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I have an MSI i7 16GB RAM machine that came with Windows 10. It has 1 SSD that apparently is partitioned into 2 areas: 1. OS Install drive (C:) which has 134GB and the other Data D: drive for extra storage which has 82GB.

The problem is that I've had to installed software which would not allow me to choose which drive to install to and chose C drive by default on multiple occasions since I've gotten this machine. Every single time I've had the choice, I've installed to the non-OS drive, including programs and all data files.

Unfortunately, that apparently isn't good enough because I am now at less than 10GB left of the drive and at this rate, it's going to completely fill up and I don't know what will happen. It tends to go up each time I install updates, drivers, and other programs that need to be installed on the OS drive.

What are some solutions to this problem? I've considered getting a new SSD installed but that will pretty much start me from scratch, huh? Another option is trying to go through and find anything unnecessary on the C drive and remove it. Are there any utilities I can use to analyze my drive and find out in descending order which files are taking up the most space?

Any other ideas? Thanks so much.

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  • I'd start with %SystemRoot%\System32\cleanmgr.exe with quite radical settings and then use WinddirStat to see where space may be wasted.
    – LotPings
    Jan 19, 2017 at 23:41
  • Your best bet is to move the boundary between C: and D:. Reduce the size of D: to a smaller, but acceptable free space, move it to the end of the disc, then expand C: to fill the free space to the D: boundary. This is easily accomplished by running gparted from a Linux LiveCD (Ubuntu Live is ideal for this sort of thing). Needless to say, back up everything first. Ultimately, though, you are only buying time until you are forced to upgrade to a bigger disc.
    – AFH
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:09
  • Another answer is to use symbolic links to move some of the standard directories (eg C:\Users) to the other drive. Also, if you upgraded from earlier Windows, you may find a downgrade directory C:\Windows.old, which will be ~20GB, and you don't need it if you'll never go back.
    – AFH
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:21
  • @AFH Wow, thanks, problem solved! I ended up creating junctions to several folders (such as AndroidNDK) which I essentially never use as well as disabling hibernate since I also never use that. On top of that, moved my VMs over to another drive as well. Freed up a ton of space. Honestly, Microsoft hogged a ton of space up with the whole Visual Studio suite stuff. Also thanks to LotPings as I used WinddirStat to figure this all out.
    – the_endian
    Jan 20, 2017 at 3:25
  • For the benefit of others, I have submitted my comments as an answer, with due acknowledgements to @LotPings and yourself.
    – AFH
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:47

2 Answers 2

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You have several options:-

1. Move the boundary between C: and D:

Reduce the size of D: to a smaller, but acceptable free space, move it to the end of the disc, then expand C: to fill the free space to the D: boundary. This is easily accomplished by running gparted from a Linux LiveCD (Ubuntu Live is ideal for this sort of thing). Needless to say, back up everything first.

2. Use symbolic links to move directories

If you use symbolic links, you can move some of the standard directories (eg C:\Users) to the other drive. For example, to move the Users directory, copy C:\Users to D:\Users, rename C:\Users to C:\Users.orig and make C:\Users a link to D:\Users. Because of open files in normal operation, you will probably need safe mode or an external bootable disc for these operations. Once you are satisfied that the new configuration is satisfactory, you can delete C:\Users

3. Find directories and large files which can be moved

  • If you upgraded from earlier Windows, you may find a downgrade directory C:\Windows.old, which will be ~20GB, and you don't need it if you'll never go back.
  • Move pagefile.sys from its default location on C:\ to D:\: in Control Panel -> System and Security -> System, click on Advanced system settings, then in the Advanced tab click the Performance Settings button; in the new Advanced tab click the Change... button and uncheck automatic management; now you can remove the paging file from C: and allocate it on D:.
  • If you don't hibernate, as per your comment, you can remove hiberfil.sys from Command Prompt (Admin) by typing powercfg.exe -h off.
  • You can use WinDirStat to find the largest files and directories on your system (I have linked to the portable version, so you don't need to install yet another application) - thanks to @LotPings' comment for reminding me of this very useful utility.

Ultimately, though, if you have nearly filled the 134GB partition, you are only buying time until you are forced to upgrade to a bigger disc.

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I'll point out an issue that you didn't mention. If your SSD is almost full, it's performance will suffer. SSD's have to do background garbage collection, so that's there's free space for writes, without making the writes wait.

From this article: http://www.howtogeek.com/165542/why-solid-state-drives-slow-down-as-you-fill-them-up/

They found that “minimum performance improves substantially once you hit 25% spare area for these [consumer] drives.” Their final recommendation was that you should “plan on using only about 75% of [your drive’s] capacity if you want a good balance between performance consistency and capacity.”

I don't know what size flash drive you have, but prices are good now and performance probably better. I would bite the bullet and upgrade to a larger flash drive. It's easy nowadays to clone the old one to new one.

I just did a windows 10 clone from spinning HDD to flash drive. Very simple. Even though I didn't force 4k alignment on the clone and had to fix that afterwards. Easy tools available. I used a USB3 to SATA3 cable (cheap) to connect the flash drive for the clone. (so no, you don't 'start from scratch' windows, all your apps and data, are exactly the same (I didn't expand partition sizes, but that's easy to do too, if the new is bigger than the old)

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  • You need to properly quote and cite your sources. At this point I can't tell what are your own original words, and what are the words of Simon Wullhorst, the author of that article.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 20, 2017 at 1:04
  • I used "Their final recommendation" and "They found" when the words weren't mine. (actually they were from another third party in the article). I didn't want to go into too much detail since it's common knowledge that SSD's work this way. Here's another article that has more detail. thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz/… Jan 20, 2017 at 16:29
  • You still need to properly quote and cite your material. Even if you only want to quote that single statement, you need to cite and quote the original author of the statement, anything short of that is considered plagiarism. You have the ability to properly quote and cite the original author of the statement, you even know the original source of the statement, so go ahead and do what is required to properly quote and cite the statement.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 20, 2017 at 17:40

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