4 ways how to free up disk space on Windows [Guide]

Undoubtedly, software hogs up most of your hard disk space. As such, the best way to free up space is to remove software. However, if you want to keep your software intact but still want to free up hard drive space, this guide shows you four ways you can use. Read on to learn more.


Firstly, consider using an effective system utility software. For the purposes of this article, we will talk about Glary Utilities but you can really use any other system utility program for this purpose. Download Glary Utilities (and yes it will take up a little disk space) which is a freeware package for the Windows XP/Vista/7/8 platforms (do take note, it will contain bloatware during install and/or try to hijack your homepage — be careful while installing). Glary Utilities includes a variety of options with which you can free up disk space.

With Glary Utilities select Clean Up and Repair. Then click the Disk Cleaner option to remove junk from your disk. When I ran it, it cleaned up more than three gigabytes. Of course, there is the also the Window Disk Cleanup tool, in the Accessories folder, which is similar.



Finding and deleting duplicate files is another great way to free up space. Especially if they are image files which can take up many more bytes than other file types. To do so, open Glary Utilities again, click Files and Folders and select Duplicate Files Finder. Then click Folders > Add, and select some suitable folders to search. Click Next and then lay down suitable search criteria. If it finds some duplicated files select Check > Check One in Each Group. Then click Delete checked files to remove the duplicates.


Of course, some might prefer to keep duplicated files as back ups. If so consider moving the duplicates over to a USB (Universal Serial Bus) stick. Add the stick to a USB slot, and then open Windows Explorer. Drag and drop the duplicated files to the USB stick. Note that will copy them, not move them, and so you should then delete (right-click file and select Delete) one of the files on the hard disk.

Please realize, finding and deleting duplicate files is not an easy task. By design, some files are simply designed to be duplicates and removing them can break some software. So while it is possible to delete duplicate files to free up space, you need to make sure the files you are deleting can be deleted without breaking something else — don’t blindly click next, next, next and delete all duplicates you find.


Also clean up temporary files. The Disk Cleanup tool doesn’t delete temporary files such as browser caches. For something more effective, add the freeware CCleaner (supported by both Windows XP/Vista/7/8 and Mac OS platforms — watch out for bloatware during install or use the slim/portable versions) to your computer. Open the software, and click on the check-boxes. Select Analyze for further details on what the software will delete. Then click on the Run Cleaner option.

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Turning off the Windows Vista, 7 or 8 System Restore will also free up space. The System Restore requires a few gigabytes. To turn it off, open the Control Panel and select System. Then select System Protection to open the window below.


From there click the check-box next to OS (C:) (System). Then select the Turn System Restore off option. That switches System Restore off, which few actually make much use of anyhow, and frees up some GBs. Those with Windows 7 or 8 can also select a Configure option where you can adjust the System Restore disk space usage without turning it off.

Do take note by turning off System Restore you will, obviously, no longer have the ability to use System Restore.


There you have a few suggestions that will free up a good amount of disk space without having to uninstall anything. Of course, effectiveness of these methods will vary from computer to computer (i.e. you can’t free up space by deleting junk files if you don’t have any junk files) but they are worth trying before you trim your valuable software collection. Enjoy!

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  • David Roper

    [@sl0j0n] Well, thank you very much. In my Firefox, I had to go to FILE/PRINT PREVIEW or PRINT
    near the little FF icon at UL of screen. Of course, I get the ads from Google Gmail but that’s okay, because I get the article to read and the pictures in it, even if it’s several pages. I save it as a PDF and I got it. Bingo!!

    I never thought of “getting out of the box” – call me “conditioned” . LOL

  • sl0j0n

    [@David Roper]
    Hello, Mr. Roper.
    *IF* you’re viewing this dotTech page in your browser, it *should* have a “Print” option.
    I’m using Pale Moon, a fork of Firefox, and they’re virtually the same in this regard.
    In Firefox, [or Pale Moon] click the ‘dropdown’ arrow [?] in the titlebar next to the browser’s name , select “Print…”, and click one of the options.
    In Internet Explorer, click the “Gear” icon, and select “Print”, and click one of the options.
    Hopefully helpful.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbor!

  • Gully

    [@BillB] For recent Windows versions, Black Viper’s site has always had an extensive list of the various operating system files, their functions, and what happens when they are removed. He also indicates how he tweaks his systems.

  • David Roper

    [@Seamus McSeamus] Sure it is, it’s a virus isn’t it? Takes $100 from you everytime a new version comes out.

  • Seamus McSeamus

    I guess uninstalling Windows isn’t a real option, is it?

  • David Roper

    BillB – what i have done in the past is to simply rename files that I was planning to delete. I would put an X in front of the name, Such as ImportantUpdate.exe renamed to XImportantUpdate.exe

    Then as any fisherman would do, just wait and see if you get a nibble. If everything seems to run okay a month from now, you could copy/move it off to a external Harddrive so you could STILL put it back if it was needed 6 months from now.

    As soon as you delete it forever, it will be the critical one. Trust me.

  • BillB

    Any insight into what files in the Windows tree could be safely deleted after XP support ends next month ?

  • KaptainBug

    Glary Utilities shows that it cleaned more than 3000MB which is about 3GB. Your post says 3 MB :)

  • etim

    Turn off system restore? Not a great idea. If you’re like me, you’ll need it tomorrow.
    You can free up space by setting it to only have a couple of restore points instead of several.

  • Mr.Dave

    Be careful in removing duplicate files – in the example it looks like Glary Utilities is set to match based on filename only. Many of the file sizes of the duplicates are not the same, so files are not identical. Glary may have different settings to match only if names are the same, sizes the same, dates the same, contents the same, or some combination. I strongly recommend an app called AllDupPortable if you want speed, flexibility and full control, but it’s got a big learning curve (it’s one of the best-written programs I’ve seen in a LONG time). For pics there are programs (Picassa, for example) that let you match _similar_ images, and you can set how similar they need to be. Find same images in different sizes, or with different watermarks, or match bmp and jpg, or different takes of the same subject — but be sure to view what you’re deleting. There are similar programs for audio files. One handy tool is Dual Player that lets you switch between two audio files quickly and compare the sound to see which is better.

    I was hoping someone could address what we can get rid of from all the hundreds of Windows Updates taking not just MB, but GB of hard drive space (or am I the only who has never reformatted since installing Vista 7 years ago?)

  • Tom

    Method 2 is problematic unless you use a duplicate app that offers to use hard links in place of the “duplicate” file..

  • David Roper

    Loved the article. I agree with you, Matthew, 100%. I wanted to print it out to keep in my files but no Print button.
    Sad. (yes, I know how to Ctrl A,C,V) but A neat print out with pix is better.

  • William W Gorman Jr

    I use Restore and I am not sure that turning off this function is a good idea. By-the-way, use DO THE RESTORE IN THE SAFE MODE FOR SUCCESS!