I have a work computer (Windows XP) that is partitioned into a C and a D drive. The C drive is allocated 20GB of space, and is currently hovering around 500MB free.

I scanned it with TreeSize Free to show me where the problem areas are, and there are two:

1) C:\WINDOWS\options

There is a good 5GB of space being taken up here by old setup files, however I am unsure if I can safely delete them. Are they used for uninstallation, or are they simply artifacts of old installs and can be removed?

2) Multiple user directories

This computer was shared by the whole department before it came to me. Now I am the only user, and would like to clear out this area as well. Can I simply delete their user directories?


I have already run Disc Cleanup, and that freed about 2GB of space for me. What I'd like to do is get some extra breathing room on top of what has been already freed.

  • You probably can't delete the user profiles by yourself (that's the case where I work). Ask your local IT department to do it for you. – alex Oct 27 '09 at 9:44
  • Is it possible to uninstall some software/tools (or atleast move from c: to D: if you MUST have them) to scrounge more space? – Critical Skill Oct 27 '09 at 9:55
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    @alex: i think you can indeed delete other users profiles if you have local admin previleges – Critical Skill Oct 27 '09 at 10:02
  • @Critical Skill: the computer came imaged from IT...i don't have access to the setup files to move them :/ (good suggestion though) – the_e Oct 27 '09 at 10:30

Three simple options:

  • Use the disk cleanup as described in the other answers.
  • A simple other solution is moving some old (archived) files to the D drive.
  • Delete some unused programs: control panel->add or remove programs

You can remove old users from Control panel->user accounts After you've removed them, check the "C:/documents and settings/" folder. There you can remove all old user folders. (NOTE: all documents stored under those users will be removed, make sure you won't need those for your work, or have them backed-up)

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    If they are domain accounts (which it sounds like) they will not be listed in the Users applet in control panel. There is a utility from microsoft called DelProf to delete profiles on XP. – MDMarra Oct 27 '09 at 13:48
  • true, but it depends on how the computer was used for previous 'work'. If it's been in a network or just a stand-alone with multiple user-accounts. – Steef Min Nov 2 '09 at 16:56

your IT department imaged a computer for your with all the rubbish piled up by a ton of previous users??? get 'em fired!!! :)

on a more serious note: talk to them and have the issue resolved. this is a compamy computer under the responsibility of your IT department. they may not be perfect and make mistakes but it is still their responsibility. one thing is for cartain, IT doesn't like their machines to be tampered with by users (with or without help from the outside) and rightly so.

  • It doesn't sound like the IT department imaged it and then restored all the user data. More like they imaged it, a lot of people used it, now it's his work machine. – MDMarra Oct 27 '09 at 13:50

You can right click the disk drive in My Computer select Properties, Tools, Disk Cleanup. That is safe.

  • i have done this, and it has freed up an additional 2GB...what i'd like to do is free up a bit more as well – the_e Oct 27 '09 at 9:30

You can delete all but the latest system restore point to create some sensible space. You can find it in Disk Cleanup -> More Options.

Check this page as well for deletable file extensions.


If you have local admin privileges on your machine, you should be able to get rid of the other user's directories by yourself. Instead of deleting, you should zip them and put the archive(s) on your D: drive.

If somebody wants their old files from your machine, you can make their user directory's archive available to them pretty easily.


The c:\windows\options is used by System Restore to store pristine copies of system files. It can be removed if you have all drivers supplied by the OEM manufacturer and the Windows XP setup files stored somewhere.

If you're absolutely sure that your coworkers haven't forgotten any important files on your computer, then you can delete the profiles as well. If in doubt, make a backup before deleting anything.

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