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LONG TERM - How to free up space on your hard drive

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#1 Ztruker


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Posted 23 June 2009 - 06:10 PM

This document is a follow-on to How to clean up your hard drive to increase freeh space. It addresses long term reduction of space utilization on your hard drive.

Besides running the tools described in the above tip on a regular basis, there are other things you can do to maintain more free space on your hard drive.

I'll address 3 areas that can help over time.
  • Reduce space allocated to System Restore
  • Reduce space allocated to Recycle Bin
  • Identify files occupying space on your hard drive using Sequoia View
The down side to reducing System Restore space is that you will not be able to go back as far in time if you need to do a System Restore.
This can also be looked at as a positive thing since going back too far may cause more problems than it fixes.

To reduce the space allocated for System Restore, do the following:
  • Open Control Panel
  • Open System
  • Click on the System Restore tab
  • Select your boot drive and click the Settings button
  • Move the slider under Disk space to use to the left to reduce the amount from the default of 12% down to somewhere around 1GB or 2GB. A restore point uses less than 100MB. Having restore points more than a week or two old is not very useful as reverting to those older dates may cause more harm than good.
  • Click OK then OK
To reduce the space allocated for the Recycle Bin, do the following:
  • Right click on the Recycle Bin and select Properties
  • Move the slider to the left to reduce it from the default 12% which is way to much, down to some reasonable value, like 2% or 3%. For very large drives, 1% is sufficient. The only draw back to doing this is that very large files, those larger than the size of the Recycle Bin, will be permanently deleted and will not end up in the Recycle Bin.
  • Click Apply then OK
To use Sequoia View to identify what files are occupying space on your hard drive, do the following:

Download and install Sequoia View

Before you use it for the first time, you should make all files and extensions visible. To do this:
  • Open Control Panel then Folder Options
  • Click on the View Tab
  • Select Show hidden files and folders
  • Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types
  • Uncheck Hide protected operating system files [Recommended]
The first time you start SequoiaView, click on View then Color and check Enable color scheme. Next, click on View then Options and check Show File/Directory size. Lastly, click on the down arrow to the right of the Drive\Folder selection area and pick the root of the drive (normally this will be C:).This makes the displayed data easier to read and understand as well as showing you all the data on the drive.

There is a lot of information provided by the visual map (called a cushion treemap) so I recommend making the window full screen.

Moving the mouse pointer over areas of the picture will tell you how big the file is and where it's located. You can right click on any of them and select Explore to open Windows Explorer for that file.

You will immediately notice that pagefile.sys occupies a lot of space, and that's as it should be. It is normally set to 1.5 times the amount of installed RAM in your computer, so if you have 1GB of RAM, then the pagefiles.sys will be 1.5GB.

You may also notice a hiberfil.sys taking up a lot of room. This is the file XP uses to write all the information currently in memory (RAM) to the hard drive when your system enters Hibernation. This is often used by Laptop computers, but not normally by Desktop computers since they are not designed to support hibernation. You can eliminate this file by disabling Hibernation as follows:
  • Open Control Panel and click on Display
  • Click on the Screen Saver tab
  • Click on the Power button under Monitor Power
  • Click on the Hibernate tab
  • Uncheck Enable Hibernation.
  • Click Apply then OK twice to close the Display Properties window
If you disable Hibernate then use the Screen Saver and Power settings of Desktop Properties to turn off your display and shut down your hard drive after a set time of inactivity. This will reduce power consumption and reduce wear and tear on your display and hard drive, without utilizing the space required to hibernate. By disabling hibernation your computer will no longer save the contents of RAM after a set amount of time and anything you were working on but had not saved will be lost if there is a power failure while you are away, so you should save, and save often when working on something important.

Edited by Ztruker, 03 December 2010 - 08:25 PM.


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