Jesus 'n Jim
a PC and somewhat Mac oriented site with Software and Repair Info and how-to's on Using Computers

Make space on C:


Ran out of space on C:?  Here's some ways to save space.

  • move your fonts directory: copy the directory, change the registry entry HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folder\Fonts from C:\WINDOWS\Fonts to some other drive like d:\fonts, reboot, and zap the old directory.  voila, an extra 28MB.  Realize that some installers may hard-code the directory, so don't just delete the old directory/folder altogether. This is a tough one.
  • it has been said you can just delete the files in the c:\temp or c:\windows\temp directory, but this is not true on anything but Windows 3.1 machines and maybe windows 95! these directories are used as install locations... your machine will behave unpredictably if you just delete stuff out of it. In MS Word and Excel versions around 2.0 or so, it would create temporary files and leave them there, and you could delete them. but this is not the case anymore. Windows XP,Vista,7 has a "delete temporary files" feature that does the cleanup for you when you try to empty the recycle bin.
  • Got Win2000/XP/Vista/7? go to the control panel into the performance and maintenance section, and you should see a link that says "free up disk space". click on it. I do NOT suggest that you go into the "more options" and "remove windows components that you do not use". How do you predict what windows will interpret as unused? what if you use charmap for special wordprocessing characters or fax service, and it takes it away? And you don't know what you will use in the future. If you do use it, you are on your own.
    Before you try this, I would first suggest that you bring up a Windows Explorer (not IE) — it's in the Accessories... or if you are into the keyboard, hold down the Windows Key and hit E. another option is opening up My Computer. Then make sure you have a folders view (if the Folder button isn't down) in the left half panel by clicking the Folders button on the toolbar if the folder tree with little pluses next to drive letters isn't there. Expand the drive in question, probably C:. right-click on the Windows or Winnt folder, or whatever folders (not System Volume Information folder! maybe not a safe one) and pick Properties, Advanced button (you don't have to wait for the churning numbers), and click the Compress checkbox. click OK, and go through the hoops to make sure that this change applies to all subfolders and files. if you miss it you will have to undo it, redo it, and wait a long time. when it complains about files it couldn't compress, just click the "ignore all" button and it won't bother you for every little mishap. after all files processed (could take hours), click any OK buttons until the dialog boxes are all gone. do the same thing for any other folders you might find useful to compress. \Temp is possibly a good one, \Program Files and Documents and Settings is a good one. By the way, MPEG and JPEG files are not compressable. Text files and HTML files like Word/Wordpad documents and spreadsheets are VERY compressable. If the folders I mentioned are not visible, you will probably need to click something in Tools|Folder Options|Advanced Settings of the Explorer to allow you to see system folders. Once they are shown to you, they will always be shown.
    Fair Warning: Don't tinker around inside winnt, windows, program files, documents and settings, and system volume information folders unless you really know what you are doing, because you can royally mess up your system and have to reinstall everything including the OS from scratch. Setting a permission or excryption on a folder (especially the ones I just mentioned!) can cause a lot of havoc or a need for a reinstall. compression is fine enough. If it can't be compressed, your OS will simply complain. Disk Compression Technology has only recently stabilized around the XP era at least as far as windows goes. Can you trust it when the filesystem gets corrupted? I don't know for sure. I think you can lose a lot more data that way if your machine decides to freeze up. Only testing will tell. I am testing a Windows 2000 box with nearly full compression because it only has a 4GB disk. So far so good. I don't know if the registry got compressed, probably not since it was open.
  • Go to Internet Explorer and go into Tools, Options (or if you have an icon that isn't just a shortcut, right-click on it and pick properties). you can set the maximum amount of space used by IE for Temporary Internet Files to whatever size suits your need. in newer versions, you can set a megabyte or gigabyte limit, although megabytes is more reasonable. older versions used a percentage of hard disk space. If you have a percentage, consider your disk size — 10% is pretty big. if you are really pressed for space, click the button to "delete temporary internet files" (but don't mess with your cookies). If you are on IE7 or later, there is a "delete browsing history" button, from there choose "delete temporary internet files". you should make sure you don't delete the other stuff or some web sites may not work as expected (if they have cookies set). Some cookies are essential. some are not.
  • if on XP and drive is full, use fsutil.
  • consider using Casper 5.0 software and a larger hard disk of the same type (IDE? SATA?) to upgrade to a larger hard disk. you will probably need to swap drives after you are done and wipe the old one with autoclave or dban. At least until I can get my wipegui working in DOS.
  • copy your favorite files onto a USB external drive (preferably hard disk) and then delete them off of the source machine. there is no way to "move" across drives in windows. I suggest you leave the drive installed and powered as long as the computer is powered so there is no chance of disconnecting the NTFS or FAT filesystem while the cache has not been flushed. If you need to disconnect the device, use "safely remove hardware" icon in the system tray (lower right hand corner of screen).