How to free up space on your Windows 7 Hard Drive

What Is Taking Up Space On My Windows 7 Hard Drive?

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Windows 7 has become the standard operating system for many home computers and comes with a whole host of useful features.

It can, however, take up a lot of valuable space on your desktop and laptop, so knowing exactly where space is being allocated to, and what you can afford to lose, is important – and we have created the ultimate guide to helping you achieve this!


How Can I Tell What Is Taking Up Space On My Hard Drive Windows 7?

The first step in freeing up space is to see where you are currently losing it. There are a couple of options to help you determine where space is being spent, and these are:



Task Manager

This tool will show you which programs are using the most disk space at any given time. You can also use it to see how much memory each program uses, and this can help you decide whether a program should remain or be culled.

You can bring the Task Manager up by selecting Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard. This will bring up a menu including Task Manager, and you can click this to see the programs that are currently running.

Click “More Details” at the bottom of this screen to see just how much memory and space each program is taking up.



Show Hidden Files

Another option is to show any files on your hard drive which may be hidden. This will reveal all of the files and folders which are not normally visible. These could include temporary internet files, cached downloads, old documents, etc.

To show hidden files on Windows 7, you need to head to Start, then click Control Panel, and Appearance and Personalization.

Select Folder Options, click the View tab and then head to Advanced settings. Here, you will see an option to Show hidden files – select this, and hidden files will be displayed.

This gives you a complete overview of what is actually on your laptop or computer, and you can use this information to free up space.

If you want to remove hidden files, then right-click on their name and select “Hide”. To view them again, simply right-click on their names again and select “Unhide”.



Disk Cleanup Tool

If you are having problems getting rid of some files, or if you are unsure about something, then you might find the Disk Cleanup Tool helpful. This tool allows you to clean out your hard drive completely, removing unwanted files and folders.

The tool does this automatically, but you can also choose specific items to delete if required. To access the tool, press Start, then head to Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and Disk Cleanup. Launch the tool, and then follow the instructions.

It’s worth noting that the Disk Cleanup Tool cannot be used to clear out large amounts of data, as it only removes files and folders from your main storage area (the C:\ drive).

If you want to get rid of larger amounts of data, you’ll need to do this manually.

Final Thoughts

Computers are clever, but it is all too easy for sneaky temporary files or unwanted programs to make their way in and take up space.

As a result, it is a good idea to regularly check your hard drive and ensure that there are no bulky or unwanted files; this can slow down your system and make it hard to find what you need.

By performing regular maintenance, you are ensuring that your computer continues to run smoothly and effectively, and running through the steps we have outlined above will play a big part in this.

Kevin is the Editor of PC Guide. He has a broad interest and enthusiasm for consumer electronics, PCs and all things consumer tech - and more than 15 years experience in tech journalism.