≡ Menu

Getting back Free Hard drive Storage space on Netbooks, Laptops, Computers Tips

Get back more Free space on drive

Read tips on how to get back some free space on your computer, laptop, netbook without spending any money or very little money. One of the biggest problems, I have with computers is that they always seem to run out of space very quickly, so I can’t record as many TV shows to my computer with my TV tuner card, or I can’t install as many games. But, I don’t always have the time or money for buying a new computer with a bigger hard drive or buying a bigger hard drive for my computer. I usually need to think of a way to get rid of junk files and duplicate files, so I can record an extra hour of TV on my computer hard drive.

Disk Cleanup and File compression

Use a disk cleanup program like CCleaner, Bleachbit, or Windows Disk Cleanup to get rid of junk and temporary files on your computer. If your Netbooks, Laptops or computer has very little computer on one drive, consider moving your files to another drive like a External hard drive, secondary internal drive if you have one installed on your PC. You can also remove Windows components in Add/remove programs for programs which you never use or hardly use. If you need to reinstall them again, you can just recheck the Windows components, and it will be installed again on the next restart. When encoding music, video, encode your files in a lower quality setting or format. For example, save your music files as MP3 128 KBps instead of CD Quality Wave files. If you do a lot of image editing use PNG or Jpeg file formats instead of BMP. Uninstall all the programs which you do not need on your computer in Add/Remove program in Control Panel. You might save a few extra megabytes (MB) by compressing your drive or using compress folders like .zip, .rar, etc ;however, a lot of the time it is not worth it since the space saving are very minimal. It is best to use file formats which don’t use up a lot of space like Jpegs, MP3s, oggs, etc. Windows disk compression is not very worth it since you only save a few MBs or 1GB of space, but it takes a long time to do and slows down your computers performance since everytime you open the file and folder, Windows have to uncompress the file or folder before it opens it.

Suggestion, but not recommended: You can use CCleaner or Disk Cleanup advanced settings to delete your older system restore points in Windows, but I do not recommend it unless you are desperate for disk space since once you  delete your older system restores, you can’t restore your computer to those dates. Only do it if your computer is working fine.

Delete Duplicate files from your computer

You can also use Free Programs like Glary Utilities or “find same copy files yourself” to find duplicate files which are just files with the same name, size, and content, but stored in diffirent drives, and folder locations. You can save a lot of space. However, do not delete files in folders like /windows or any other files in /program files. The only programs which are duplicates you can delete are .exe, .msi installer/setup files in your download folders or your desktop since some times we download stuff and forgot wghere we saved it, and download it to a new location on your drive. Don’t delete stuff in weird directories which you did not make or you did not put files int. I just recommend deleting duplicate multimedia files like .mpeg, .mp3, .wmv, .avi. Duplicate picture files are also safe to delete. Plus, duplicate document files with the same content inside. Always doublecheck to see if you already have another copy on the drive, and if the file is an exact copy of the file in another location on your computer. Windows might prevent you from deleting some files which is probably for your own good since Windows probably need those files to run Windows properly. If you run a dual boot computer, with the same operating system and software installed on both computer, you will see a lot of duplicate files for Windows files, and Some multimedia files. It is best to leave dual boot files on another drive or partition alone espiecally if the files are .exe files. Only delete duplicate files on the same drive for dual boot computers.

Note: it is not a good idea to backup your files on the same drive, you store your original files to since if your computer becomes stolen, or your hard drive breaks all your files might be gone forever because you backed up your files to the same drive.

Delete Zip and installer files which already got extracted or installed on your computer

Think about deleting Zip files if you already unzip all the files of your zip folder of to your computer’s hard drive. You should also delete installers since you do not need the installer file to run the program which is already installed on your computer. However, you should not delete installers if the company is gone, or they discontinued the product since installer files for older software or software made by companies which do not exist anymore can be very hard to find. Also, don’t delete the installer file if the new versions of the software are very bad since if your program needs to be reinstalled, you will need to use the old installer files.

Replace large hard drive footprint software with software which uses no hard drive space or very little

I recommend looking for programs which uses less hard drive space then your current software which uses a lot of disk space on your hard drive.

You can uninstall Microsoft Office and used cloud based internet software like Google Docs which is a cloud based Office Suite which has a word processor, spreadsheet program, and presnration program. Google Docs runs off your internet browser and is installed on Google’s internet application servers, so you do not need to install or download anything onto your computer. Gmail and most online webmail also has a address book, calender/scheduler, RSS  news reader, and other online programs.. Cloud website based software is great for people who only use software occassionally. If your internet or network connection is not very stable, I don’t recommend you use cloud applications like Google Docs.

If you can’t uninstall your current office suite because you use it a lot for school or work, consider replacing your bloated software with software which uses less disk space. Also, make sure you know what you are installing and uncheck all the stuff you do not need and only install the stuff you do need by doing a custom install instead of a typical or full install.

Examples of lightweight software:

SSuite Office is a free lightweight bare bones office suite which only uses about 18 MB of disk space on your computer. It has a word processor, Spreadsheet program, PDF maker, E-mail client, amd a few other little apps. It is a very bare bones office suite, but it uses a lot less hard drive space then Microsoft Office. It is faster, too.

OpenOffice  is a full featured free office suite which has almoast every program you need for your office needs like Word processor, spreadsheet program, database, and drawing tools only needs about 440MB of hard disk space openoffice.org/dev_docs/source/sys_reqs_30.html vs MS Office 2010 which needs 3000MB of disk space http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624351.aspx#section3 .

FoxIT is a great PDF reader which only takes up about 10 MB of space which is a lot less then Adobe Acrobat PDF reader.

Avira Free Antivirus is a good antivirus which only uses about 30 MB of hard drive space which is not a lot of disk space compared to some antivirus programs.

Utorrent is also a very lightweight torrent downloading client. It uses less then 1MB of disk space in Program files folder.

To find more lightweight software, visit sourceforge.net which has a large directory of free open source software for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Use External USB or Firewire storage devices and devices with free storage space when you are outdoors or places with no power outlet

If you need more space when you are away from a power outlet like when you are using a laptop or Netbook at a library. I recommend using USB Flash drives, SD Memory cards, portable USB drives which runs off the power from the USB port, MP3 players with built-in storage. Some Digital Cameras, Camcorders, and sound recorders can also be used as storage devices for your laptop as long as you can connect them to your computer with its built-in USB or Firewire plug or cable. If your Netbook or Laptop has a CD/DVD drive you can also use CDS and DVDS to carry around your files. I recommend using rewriteable CD-RWs or DVD-/+RWs since you can reuse them when you don’t want the files anymore. You can also think about buying a USB DVD burner drive for your Netbook without a CD-drive.

Storing files online

Consider using Online storage for storing or backing up some of your files to the internet. I recommend Dropbox since it gives 2 GB free, and it works like a folder on your computer. Windows live Sky Drive is good, too. Sky drives gives you 25GB of free disk space, but you have to use Internet Exploarer to upload files and you also need a hotmail account. Google Docs gives you 1GB of free space for storing your presentation files, word documents, spreadsheets, pdfs, and other document related programs. Media file is another free online storage company which promises unlimited uploads, but you are restricted to 200mb per uploaded file. All of these services I listed have password protection for your user account, and also allow sharing of files with other people you know by sending them a website link to your file which you set to public.

Buy more storage devices

Go out and buy an usb external hard drive, usb flash drive, another computer to use as a file server on your home network, install a bigger hard drive for your computer since computers and computer hard drives and other storage devices are not very expensive vs. the time you wasted thinking of ways to save space which have minimal benefits since you can’t really make your computer files use less space without deleting some files. Drive compression software does not help very much in my experience, and it makes using my computer slower. You can get a 1 Terabyte external usb hard drive for under a hundred dollars these days, and it should last you for years before it is all filled.

11 comments… add one
  • gogle June 30, 2010, 7:51 am

    I have Delete Duplicate Files from my computer and recovered 50Gb of wasted disk space. WOW

  • Johnson Yip June 30, 2010, 7:53 pm

    Congrats on geting back 50GB of space from deleting duplicate files on the same partition or drive. I think the most space I ever recovered from deleting duplicate files was 1-2GB.

  • gogle July 1, 2010, 11:54 am

    @Johnson Yip

    Yes 50gb of disk space because i was very lazy to sort out the duplicate file collection…

  • Alex16260 July 1, 2010, 8:52 pm

    This website is very useful for many pc users out there! I highly recommend using this website! If anyone would like to find some software for their pc for maintenance that will help your pc run faster check out this website. http://pcmaintenancewithalex.blogspot.com/

  • Johnson Yip July 1, 2010, 9:38 pm

    Same for me.

    If it was not for duplicate finding software, I would have so many duplicate files on my drives since manually looking for duplicate files can be very time consuming.

    I notice most of my duplicates come from backing up my Websites since I do them on a regular basis. But, my old website backups are not very useful since they are using the older versions of CMSes like Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal.

    I bet many corporate networks would have a lot duplicate files from users who copy files off a file server to their computers hard drives. I read peer to peer networks are more likely to suffer from duplicate files taking up space because users computers are both servers and clients, so people can share and host files for others.

  • Johnson Yip July 1, 2010, 9:40 pm

    Thanks for the comment and recommend people to use my website for their computer maintenance and Tech tutorial needs. I will go check out your website now since it sounds interesting.

  • web design company July 5, 2010, 3:57 am

    Thanks for u r information

    its very useful

  • Johnson Yip July 5, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Your welcome!

  • dlo July 6, 2010, 7:52 am

    thanks for info, but as for me I prefer

  • binaryman July 28, 2010, 12:20 pm

    I use Directory Report to find my duplicate files
    But the more important goal is to find where your space is going
    Directory Report does this too by showing you your folder sizes

  • Johnson Yip July 28, 2010, 1:34 pm

    Cool, I might check out the software you listed for finding duplicate files.

Leave a Comment