Even though laptops and desktop PC’s nowadays come most of the time with a large hard drive, disk space will always be a problem. Taking this into consideration, Windows 8 is no exception from the rule as the partition you install it on will rapidly fill up with all sorts of files.
Freeing up disk space on the OS drive was never an easy task, so I hope that this article will shed some light on what you have to do in Windows 8 in order to solve this problem.
Use Disk Cleanup.
This tool is built-in the operating system and it is the most basic one which you can use. Fortunately though, its features are not that basic and you can actually clean up a lot of junk files with it.
You can run the tool by right clicking on the operating system drive in My Computer, selecting the Properties option and then by clicking on the button with its name.
The tool will load shortly after performing a basic search on a set of files residing in your computer. Once the window opens, a list of files which is safe to delete will be displayed. Among them you will find temporary files, Recycle bin files and other temporary files.
After selecting the ones you want, don’t just click on OK yet. You have the option to go deeper and Clean up system files. By clicking on the button with that name, you will enable a couple of other options. Here you can choose to delete files created by System Restore and Shadow Copies so make sure that you won’t need this data in the future.
Once you are done with your selection, as soon as you click on OK the tool will remove the files from your drive.
Uninstall programs eating up a lot of disk space.
Another way to make some room on your drive is to browse through the software that you’ve installed and select the ones using a lot of space, but which you don’t necessarily need. You can do this by opening the Programs and Features menu from the Control Panel.
By simply clicking on the Size column, you will be able to sort them and find those who fit the pattern. If the column is not visible, you can bring it up using the Details view.
The downside of using this method is that some programs do not actually show how much space they use, so you should use it with caution.
Analyze disk space used.
If you cannot tell how much do some programs use, you can install a third party software called WinDirStat which analyzes your hard drive and then shows a detailed report about the size of each folder or file.
This way, you can identify if there are any files or programs which eat up space and which you don’t need, so that they can be removed.
Remove temporary files.
Even though Disk Cleanup removes most of the files which are not needed anymore, there are still some temporary files which it cannot detect. This is why you should install an application called CCleaner, which can search thoroughly the drive and then allows you to select which files to delete.
Just to be on the safe side, even after performing a cleanup you should also make sure that the temporary files from this folder are removed C:\%TEMP%.
Change System Restore settings.
Deleting System Restore points using Disk Cleanup solves just half of the problem. If you’d like to gain some more disk space you have to options: completely turn it off or adjust the spaced used for creating the backups.
To do this you will have to open the System Properties and then click on the System Protection link found on the left side. When the window opens, you will have to select the OS drive letter and then click on configure.
In the new window you will be able to change the settings as you like; here the disk space used by System restore can be either increased or reduced to zero and you are able to completely turn off the feature.
The latter will most likely free up more than a couple of gigs but please use it with caution, as by doing this you will remove an important feature from Windows 8.
Advanced user alternatives.
If you are still not satisfied by the amount of disk space gained after using the above methods, there are some additional ways that you can use to free up some. In general, this is not recommended as it could seriously impact how Windows 8 performs.
One additional method would be to disable hibernation, which means that the operating system will not save anymore the contents of your RAM to the hard drive. In addition to this, the option will disappear from the Power Menu if it’s disabled.
The last resort that you can use, is to move the Page File to a different drive than the one with the operating system. What is really important here is to understand that the method refers to a different physical drive, not just a different partition.
If you decide to do this then you should know that in some cases the performance of the OS will slightly increase, because Windows 8 will overload each separately.
I will detail these methods in a different article later on, so if you are interested in finding out how you can perform them come back again.