Recovery of space on disk C: in an extreme way

Disk space
One of the problems that afflict owners of computers with a not very large SSD or with an old hard drive installed is running out of available space: in the worst cases, we will see the message “Insufficient space on disk C:”, which clearly indicates the end of space and the inability to install new programs or visit new web pages (since there is no more space for the system cache).If you have also seen this error window, you have come to the right guide: in fact, below we will show you all the tricks that can be applied to save space on disk C: in an extreme way and quickly recover the space occupied unnecessarily by programs, apps or files that accumulate on the disk and are not deleted regularly (which is recommended to do at least once a month).

READ ALSO -> When to use NTFS compression on disk and folders

Index

Save space on Windows 10

On Windows 10 we can free up disk space automatically by taking advantage of a feature little known to the general public. To activate the automatic cleaning of Windows 10 we open the Start menu at the bottom left, we open the app Settings, let’s open the menu System, let’s get to the menu Archiving and activate the switch at the top, enabling the Memory sensor on our PC.
Windows sensor

By activating the sensor, the system will be able to signal in advance the excessive filling of the disk memory or disks on the computer and will perform maintenance, so as to delete unnecessary files, emptying the Windows recycle bin when necessary or the system files by now obsolete (for example updates). To learn more about the use of this feature, we can read our guide Keep free space in Windows 10 by activating “Memory Sensor”.

READ ALSO: Free up disk space on your Windows PC in 10 ways

Other tricks to save space on Windows

To gain more space on the main disk (be it SSD or an old mechanical disk) just follow the tips listed below:

  • Limit the size of the WinSxS folder in Windows: this folder is located in C: / Windows and contains many unnecessary files such as previous versions of dll files and service pack installation files; its size can become several GB taking up a lot of space unnecessarily or almost. In another article, it is explained how to check how much space you can recover from the WinSxS folder.
  • Disable Windows hibernation: When you hibernate the system, the contents of its RAM memory are saved on the hard disk. This allows you to save the system state without any power consumption – so the next time you start your computer, you can go back to where you left off; Windows saves the RAM contents in the file C:hiberfil.sys. To save disk space, we disable hibernation altogether: to proceed you need to open a command prompt window (by going to the Start menu -> Run or Search -> type cmd) and typing the command powercfg /hibernate off to disable hibernating computer sleep. To reactivate it, the command is powercfg /hibernate on.
  • Disable System Restore: if we use an external backup system or a dedicated backup program we can also disable system restore by taking us to the path Control Panel -> System -> Advanced Settings -> Security -> Configure and disable system protection. In case of hard-to-resolve errors, without system restore, you will not be able to “rollback” before the error occurs.
  • Restrict or disable the paging file: the paging file is useful as additional RAM, but it is not as fast as the latter so we can also disable it or limit its amount if we have at least 8 GB of RAM. To proceed with the modification of the paging file, simply read our guide Virtual memory: setting up the paging file, Windows pagefile.sys.
  • Limit the use of the trash can: if the recycle bin is too big we will take up a lot of space when it is not emptied regularly (even several GB) To recover this space and limit the use we can change the size of the basket by right-clicking on the basket, clicking on Property and set the space to 5GB.
  • Find and delete duplicate files: if we have two very large duplicate files (for example two ISOs) we will quickly fill the internal memory. To find the largest duplicate files, please read our guide Search and find duplicate or duplicate files on your pc.
  • Move the program folders: if we have two disks or two partitions we can move program folders from one disk to another or you can move user and system folders, so as to recover a lot of space on the main disk where Windows is present.
  • Delete update folders: to get a lot of space we delete all the files in C: WINDOWSSoftwareDistribution. This folder will fill up again regularly as updates are automatic on Windows 10; to slow down updates, please read our guide How to block Windows 10 updates and disable Windows Update.
  • Activate the RAM Disk: by activating the RAM-DISK that is a virtual disk we will occupy a part of the RAM memory as if it were a very fast additional disk, but like anything contained in RAM the files are not written to any disk and when the PC is turned off they will be lost. To do this, you need to install SoftPerfect RamDisk, run it and create a RAM disk (with a different letter from the disks already installed); once the RAM Disk has been created, press the right button on This PC -> Properties -> Advanced -> Environment Variables and set up the folders TEMP e TMP inside the RAM Disk.
  • Clean up the programs folder: Uninstalled programs leave their folders empty in the reserved sections of Windows. To clean up, just read our guide on how Clean up the Windows Installer folder, so as to eliminate the patches and installation files of orphaned and now useless programs.

By following these steps carefully we will be able to save space on disk C: in an extreme way so that you can also use a small SSD or an old mechanical disk of less than 1 TB.

Conclusions

With the methods and tricks seen above, we will be able to save a lot of disk space and use Windows even on systems that have small SSDs (256GB or less), on convertible tablets (where there is often an internal 64GB Flash memory) or on computers older laptops with mechanical drives less than 500GB.

Some large files are not seen as unused or useless with the tools seen in this post and must be found and deleted manually. To understand which files to delete we can read our guide on the best programs to see graphically the use of disk space in order to locate the largest files and their path between folders.
For a check on the hard disk and performance, we can refer to our guide Hard disk check and hard disk performance, space, and performance measurements.

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