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I'm in the process of backing up an XP system, and I'm trying to save as much space as I can for long term storage. I would like to know what directories that might accumulate with time I can safely remove, to minimize the space required. What can I do?

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1  
Uninstall any games you can - i found that they're the single biggest source of files on my system. –  Journeyman Geek Feb 19 '12 at 3:31
    
@JourneymanGeek: That was the firs thing I did:-) –  PearsonArtPhoto Feb 19 '12 at 3:33
    
You can also remove windows components. Remove help files (Though, I can't guarantee that removing help files would be safe!) –  bakytn Feb 19 '12 at 5:24

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Having been concerned about disk space Windows takes for a long time, I'll throw in my share.

  • Scour through each user's home folder and My Documents folder and remove unneeded files
  • Run cleanmgr. On its Advanced tab, also clear System restore checkpoints (if you have them enabled at all)
  • Remove the hibernation file (hiberfil.sys) and/or relocate the swap file (pagefile.sys)
  • Delete everything in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download, which contains Windows Update download cache
  • Delete everything in C:\Windows\Temp
  • Delete everything in C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp
  • Delete the hidden C:\Windows\$Nt*Uninstall* folders, which allow you to uninstall updates you installed over time (not that you need it, right?). Be careful to not to delete the folder $hf_mig$
  • Search the partition for *.log files and delete them
  • Using CCleaner may also help (or may not)
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Always delete you're temporary internet files, as well as system temporary files. I haven't used XP in a while, so I'm not sure where those files are stored. I'm guessing many are under C:/Temp/. Either way, windows comes with a disk cleanup utility. All of the places it offers to clean should be acceptable locations to delete files from, as long as you don't know of anything off hand that you need from there. Let me know if you can't find the disk cleanup utility and I will try and find it for you.

Deleting temporary files, ranging from program setup left overs, to cookies, could free as much as 2gbs, depending on how often you clean it.

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1.) Turn Off system restore, then turn it back On and then create a manual system restore point, this will clean up a gig or more of disk space, do this right before you back up.

2.) Then open a command prompt and type

cd\

hit enter key, then

erase *.tmp /s

hit enter key (be very careful to type the erase command correctly, space between e and *, between p and / also)

this will delete all your temp files which are safe to delete and can accumulate over time.

3.) empty the recycle bin

4.) Delete any "user" account(s) you don't need anymore. Be careful what you do here, if there is only one user account Do Not delete it.

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try ccleaner.

Following is the description of the program from their website:

Cleans all areas of your Computer

Internet Explorer

Temporary files, history, cookies, Autocomplete form history, index.dat.

Firefox

Temporary files, history, cookies, download history, form history.

Google Chrome

Temporary files, history, cookies, download history, form history.

Opera

Temporary files, history, cookies.

Safari

Temporary files, history, cookies, form history.

Windows

Recycle Bin, Recent Documents, Temporary files and Log files.

Registry Cleaner

Advanced features to remove unused and old registry entries.

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Look into the hidden files and folders as well as deleting some of those I'm sure could free up space. I have Win7, so to locate the hidden files and folders: click My Computer, open up your C: drive, click on Organize in the top left, scroll down to Folders and Search Options, click View, and select the radio button that says Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives then delete the hidden files and you see fit that would free up space.

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Why would you just delete hidden files and folders? –  rubixibuc Feb 19 '12 at 9:01
    
Not just the hidden files and folders. Your above comments in addition to Andrey Vihrov's were thorough. Mine was just an "in addition to". –  Christopher Chipps Feb 19 '12 at 17:33

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