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How to Recover Hard Disk Space from Computer Drives Other Than OS Drive


C drive is usually the first drive of a computer hard disk that contains operating system files. If you buy a brand new laptop, it comes with a single disk volume (if second volume is there, it contains system recovery files). You can create more partitions to facilitate yourself, because it is generally a good idea to keep operating system files in one disk partition and the rest of your data in other partitions. To recover space from drive (C) that contains operating system files, we have to take extra steps and look into few things, but to clear space from all other partitions, steps are straight forward.

Disk Cleanup

Reduce the number of unnecessary files on your hard disk to free up disk space and help your computer run faster, by using Disk Cleanup utility. It removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need.

In Start, or run command (Windows+R), type cleanmgr and hit enter. Disk Cleanup utility will be opened. Select the disk drive to clean up, select areas to clean and run the cleanup process. It will recover some space.

Empty ‘System Volume Information’ Folder

Every disk drive has this system protected hidden folder. You will have to unhide it and take control over it as an administrator to view/edit/delete its contents. To unhide it, have a look at the Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives from Windows. Next you may want to take its ownership because this is a system folder used only by the operating system. You will have to edit its permissions, add your user and allow full permissions for you to delete its contents.

Empty ‘$RECYCLE.BIN’ Folder

This is also a system folder, present in every hard disk drive but hidden. Unhide system protected files and folders to view it. Take its ownership by adding your user for it and delete its contents to clear some space.

Here is how to take ownership of files and folders in Windows.

Customize or Disable Paging File

Paging file is a special file that acts like the virtual memory for system. It is disk storage that’s used to supplement the actual memory (RAM) in your PC. Every disk drive can have page file. For top PC performance it is recommended to turn on paging file and let the system decide about the size of paging file. Because of this file, minimized programs are written in the paging file instead of physical memory of system. In the presence of paging file, more physical memory is made available for active system processes.

To recover space from a disk drive, disable paging file if it has it.

virtual memory - windows

For Windows 7 and 8

Go to control panel -> System -> Advanced System Settings -> Advanced -> Performance -> Settings -> Advanced -> Virtual Memory -> Change.

For Windows XP

Go to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced -> Performance -> Settings -> Virtual Memory -> Change.

Click at the desired disk drive and select ‘no paging file’. To minimize the effect of this change, make sure you have used paging file for other disk drives or at least for a single drive. Some users use a separate disk drive for just paging file and few others use a separate hard disk for paging file.

Customize or Disable Restore Points

If your computer operating system becomes unstable, you can restore it to a previously saved state.

system restore - windows

Operating system creates restore points, to remember previous states of PC. You can turn that feature off (not recommended) or better customize the disk space usage for restore points. New restore points fills up space for old restore points. Also you can press delete button to delete current restore points to save some hard disk space.

To customize it;

For Windows 7 and 8

Go to control panel -> System -> Advanced System Settings -> System Protection -> Configure.

For Windows XP

Go to Control Panel -> System -> System Restore -> Settings.

Disk Defragmentation

Disk defragmentation, not only merges fragmented files on computer hard disk to improve PC performance but it also clears out some space from disk
drives and rearranges files in a proper order.

To defragment a drive, right click on that drive from ‘my computer’, click at ‘properties’. Go to to tools and click ‘Defragment Now’ button.

Under Current status, select the disk you want to defragment. To determine if the disk needs to be defragmented or not, click Analyze disk. Once Windows is finished analyzing the disk, you can check the percentage of fragmentation on the disk in the Last Run column. If the number is above 10% fragmented, you should defragment the disk.

Click Defragment disk. Disk Defragmenter might take from several minutes to a few hours to finish, depending on the size and degree of fragmentation of your hard disk. You can still use your computer during the defragmentation process but it is best to leave it alone.

Administrator permission is required If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

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