How-To Geek

Beginner Geek : Simple Tips to Reduce Disk Usage in Windows 7


If you’re wondering what have been taking up space on your hard disk, then you have come to the right place. In today’s article, we’ll show you how to get rid of unneeded files from your computer.

First of all let’s find out what’s hogging your hard disk. We recommend that you download SpaceSniffer. Once you start it up, it will map your hard drive,  and shows big files and folder in your system. SpaceSniffer comes with a user manual that shows you every neat stuff that you can do with SpaceSniffer.


some of our favourite ones are: filtering temporary files …


… or finding files that we have not touched for more than a year; they are usually good candidates for removal.


Among all the files,  Pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys stood out in SpaceSniffer; They occupied six GB of our hard disk.


In a default installation, Windows creates a page file (pagefile.sys) that Windows uses to hold part of a program or memory that does not fit the memory. Microsoft recommends us not to remove this file – even when you have lots of memory. However, we can remove hiberfil.sys from our system, and we wrote an instruction on how to do it.

Cleaning Restore Points

Installing programs or drivers can make Windows run slowly or unpredictably. Windows maintain restore points, and use them to return your PC’s system files and programs to a time when everything works fine. However, restore points do take up a lot of space in our hard disk. We can use disk clean up to remove restore points, but if you decide to do this you won’t be able to roll back your system. Look up Disk Clean up from your start menu and run it as administrator.


Disk Cleanup reduces the number of unnecessary files. It allows you to remove temporary files, empties your recycle bin, and remove a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need.


Open the “More Options” tab and click the clean up button.


You might want to consider scheduling disk clean up to remove old and temporary files from your PC from time to time.

Use CCleaner to Get More Space

While Disk Cleanup is a great tool to delete junk files, CCleaner gives you more options to clean your computer. CCleaner default setting lets you clean IE Junk files, Windows Explorer cache, and system dumps.


Head over to the applications tab and  you will find that you can remove unneeded files from each application selectively. For example, you can choose to clean Firefox cookies, but not Chrome’s.


Windows maintain a set of registry files that stores settings for your PC, for instance, what background that you use for your desktop. Whenever we uninstall program, some unused file association may remain dangling in the registry, and overtime your registry may become bloated and slows down your PC. CCleaner gives you an easy way to clean your registry. Click the registry icon, perform a scan for issues, and click the “fix selected issues button” to clean your registry.


CCleaner gives you a set of tools to remove unneeded files. It’s uninstall loads up files way faster than Windows uninstall “add remove programs”.


System Restore in CCleaner gives more option to remove system restore points than Disk Cleanup. It greys out your  last system restore point, so that you can’t remove it, for safety reason.


Windows will not delete the actual data that you deleted, it simply remove there reference to that file, and overwrite it when you save new data. This pose a risk; some clever geek may sneak into your computer, and reconstruct your data before Windows over write it. If you’re worried, you can instruct CCleaner to clean these kind of data using the “Drive Wiper”.


There are two type of wipe, free space and entire drive. You should select free space only, unless you want to erase every file in the drive.


CCleaner gives you some security options, but simple overwrite will be enough for most occasions.


Head over to the options’ Advance settings and make sure that you select “Save all settings to INI File”. You can also  schedule it to clean your computer on a regular basis. 


We hope that our tips help you get back your hard disk space. Feel free to share any other tips with the other fellow readers in the comments section.

Zainul spends his time trying to make technology more productive, whether it’s Microsoft Office applications, or learning to use web applications to save time.

  • Published 05/23/11

Comments (27)

  1. Ali

    I do all this whenever I update my windows, more the updates, more the restore points take space

  2. Graeme

    An alternative to SpaceSniffer is Disk Space Fan (, which gives a slightly different (and prettier too I might add) way of visualizing your hard drive space. Though at first glance it looks as though SpaceSniffer may have a bit more functionality to it. At least it has more buttons to press.

  3. Pete

    WinDirStat is also a great program to find out where and what is on your disk. It will color code by file type too.

  4. Omar Hafiz

    I want to point out that CCEnhancer can really increase CCleaner’s efficiency and allow to reclaim more space. It adds support for more programs in CCleaner.

  5. BleedblueinFla

    I second WinDirStat. Since it’s portable, I keep a copy on my thumb drive. One less program cluttering up my hard drive (not that it’s large by any means)

  6. slimzky

    WinDirStat is way better

  7. rroberto

    Would love to see an article like this for freeing up disk space in Win XP.
    Checked your archives and couldn’t find one — but I’m sure you’ve done one.
    Link please?

  8. anon

    That Space sniffer looks awesome running on an SSD, reminds me of rain drops on a puddle of water.

    Cool program! Also another cool program for space is jdisk report

    This is also for Win7. Save some space. If you continue be careful of what you delete.

  9. Anomaly

    Glarys Utilities has a disk usage module that I prefer to all the others mentioned here. It uses a bar graph format that is much easier to read.

  10. justwhy

    I think the text applies to Xp just as well. The hibernate removal is different but the link has instructions for XP as well.
    Is there any reason to use WinDirStat over Treesize by Jamsoft? The free (old) version is small, portable and shows where your data is in great detail.

  11. michel

    Why should we “save all settings to ini file”? It would be nice to know why you’re recommending this, rather than expecting us to blindly follow your advice.

  12. George B-S

    On modern 500 gig and upwards drives it’s really not worth the bother of this sort of fiddling about.

    The “finding files that we have not touched for more than a year; they are usually good candidates for removal” is frankly ludicrous. I am speechless that you even suggest it. Stupid.

  13. krunk fu

    I like WinDirStat and for clearing temp files I prefer CleanUp!

  14. Parsnip

    – What about foreign language HELP files, for Windows, as well as for applications? I’m unlikely to need Catalan, Korean AND Turkish. Some of these files are BIG, and small ones are MANY.
    – And files that are listed for an operating system that won’t even fit on my computer?
    – And drivers/adapters for extinct accessories, or for accessories that I’d NEVER buy?

  15. Paul DeLeeuw

    One possible hazard- On my computer, after wiping free space, CCleaner’s own Defraggler could not defrag the drive. Seems unable to use the wiped bytes as moveable empty space. Defrag took over 100 hours.

  16. fartz

    JDiskReport is very pro

  17. Paulo Cezar

    I use Scanner ( ) by Steffen Gerlach. Portable and Freeware.

  18. Richard Bishop

    NEVER and I repeat, NEVER remove unused file extensions with any file cleanup tool. It will make Windows act all sorts of weird

  19. SDreamer

    Might want to address making the system restore disk usage smaller through advance protection settings.

  20. Yousif Anwar

    Just find us a permanent solution for the /Winsxs folder under /Windows and I will be so thankful!!

  21. ryan

    I like treesizefree to look at what’s taking up my harddrive space

  22. Danny

    CCleaner is the most over-rated piece of software I’ve ever used. There are dozens of “disk cleaners” that do a better job – even Windows Disk Cleanup – and without the consequences of some newbie user running the CCleaner Registry component – which is absolutely worthless. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why anyone would use or recommend CCleaner for anything.

  23. Chad

    How to Reduce Disk Usage in Windows 7: Uninstall it.

  24. Bodsda

    Recommeding removing files over 1 year old is a very, very bad idea. Just because a file hasn’t been modified in a year does not mean it has not been used.

    I personally dislike ccleaner – it doesn’t have many features worth using. I have never seen browser cookies fill up a hard drive, and I don’t particularly care about having them, so why would I remove them?

    @Yousif Anwar
    That folder is the microsoft componant store, and I’m afraid there is no fix; largely because it is working as intended

    I am a fan of treesize for disk space monitoring. It gives a far superior ‘single glance’ overview of where the problem is.

    How is a program supposed to know what ‘you’ would never buy?


  25. Frenk

    Аmong other things are sometimes a problem with a guide OS Windows and you know why? Frigging file thumbs.db it is the key in the conductor and retains an early user action, such as a picture assigned to the folder (you may sometimes notice that some folders contain the same pictures that other, in other words, these folders pictures have not been assigned). Another problem with the transfer of files from the web or torrent – client on it, too, affects a file thumbs.db ’cause, torrent – client interacts with the conductor, but in this case CCleaner better to shoot daw with DNS.

    You can also use another method: go every time in the Start menu and type the name of the file explorer and delete it that way every time before shutting down the PC. But the program CCleaner eliminates this difficult way, and besides very many times and increases the safety of the users in the system and work just with the computer.

    CCleaner is Best Product!!!!!

  26. Akira6968

    I agree totality Frenk with, he sense makes most. Frenk is Best Commentator!

    George B-S…. has superiority issues. Calm down buddy.

    There’s a lot of suggestions throughout these comments! Hopefully I can find something useful… only 215 out of 465GB free, need to make some space.

    Only thing I could think to add, it seems like a good idea to backup your registry before letting a program delete stuff from it. System restore, or whatever backs up registries. I usually just take hundreds of screenshots of each setting and save them in MSPaint.


  27. jim

    Zainul, your good suggestions and the comments noted, thank you.
    i wonder about two more ways to reduce the space needed by the system partition:

    1.) what (if any) files do we not need at all? (I assume that we would back them up before removing them.) What about all the downloaded update files, once they are installed – do they not leave no-longer-used footprints behind them? How many other one-use files can be eliminated? How many fonts or other-language data files or other one-time or special-purpose might we get rid of?

    2) what files could we move OFF THE SYTEM PARTITION, perhaps to another partition or hard drive? Certainly the swap file is one of those, and (i hope ) hiberfil.sys – they can be relocated, and so can the cache files used by offline files. Surely there are all kinds of temporary files or data files used by the system which could be relocated (if we only knew which and how)!

    I notice that Windows grows over time, and continues to grow, even if we do not deliberately install more software. The usual cleaners do not deal with this issue – can you?

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