How to Free up Disk Space (Windows 7)

Опубликовал Admin
8-10-2016, 15:35
2 138
When your hard drive fills up, your computer may not perform as well as you're used to. If Windows is running slowly, you can delete files and programs to free up space. You can delete files manually, or you can use Disk Cleanup: a built-in Windows utility that is designed to clear out large swaths of unnecessary files. You may also consider uninstalling space-intensive programs that you don't use often.

Accessing Disk Cleanup

  1. Use the Start menu to navigate to the Control Panel. Access the Start menu by clicking the Windows flag in the bottom-left corner of your screen. Look for "Control Panel" on the right-hand side of the Start menu.
    • Alternately: go through the Computer folder if you already know that you want to clear the (C:) drive. Open "Computer" from the Start menu, then right-click on the icon for Local Disk (C:). Select "Properties" to pull up a pop-up menu. Under the "General" tab, you will see figures and a pie chart representing the used and free space on your (C:) drive. Click the "Disk Cleanup" button to calculate how much space you'll be able to free up.
  2. In the Control Panel, select "System and Security". The "System and Security" screen contains an option to "Free up disk space," which will activate the built-in Disk Cleanup program. This menu also includes actions and information that help you, among other things: view and change system and security status, back up and store file and system settings, update your computer, view RAM and processor speed, and check your firewall.
  3. Select "Free up disk space." Find the link in small text beneath the "Administrative Tools" heading, near the bottom of the page. You will be prompted to select which drive you want to clean up.
  4. Choose which drive to clean up. You should have the option to clear out Local Disk (C:) or Local Disk (D:). Choose the (C:) drive unless you've intentionally saved personal files to the (D:) drive. Generally, (C:) stores all of your documents, records, and program files, while (D:) contains sensitive system-restoration files that were pre-installed by the computer manufacturer. Once you've selected the drive, click "OK" to proceed.
    • Avoid tampering with the system files stored in the (D:) drive. If you don't know what something is, assume that it is essential to the function or backup of your computer. If a file is malicious or isn't supposed to be there, run a web search to identify it – or contact the support team of your computer manufacturer.

Choosing Files to Delete

  1. Wait for Disk Cleanup to calculate how much space you'll be able to free. This process can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. In general, the more cluttered your disk, the longer it will take to scan. You should see a pop-up box: "Disk Cleanup is calculating how much space you will be able to free on Local Disc (C:). This may take a few minutes."
  2. Select which files to delete. Highlight each option to see which files this category includes, and what exactly you will be deleting. Look at how much memory each file type takes up – if you only have a few kilobytes (KB) of temporary Internet files, deleting them will scarcely change your user experience. Decide whether or not deleting these files will impact your work. Feel free to select everything on the list if you're in dire need of space.
  3. Remove your downloaded program files. This folder includes ActiveX controls and Java applets that download automatically when you view certain pages. They are saved to the Downloaded Program Files folder on your hard drive. If you clear these files, they will download again as needed when you visit the pages in question.
  4. Delete the Temporary Internet Files. These copies of websites are stored on your hard drive for quick viewing. Feel free to clear out this folder without much further thought: you will not lose your personalized settings and login information for webpages, so your online experience won't suffer.
  5. Clear the Game News Files and Game Statistics Files. You should not have much memory bound up in these files unless you play a lot of games on your computer. Feel free to delete them for the sake of clearing space. Understand the function of each file type:
    • Game News Files facilitate delivery of the RSS feeds to your Game Library. If you don't play many games on your computer, or you don't care much for keeping them rigorously updated, you should no issue deleting this.
    • Game Statistics Files are created to aid maintenance of various game statistics. As with the Game News Files, it should not detract from your user experience if you clear these files.
  6. Empty the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin includes any files that you've deleted. These files are not permanently removed until you empty the folder. This folder may be very full or nearly empty, depending on how many files you've recently deleted and how often you empty the Bin.
  7. Delete the temporary files. Clearing this category often frees up the most space. Your operating system automatically creates these temporary files to protect things you're working on. These files may be linked to Word documents, edited images, or unfinished and cancelled downloads (from browsers and applications that download updates, plugins, etc.) Delete any temporary files that you haven't changed in at least a week.
    • Your system usually deletes temporary files when you shut down your computer. If your computer crashes, dies, or shuts down suddenly, these files won't receive the deletion instruction, and they will linger indefinitely. If you don't shut down your computer often enough—say, you put it into "sleep" mode but don't ever turn it fully off—you may also notice a build-up of temporary files.
  8. Clear the thumbnails. Windows retains a cached copy of all photo, video, and document thumbnails. This way, the system can display the files faster when you open a folder. These files can build up, however, as you create new folders and gradually neglect older folders. If you delete these thumbnail files, your system will automatically recreate them as needed.
  9. Consider cleaning up system files. There is a button on the Disk Cleanup menu labeled "Clean up system files". Select it, if you want to clear extra space, and wait for the program to calculate how much memory is safe to delete. Within a minute or two, the same Disk cleanup menu should appear with additional file categories to delete. Consider what each of these file types means, and decide whether it's safe to delete them:
    • Service Pack Backup Files: Windows keeps old versions of files updated by service packs. Be aware that if you clear these files, you'll be unable to uninstall the service pack.
    • Temporary Windows installation files: These are the installation files used by Windows setup. These files are left over from the installation process, and you no longer need them. Feel free to delete these files.
    • Windows Update Cleanup: Windows retains a copy of each newly-installed Windows Update, even once you've gotten a more recent update. Windows Update cleanup deletes older versions of updates that you no longer need, and that are cluttering your hard drive. Be prepared to restart your computer.

Deleting Unnecessary Files

  1. When you are ready, click OK to delete. Make sure that you've checked the boxes for each of the file categories that you want to clear out.
  2. Confirm that you want to delete these files. The program will prompt you: "Are you sure you want to permanently delete these files?" Think back to all of the files that you selected. If you're sure, click "Delete" to finish the job and clear up disk space. If you aren't completely certain, navigate back to the file-selection box and make sure you've chosen the right categories.
  3. Wait for the program to free up disk space. Once you click "Delete", a pop-up should appear with the message: "The Disk Cleanup utility is cleaning up unnecessary files on your machine." Watch the green progress bar to gauge how far along the removal process has gone. Depending on how much memory you're deleting (from a smattering of kilobytes up to multiple gigabytes) the utility may run for anywhere from one minute to 20 minutes.
    • If you have second thoughts for any reason, click the "Cancel" button to the right of the green progress bar. The files that have been deleted already will be gone, but you'll prevent the program from removing any further files.
    • Look beneath the progress bar to see which files are currently being cleared. This may help you gauge the progress and decide whether you need to cancel anything.
  4. Uninstall old programs to clear space. Open the Programs and Features menu by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Programs, and then clicking Programs and Features. Wait for the list to populate with all of the programs currently installed on your computer. Look for programs that take up a lot of space, and that you don't use often. Select a program, and then click Uninstall.
    • Some programs include the option to change or repair the program in addition to uninstalling it, but many simply offer the option to uninstall. To change a program, click Change or Repair.
    • 1 kilobyte (KB) is 1000 bytes. 1 megabyte (MB) is 1000 KB. 1 gigabyte (GB) is 1000 MB, and 1 terabyte (TB) is 1000 GB. The sizes of your programs are probably in the MB-GB range.
    • If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. If you can't confirm, you may not be the administrator of this computer, and you may not be able to delete this program.
  5. Delete old setup files. When you download an application from the internet, you probably downloaded an exe/msi file with a name like setup. Once you've run this file and installed the program, it can be safely deleted.


  • Be patient! It can take anything from 1 minute to 20 minutes!
  • The screen may flicker slightly as it is deleting files. This is normal.


  • Be careful not to delete valuable information and programs. If you don't know what a file is, leave it alone.

Things You'll Need

  • A Windows 7 computer
  • Patience
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