So recently I have been struggling to keep my small 120gb SSD drive from filling up, So I decided that there has to more that I can do than just un-installing unused programs. What I stumbled upon was a few new really cool tricks to free up that space, as well as re-discovering the classic tips and tricks to reclaim valuable HD space. Along the way I also tried out a number of different tools to help and decided that it would make a great post to cover my process from start to finish. If I, by chance missed something – I would love to here from you with your methods on reclaiming your valuable HD real estate.
Drive Usage Visualization
There are number of great tools to choose from to visualize just where all your valuable space is being used up – After trying several different tools, I finally decided that I preferred WindirStat.
(To be honest… I think I was sold when there were Pac-man animations during the drive scan)
PageFile.sys & Hiberfil.Sys
Modifying my Pagefile.sys file size and removing Hiberfil.sys alone freed up ~20gbs of space! Windows 7 by default will size your pagefile.sys file based on the amount of system memory you have installed. So for me – That was 16gb! Obviously a huge space hog…what’s even worse is that it wasn’t even being completely used by the system! If you aren’t familiar with the function of the pagefile – Lifehacker has done a great writeup about it’s functionality. For the reasons mentioned in the linked Lifehacker article, we are going to minimize the size of our Pagefile and not completely remove it.
To access your Pagefile Configuration – Go to:
Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings >Advanced > Performance(Settings) > Advanced >Virtual Memory(Change)
I’ve set My Pagefile size to 1gb & 4gb for several days and haven’t noticed any difference in performance – I keep it set at 4gb now to avoid any possible complications down the road:) A good rule of thumb here though is to set it somewhere between your average Memory usage & your peak usage. It is probably best summarized in this excript from the lifehacker article:
For example, if your system has 4GB of RAM and your peak memory usage was 5GB (including virtual memory), you should set your pagefile to at least 1GB and the maximum as 2GB to give you a buffer to keep you safe in case a RAM-hungry application needs it. If you have 8GB of RAM and a max 3GB of memory usage, you should still have a pagefile, but you would probably be fine with a 1 GB size.
Dealing with the Hiberfil.sys file is comparatively much easier, the file should exist only if have hibernation enabled on you machine. I personally despise hibernation, so it was easy to pull the trigger to get rid of the Hiberfil.sys file. To remove this file, simply run command prompt as admin and type:
powercfg -h off
Then reboot your pc.
Un-Install Old Programs
This one is pretty straight forward – Go through and un-install any programs, software, games, etc that you no longer utilize. If you encounter any stubborn programs that refuse to uninstall cleanly, I highly recommend using Revo Uninstaller.
Clear Temporary File Caches
Overtime and unchecked, your system cache files can consume a huge amount of your drive space. There are several places where you can expect to recover a reasonable of space in the background of Windows, by far the easiest way to manage and clear these files is using CCleaner by Puriform.
Configure System Restore
Windows can also reserve a small portion of your hard drive space for it’s System Restore functionality. While I highly recommend that you still keep system restore enabled – If you are tight on space, you can free up space by dialing down the amount of space that System Restore uses.
Control Panel > System > System Protection > Configure
Uninstall Windows Updates – via Disk-Cleanup
Recent Windows 7 updates allow us to now reclaim some additional HD space by purging old Windows update files.
Start > Type: “Disk Cleanup”
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section below!