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I had a habit of copying everything when I backup my old computers in the past, system files and all. The whole volume.

I recently purchased a new hard drive (my 4th 500 GB drive). Now all 4 of them are full with about 250GB left on the newest one. Its crazy. Here is why.

On the other 3 drives are entire copies of old volumes from different computers I had. I would estimate that in most cases, the system (OS, various programs like Office, Visual Studio etc) are taking up huge amounts of space.

Is there a tool that can scan the drives, match the various files from above, and remove them for me, leaving me only with the files I need. I would not mind if it did not get everything. But even if it got 50% of the system junk it would be helpful.

Yes I learned the lesson of keeping my files in a single place now separate from my system and backing them up properly. But I cant afford to lose the old stuff as much of it is tax and business related.

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2 Answers 2

You could use a tool like WinDirStat or Scanner(my favorite) to display which folders on the drives are consuming the most information then selectively delete what you don't want/need. There are 'tools' to scan for 'system' files, but if you're talking about data you care about I wouldn't trust a script/app (even one I wrote) to ensure it's something I didn't want.

Scanner and WinDirStat are easy enough to use; point to the drive you want to scan and wait a minute then view the graphs. You could see what folders eating up the most space then delete the offending folder (either from the tool or through explorer).

Hope that helps.

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Q: Is there a tool that can scan the drives, match the various files from above, and remove them for me, leaving me only with the files I need?

A: How would the program know what files you need?

A: Delete the Windows directory, the Program Files directory and every user directory that isn't for your user account.

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Im thinking about some program that has some kind of index of os files, along with an index of files added when you install some of the most popular applications like office, or visual studio etc. It could then just delete those files on the other drive, leaving everything else for me to go through manually. Im surprised something like this doesnt exist, its quite easy to get file lists for programs that are installed. I know there are potentially thousands of such programs that could be installed, but starting with OS, and the most popular would get rid of a whole lot. –  Francis Rodgers Jan 25 at 7:08

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