By Melanie Pinola, PC World (US) | Aug 1, 2012
That's true whether you have a gigantic hard drive quickly filling up with applications, movies, music, and photos or live with one of the newer ultrathin laptops sporting fast but tiny solid-state drives that can't hold much to begin with.
Thankfully, lots of easy ways exist to reclaim hard-drive space and keep the dreaded "out-of-disk-space" warnings away. Let's check some of them out.
Clean Up Files You No Longer Need
The first step is to get rid of the common space-hogging culprits. These include unnecessary applications and a variety of useless system files.
Your Recycle Bin, Temp folders, and random system files may be hogging gigabytes of potential free space. Microsoft's built-in disk cleaner, Windows Disk Cleanup, will free up this space for you.
Go to the Start menu, type disk cleanup in the search box, and press Enter for the screen where you can whisk these items away. (If you have a particularly packed system, have patience while Disk Cleaner does its magic.)
By the way, you can schedule Disk Cleanup to run regularly in Windows' Task Scheduler. Here's how:
Click the Start button, type Task Scheduler in the search form, and press Enter. Under the Actions menu, select Create Basic Task. Follow the wizard to enter a description and set a daily/weekly/other schedule, then type cleanmgr.exe in the Filename box to schedule it.
That method runs Disk Cleanup at a set time but still requires your input. If you want to run Disk Cleanup in the background without your supervision, you can create a scheduled task to do this using the command line:
- Go to the Start menu, enter cmd in the search box, and press Enter to open the Command Prompt.
- Type cleanmgr.exe /sageset:1 to open the Disk Cleanup settings.
- Select the types of files you always want to delete and press OK. This will create a Registry key to save these cleanup settings, and also run Disk Cleanup right now.
- Then go into Task Scheduler as mentioned above (Start > Task Scheduler > Create Basic Task), and when you get to the Scheduled Task program screen, enter /sagerun:1 in the arguments (in addition to "cleanmgr.exe" for the filename) to apply the cleanup settings.