Five Ways to Free Up Hard Drive Space in Windows
Hard drive space doesn’t exactly grow on trees. When you turn on your brand new computer for the first time, you may be surprised by the hundreds (if not thousands) of gigabytes of available space. However, as you start to download media like movies and music, install programs and save your personal files, that space will disappear quickly. There are a few key ways that you can free up hard drive space without getting rid of anything important and with very little effort.
Upload important files to the Internet
Many free services, like Google’s Gmail or Dropbox, offer several gigabytes of free storage space to all users. If you have a collection of files or documents that you need to keep but don’t access them with any kind of regularity, upload them to one of these services and delete them from your hard drive. Not only do you free up hard drive space, but the files also become accessible to any computer that has an Internet connection anywhere in the world.
Uninstall programs you don’t use
Most computers come with a lot of software pre-installed when you first buy them. These can range from trial versions of programs like Microsoft Word that will eventually expire, or even programs that you never planned on using in the first place. Likewise, you may have installed a program years ago and haven’t used it since. Open the “Programs and Features” utility in the Windows Control Panel and uninstall anything you don’t use. A person would be surprised at just how much space can be freed by uninstalling a few programs.
Get a flash drive or external hard drive
Flash drives that offer several gigabytes of storage can be purchased cheaply at most electronic stores. Likewise, external hard drives that offer a terabyte or more of storage have come way down in price in recent years. Copying files to an external hard drive saves the information for a later day. Both methods also make the data more portable. Instead of e-mailing a file to someone if you need to transfer it, you can just take your flash drive or hard drive with you while you travel.
Compress documents you don’t regularly access
Compressing documents does just that – it makes a collection of files take up less hard drive space and still allows you to keep them on your primary hard drive. The down side is that you have to decompress files to access them, but there is no harm if you don’t open or use the documents very often. Add all documents you want to compress to a new folder, then right click on the folder and select the “Add to archive” option.
Run “Disk Cleanup”
This utility is in your Windows “Start” menu. It deletes files that were left on your hard drive from program installations or removals. It can also remove content that was downloaded to your computer from your Web browser for the sole purpose of making a page load faster. If you’ve never run “Disk Cleanup” before, you can free up several gigabytes of space in a few seconds. Be sure to run “Disk Cleanup” regularly, as these types of temporary and unnecessary files build up often.