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Resolving Low Disk Space Errors (Windows 7)
This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
Windows uses disk space for caching files and virtual memory. Files will not save, discs will not burn, and the computer might become unreliable if the free space on the hard drive drops too low.
Use the methods that follow to increase the amount of free disk space on your computer. Increasing disk space prevents low disk space errors and enhances performance.
Step 1: Emptying the Recycle Bin in Windows 7
Follow these steps to empty the recycle bin:
  1. From the Windows desktop, double-click Recycle Bin .
  2. Restore any mistakenly deleted items by right-clicking each file, then selecting Restore .
  3. Click Empty the Recycle Bin . Windows will remove the contents of the Recycle Bin from the hard disk, which is most commonly the (C:) drive.
  4. Select Yes to confirm.
  5. Close the Recycle Bin.
Step 2: Deleting temporary files and directories in Windows 7
Deleting temporary files and directories increases hard disk space and reduces the time Windows takes to access the hard drive. It also resolves problems associated with spooling print jobs. Windows uses a TEMP directory to temporarily store files intended only for short-term use. Over time, these files can build up and cause problems. To delete these files, use the following steps, depending upon the Windows version:
  1. Close all open software programs.
  2. Click Start
    , click All Programs , click Accessories , click System Tools , and then click Disk Cleanup .
  3. Select the drive you want to clean up, and then click OK .
    Figure : Select drive
    Image of Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection
    A message appears telling you that Disk Cleanup is calculating how much space you will be able to free on the drive you chose.
    Figure : Disk Cleanup progress indication window
    Image of Disk Cleanup progress
  4. Place a check next to the types of files you want the Disk Cleanup utility to delete. Temporary files are safe to delete.
    Selecting some options can have a negative effect. If you are unsure about what to delete, do not delete files until you know which ones are important.
    Figure : Disk Cleanup
    Image of Disk Cleanup screen
  5. Click OK .
  6. Click Delete Files .
Step 3: Removing unwanted programs in Windows 7
Removing unwanted programs will increase hard drive space. Use the following steps to remove unwanted programs and increase hard drive space:
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
  2. Under Programs , click Uninstall a program .
  3. Select the program you want to remove.
    Figure : Uninstall or change a program
    Image of Programs and Features window
  4. Click Uninstall or Uninstall/Change at the top of the program list.
  5. Read and respond to any messages that may open while the software is being removed from your computer.
Step 4: Deleting TV recordings in Windows 7
TV recordings take up a lot of disk space. Deleting recordings you no longer need can free up a lot of space on the hard drive. Follow these steps to free disk space by deleting recordings in Windows Media Player:
  1. Click Start , click All Programs , and then click Windows Media Center .
  2. Scroll to TV , and then click Recorded TV .
  3. Right-click the name of the show to delete, and then click Delete .
    Figure : Delete a TV recording
    Image of Windows Media Center, showing how to delete a TV recording
Step 5: Adjusting System Restore settings in Windows 7
System Restore is a feature of Windows that can revert system software and settings back to a particular date. System Restore does this by saving the changes made to system files in a restore point. These restore points are important, but too many of them can take up a lot of hard drive space. If left unadjusted, System Restore uses up to four percent of your hard drive. For most troubleshooting situations, having 4 or 5 restore points is sufficient.
Use the steps in the following steps to reduce the space System Restore uses for restore points:
  1. Click Start , right-click Computer , and then select Properties .
  2. From the tasks pane on the left, click System Protection .
    Figure : System Properties
    System properties screen
    The System Protection tab opens.
    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    Figure : System Protection
    System Protection
  3. Click Configure .
  4. To reduce the amount of hard drive space the system reserves for system restores, slide the Max Usage: slider bar to 2%. You can choose more or less depending on how many restore points you want and the capacity of your hard drive.
  5. Click Close .
Step 6: Confirming that enough hard drive space is available in Windows 7
Check the amount of free space on the hard drive to make sure you have enough space. If free space is too low, less than 5% of total disk space, then errors may occur. Follow these steps to check your hard drive space:
  1. Click Start , and then click Computer .
  2. Right-click the main hard drive, which is usually (C:), and then click Properties .
  3. Click the General tab to see the amount of free space that is available on the hard drive.
    Figure : Drive Properties showing free space available
    Image of free space on the hard drive
  4. If less than 5% of total hard drive space is available, avoid errors by freeing up more hard drive space.