Saturday, October 13, 2012

7 Ways to Free Up Disk Space on an SSD in Windows 7

Over the last years computer processors have become very powerful, so powerful that most of the time they do nothing but waiting your hard drive to throw some data at them. Fortunately, disks have evolved, too and a new generation of super fast disks called Solid State Drives (SSDs) has appeared. With an SSD your computer will become noticeably faster and reliable and will consume less power. The problem is that SSDs are too expensive, so you will have to get one which is considerably smaller than a regular mechanical hard drive. Smaller drive means that rather sooner than later you will face the "not enough free space" problem. In this article I'm going to show you how to free up gigabytes of disk space on an SSD in Windows 7.

  1. Disable hibernation - will free up disk space equal to the size of your RAM
    Hibernation is the process of saving the content of your computer's memory to the hard disk, which helps start if faster. Having Windows 7 installed on an SSD means that it will boot in seconds, so you won't need hibernation anymore. To turn it off you should do the following:
    • Click the Start button and type "cmd"
    • Right click the item that appears and select Run as administrator
    • In the opened DOS command prompt window type powercfg –h off and press Enter
    • The hibernate.sys file that is used by the hibernation process will be then deleted and you will gain disk space on your SSD equal to the size of your RAM.
  2. Decrease the size of the page file - will free up disk space almost equal to the size of your RAM
    The page file represents an area of your hard drive, which is used by Windows 7 in case your computer runs out of memory (RAM). If your desktop/laptop has enough RAM (4 GB or more), you can safely decrease the size of the page file. Some people even advise to disable the page file completely, but I don't recommend this, as some programs need it and may crash if it is disabled. Here's how you can decrease the size of your page file in Windows 7:
    • Click the Start button, right click Computer and then click Properties
    • In the left pane click Advanced system settings
    • In the window that opens click the Settings button in the Performance group box and select the Advanced tab page.
    • Click the Change button and select the drive where you page file currently is (by default C:)
    • Select Custom size and fill the initial and maximum size of your page file to be the same amount of space - 512 MB is more than enough if you have more than 4 GB of RAM (see the image on the right)
    • When ready click Set and then OK.
    Upon restart, your computer will use a page file with the size you have set, not one with the size of your RAM, which will free up gigabytes of space on your SSD.
  3. Turn off System Restore - will free up a few gigabytes of disk space
    System Restore creates backups of your most important system files, so that in case something goes wrong you can restore the system to a point back in time. However, this approach is not very effective. It is best to use a disk clone utility (e.g. Acronis True Image, Norton Ghost, etc.) for disk backups. The System Restore service usually uses a lot of disk space, so here's how to turn it off:
    • Click the Start button, right click Computer and then click Properties
    • In the left pane click System Protection
    • Select the disk you want to turn off System Protection for and click Configure
    • Select Turn off system protection, click OK, and then click OK again
  4. Perform a Disk Cleanup regularly - will free up from several megabytes to hundreds of megabytes of disk space
    Disk Cleanup is a tool integrated in Windows 7, which frees up disk space by emptying the Recycle Bin and deleting various temporary files, which are no longer needed. I recommend you run it once a month. To perform a disk cleanup do the following:
    • Click on the Start button and then on Computer
    • Right click on your SSD disk (by default "C:") and select Properties
    • Click on Disk Cleanup to start the disk cleaning utility
    • It will analyze your system for a while and will show a list of items that can be safely deleted. If you want to clean up some system files as well, such as left overs of old Windows updates, click Clean up system files and make sure you select "Windows Update Cleanup"
    • Select all items you want to delete and click OK
  5. Use a third party disk cleaning tool regularly - will free up megabytes of disk space
    If you want to delete even more temporary files, you can use a third party tool. One that is very good, simple to use and I've never had any problems with is Piriform CCleaner. I recommend you install it and run it once a month. When you start it:
    • Select the types of files you want to delete using the check boxes
    • Click Analyze to see the list of files that are going to be deleted
    • Click the Run Cleaner button to delete the files
  6. Uninstall programs you do not use - will free up from several megabytes to several gigabytes of disk space
    Do not forget from time to time to check the list of installed program on your computer and uninstall the ones you do not use. Here's how to do this in Windows 7:
    • Click the Start button and then Control Panel
    • Click Uninstall a program
    • Select the program you want to remove and click the Uninstall button from the toolbar
  7. Disable File Content Indexing - will free up from several megabytes to several gigabytes of disk space and will also speed up your computer
    One of the things SSDs are most noticeably faster than mechanical hard drives is file access. Because of this search on an SSD is much faster than on a traditional hard disk and you don't need the content of all your files to be indexed in order to do a fast file search. Disabling the indexing service will not only free up space on your SSD but will also boost the performance of your computer as it will no longer index any file that is written to disk. To disable the indexing service for your SSD do the following:
    • Click Start and then Computer (or press Windows + E from the keyboard)
    • Right click on your SSD (e.g. "C:") and select Properties
    • Uncheck the "Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties" (should be as in the image to the right)
    • Click OK
    • In the dialog window that appears select to apply this to the drive, subfolders and files and click OK
    • Repeat the process for any other SSD disk partitions, too

See also:

37 comments:

  1. Best guide on freeing space I've seen.
    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Very good guide, I gained about 15gb which I very much needed!

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    2. Excellent suggestions on enhancing SSD performance. I have a Corsair LS Force 240 Gb SSD that came alive after I made the suggested tweaks to my system. These straight forward and UN-threatening adjustments woke up my SSD and enhanced performance considerably. Thankx'!

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  2. I just bought a 64 GB SSD, installed Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and followed your steps, now I'm only using 25% of the total space, 16GB out of 64GB. Thank you so much for this info.

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  3. Thanks for this guide man. Freed up about 10GB on my 60GB Intel 520 SSD. Now I can fit Battlefield 3 on it. :D

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    Replies
    1. That's nice @famicube64, you've reclaimed more than 15% of your SSD space :) I'm glad I have helped. Enjoy your SSD and Battlefield 3 on it ;)

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  4. thank you so much!! i was down to almost 10 mb but now i have atleast 1.5 GB so now im worry free :D i thought it would never end, all the cleaning and CCleaner usage. But now im okay thanks A LOT, no more anxiety and OCD about my SSD, time for some BF3 and CS:S :3

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    Replies
    1. Great! Enjoy your SSD ;) If you want to get the most of your SSD I recommend you keep about 20% of it free.

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  5. Thank you for this remedy!
    For now, I have applied the steps 1, 2 and 3 only. Yet, I have gained some 60 GB. This should be fine for a while.
    My 'wish' is that why is it that these great solutions of yours not be the 'default' (made by both Microsoft and the SSD manufacturers).
    Today is a better day because of Mr. Vladov.

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  6. Thanks, never knew windows took up so much space with useless stuff. Gained 20gb back on my ssd

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    Replies
    1. The stuff you deleted is by no means useless, but getting an extra year out of your SSD is pretty much worth it.

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  7. Thanks, I have a 250gb SSD but the amount of space the Windows installation is taking up is slowly increasing even though I don`t use it to install any programs etc..

    Now I have a lot of that space back, thanks again!!!

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  8. Just in case people don't know, if you have iTunes installed on an SSD and you have downloaded content from iCloud that wasn't on your PC it will save them in:

    computer > (C:) > Users > (your name)>My Music > iTunes > iTunes Media.

    I downloaded 3 seasons of Top Gear and two albums and it took up a colossus 18.9GB. Also, Thanks for the help, I saved a good 10GB on my 120GB Samsung 840 SSD.

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  9. thanks for the info...do you have any insight into how to keep additional space free when running Lightroom? Adobe must tuck temp files into areas I can't seem to find.

    OK, after much digging (and right-clicking on folders to see total size via properties..is there an easier way of checking this?) i found a big pile in User> Tim > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Bridge CS4 > Cache

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    1. Hi, congratulations for finding the location of the files. Unfortunately, currently I do not use any of the Adobe products, so I cannot help you much. All I can suggest is to dig in Lightroom's settings and check whether you can change the location of the temp files or limit the space they are allowed to use. If you don't find such settings, you can try posting in the Adobe forums. Good luck!

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  10. Phenomenal, thank you very much. I've freed up 58 GB on a new laptop ( 16 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD). These things were taking almost half the total SSD space. I have very little files/software installed on it at the moment so things didn't make sense until I did your recommended steps. FULL MARKS !!! :-)

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  11. thank you so much, i've freed almost 30GB on my 80gb SSD thank you so much!!

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  12. my windows fresh install went from 70gb to 14gb following your tips... (probably due to my 32gb ram which means 64gb just for hibernation and page file). Thank you so much!

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  13. Many thanks Pavlov. Got around 7GB back without disabling System Restore. If only all webpages were as clear and concise as yours! Well done!

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  14. thanks Sir. This was really hepful. keep up the good work.

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  15. Incredible - person like YOU is what everybody needs... I get back 20 GB on my Samsung SSD...
    THANKS SO MUCH !!!

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  16. By far the easiest, most satisfying and useful how-to I've used in years. Thank you so very much my HD score in Win 7 jumped from a 5.9 to 7.5!

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  17. Thanks Pavel, finally got rid of that annoying popup about running out of disk space!!

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    1. Me as well! Thank you so much for the clear directions and images! Saved my tiny 30gb SSD!

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  18. Thank you very much Pavel. Those tips were outstanding and by far the best I have ever got in the internet!

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  19. Thanks so much for these helpful tips. I am scared to disable System Restore but seen to have gained quite a bit of space on my new SSD. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

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  20. Hi Pavel: Thank you for the very helpful advice. My SSD was down to 6 of 55.7 GB free and I was getting concerned. After completing steps 2 (freed 7+ GB) and 7 (freed 1 GB), I now have a comfortable amount of free space.

    I'd like to perform Step 1, if possible, but have a question please. My desktop PC has "Sleep" but no "Hibernate". I like to use Sleep mode sometimes so I don't have to close all my work before shutting down. Does this step still apply? Thanks, -Clayton

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    Replies
    1. Hi, do not worry, hibernation and sleep are two completely different technologies, so disabling hibernation won't affect the sleep mode functionality of your computer.

      Basically hibernation is a process that saves the full content of your computer's RAM to the hard drive and then completely turns your PC off and when you turn it on it loads the saved on the hard drive data back to RAM, while sleep (standby) mode simply puts your computer into low power state, but does not turn it off completely, so you do not loose the content of the RAM.

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  21. Awesome post, I freed up 45% of my ssd

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  22. Cleared up 30% without turning off system restore, great guide, crystal clear instructions, thanks Pavel!

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  23. got about 30gb out of this tips, and i use cclean regulary. (16gb ram, 256gb ssd)
    Thanks

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  24. AWESOME!!!!! 60 GIG drive was down to about 5.5 available, up to 20 available now (still processing). 5 minutes of work. Absolutely outstanding, thanks mano.

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  25. Hi there
    One of these actions seems to have made my clips in Adobe Premiere not work. There are grey stripes down all of them and they don't play. I've been editing this film for nearly a year so I'm a bit devastated. I probably should have looked into it more before I did anything. Anyway, just wondered if you knew what the default setting is for the Virtual memory before I changed it, and the File Content Indexing? I noticed a long list of things happening when I changed the file content indexing with Adobe programs and then I had to restart the computer. I hope you can help, because if I lose this work I am done...

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    1. Hi, I doubt that one of these tips has caused the issues you are talking about. If done as instructed, they are all perfectly safe and I have successfully applied them to many PC-s without any problems. Anyways, regarding your questions, the default value for the page file is "System managed size" and File Content Indexing is set to true (checked) for the system drive.

      As far as I know Adobe products use a lot of memory, so if your computer does not have much RAM (e.g. 4GB or less), increase the size of the page file or set it to system managed size to see if this will solve the problem.

      Before reverting those settings, however, I recommend you backup your clips and project files and try to open them on another computer to see if they are ok. The issues you describe seem more like problems with the hard drive (for example appearance of bad sectors), so I strongly recommend you regularly backup your work and important files. Regular backups are recommended even for new and perfectly healthy disks.

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  26. every SSD seller should ship this as MANUAL INSTRUCTION to each customer..50% of SSD was filled by this junc

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  27. Mate thanks so much. I was at 35 Gb remaining, now I have close to 70 Gb remaining. All those pesky Autodesk files. This is definitely the best help on the web for this sort of issue.

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