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A Korean friend has a laptop with Windows 7 and a HDD of 60GB, with only a few MB of space left. Upon inquiry, she only uses 8GB, plus some mandatory Korean software (a few GB), and the problem resides with Windows itself as it is taking 40 of her 60 GB!

As a Korean she is stuck with Windows, but is there anything I can do to bring Windows back to its senses? I don't want to gain a few GB at this point, I am looking for a solution which would bring back some sanity to this system.

Winsxs takes up 17GB, and Installer 14 GB. System32 is reasonable with 3GB...

Edit: I'd like to stress she is not a power user. It's a mid range laptop that she uses ONLY FOR BROWSING. She never installed any software aside from the minimum needed in Korea to access websites and pay (which is why Koreans are stuck with using Windows). No games, nothing. I'd like to cut down on the Winsxs and Installer folders especially, but it seems Windows won't allow that. What do?

migrated from serverfault.com Aug 28 '17 at 10:01

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

  • Run TreeSize Free to work out where the space is being taken. Delete restore points. Run Disk Cleanup, twice, second time for system files. Delete files from the few temp folders on the disk. Empty the recycle bin. Disable hibernate. Really, you just need to Google this, there are dozens of websites that will tell you how to do it. – Tim Aug 28 '17 at 2:55
  • @Tim have you read my question? Disk cleanup and temp folders hold nothing. I will gain a few hundreds MB by doing that whereas I need to reduce it way more than that. I don't want to lose hibernation because Windows takes up so much space for no reason (it would gain me only 3GB anyway). – Shautieh Aug 28 '17 at 3:11
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    @DarkMoon that is my problem: A quick search told me those folders should not be messed with. I do not find it acceptable that Windows 7 takes up 40 GB, or even 34 GB for that matter. I was hoping for a solution to get those two massive folders down in size. – Shautieh Aug 28 '17 at 3:58
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    A quick and dirty idea: How about cloning the disk using a disk cloning tool and replacing it with a drive with more capacity? Is it viable for your friend? – jpangamarca Jan 15 '18 at 22:57
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    @Shautieh Yeah, but that's not gonna happen, it's Windows, it's bloated, and it's a monopoly. So you'll have to choose between a bigger drive and a lighter OS. I'd go for the first one. The alternative OSs (ahem, desktop Linux) are awful. – jpangamarca Mar 2 '18 at 17:48
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  • Run the Disk Cleanup (also delete system files here).

  • You can safely delete the content of the following folders (close all programms before doing): C:\Windows\Temp\ C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Temp; Note: The Disk letter (in this case C) can be different. Replace "username" with yours. After that reboot.

  • If you don't need the hibernate function for that laptop, you can turn it off. This will will give you the amount of memory the laptop has, in disk space:

    1. open a command prompt (cmd) with administrative privileges
    2. type in the following command: powercfg -H off
  • If you have a second partition, you can change the location of the page file. Default it's on the system disk. Press Windows-Key + R, type control sysdm.cpl and hit enter. Click on tab "Advanced" and then again "Advanced" at "Performance". In the new window again "Advanced" and then click on "Change...". You could also change the size of the pagefile if you want - however it's not recommended to do that.

  • remove programs you don't need anymore.

So I think, this is it what you can do within windows directly without a risk, damaging your OS. To get more space you have to delete data you don't need. To find huge amount of used space, the Tool Treesize Free, mentioned above is a good go.

  • Thank you for your answer but there are almost no programs installed, and all are mandatory, temp folder is small, and I could turn off the hibernate function to gain a few GB but IMHO not nearly enough, and why should I remove a big functionality of the system for Windows to take less than 40GB? – Shautieh Aug 28 '17 at 10:13
  • Well the C:\Windows\Temp folder is often really big because of Windows Updates which stay stored there. Sometimes you can get around 8 GB of Space when deleting the content. So taking a look there is always a good attempt. Nowdays nearly every new notebook has a SSD inside. With a SSD the power consumption when suspending the laptop is very low. So you can easy go with that and don't need the hibernation any more (if you don't plan to keep in "sleep" mode for several weeks, which is normally not the case). Also if you don't need this feature at all, why let it enabled? It's just a suggestion. – I-GaLaXy-I Aug 28 '17 at 11:02
  • Disk cleanup + wiping out the content of the temp folders made me gain 200MB. I disabled hibernate even though I think it should be a basic feature, and gained 3GB. There is almost no program to delete (the few I could delete would made me gain a few MB)... In the meantime, Installer and Winsxs take up tens of GB..! – Shautieh Sep 2 '17 at 6:04
  • Well you could try the tool PatchCleaner mentioned here: superuser.com/a/1050442/694934 But before doing this, I would highly recommend you to make a full backup (e.g. with Acronis) as it's never recommended to change seomthing in this folder! – I-GaLaXy-I Oct 24 '17 at 10:50
  • The hibernate function is a basic feature, as it's enabled by default. You get disk space by disabling it, because windows reserves disk space so the feature can actually work properly. When you hibernate, your date in your memory (RAM) is basically written to your hard disk and after that your computer is turned of completly. When you start it next time, it loads this data back into RAM. So if windows wouldn't do that you wouldn't be able to use hibernation. This is just like the feature works - also in other operation systems. – I-GaLaXy-I Oct 24 '17 at 11:02
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As an addition to the already present answer here, I'd like to expand on the "remove programs you don't need anymore" part. Removing programs (i.e. uninstalling them) is often not enough - they might be sloppy and leave some files around. Mostly that's not a problem if the files are a few kilobytes in size, but some applications leave around huge amounts of data. One way to get rid of this is to actually look for it and delete it. Look in C:/Program Data for example, and you might find a folder with the name of a program you uninstalled, that still takes up space!

However, just looking around is inefficient, so I would recomment installing WinDirStat to analyze the disk and get a nice summary of what is taking up the most space, in descending order. That way you can take a look at the "biggest offenders" at once, and see if you can do something about them.

Caution: be careful when deleting program files. Only delete folders from a program you know you have uninstalled, if there's something that you don't know what it is, it's better to leave it, because it might be important.

So fo example, let's say you uninstalled Opera. If you see a folder somewhere called Opera with a lot of files inside, you can probably delete that. If you however see something cryptic like "mscbx22" (just made that up), don't delete it if you don't know what it is.

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    +1 for the WinDirStat and ProgramFiles folder tips. – jpangamarca Jan 26 '18 at 22:01

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