouse button to select it (you will be able to tell it’s selected because it will be highlighted) then click the right mouse button and in the menu choose delete (or just press the delete key on your keyboard). Note: Deleted files aren’t usually completely deleted just yet. They are sent to the Recycle Bin first. More on that in a bit.

After you’ve gone through the Downloads folder, move on to your Library folders. I go through those in this order because usually the file sizes go from bigger to smaller this way: Videos Folder, Music Folder, Pictures Folder, and Documents Folder. Happy deleting!

Libraries Folder Order

Order to go through Library Folders

The amount of Hard Drive space that you will get back depends on how many files you delete and how big those files are. I recommend you use my my free cleanup for computer process by going through the files in the order above. When you clear files from your hard drive by deleting them they go to the Recycle bin. So go ahead and clear out your Recycle Bin which permanently deletes the pending deleted files. The Recycle Bin can be found on your desktop. Right click it and choose Empty Recycle Bin to permanently delete all those files.

Recycle Bin Menu

Recycle Bin Menu

Once you’ve done that, go back to your Computer screen that we pulled up earlier and see how much free space you have now that you have freed up disk space. If you still feel like you need more disk space come along with me to the next step!

B.     Free Even More Hard Drive Space using the Disk Cleanup Tool

The Disk Cleanup tool is a utility program that comes with Windows that helps identify and delete files that you can safely get rid of. The main advantages of using the Disk Cleanup Tool are that it will take you step by step through the deletion process and you often will come across files that are more or less Hidden, sneakily taking up space on your Hard Drive.

There are a couple of ways to access the disc cleanup tool. The main way is to click the following:

Start> All Programs> Accessories> System Tools> Disk Cleanup

Or you can click Start and start typing “disk cleanup” and it should pop up in the list near the top

Start Menu Disk Cleanup

Start Menu Disk Cleanup

Once you click on the Disk Cleanup tool, it will start figuring out files that can be deleted

Disk Cleanup Wizard Calculation

Disk Cleanup Wizard Calculation

When it’s done, it will look something like this:

Disk Cleanup Selection Wizard

Disk Cleanup Selection Wizard

All you have to do now is click each checkmark box that you want it to delete the files for and then choose Clean up system files. That’s it! Now go look and see how much more Hard Drive space you’ve got! After running I recommend restarting your computer and then defragging your Hard Drive as deleting a lot of files can leave your hard drive fragmented and thus your computer slower.

4 Comments

  • [...] 1) Low Hard Drive Space Your computer’s hard drive is the place where all of your computer’s files are permanently stored until they are used or deleted by either you or programs running on your computer. There is only so much space available on your Hard Drive so when it gets close to being full it will cause your computer to be slow. Think of your computer as a house. Think of the stuff in the house as files. Now imagine that the house is slam full of stuff. Now imagine that you had to bring one thing in the house from one room to the other. You would need to maneuver through all that stuff and it would take a long time, if you could even get through the tight squeezes at all. When your computer’s hard drive is full it’s the same way for all the files on it. That is why a full hard drive will make your computer slow down. How to fix low hard drive space [...]

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  • [...] comes up. For a more in depth look at going through and deleting files, see my article on how to free space on hard drive. Now we’ll get rid of some of the harder to get to system files. Lucky for you Windows has a [...]

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