Tech Tip of the Week: Reclaim Some Storage Space with a Few Simple Tweaks

By on December 28, 2009, 3:08 AM
In the age of inexpensive 2 terabyte hard drives, a few gigs might not matter, but there are situations where you might need that extra space.

For instance, if you purchase a solid-state drive to contain your operating system, applications and games, you'll grow to cherish every salvageable gigabyte. There a few simple adjustments you can make within Windows to regain some drive space.

For starters, you can disable hibernation. Hibernation basically writes your current system state to a non-volatile memory source, such as your primary HDD or SSD, allowing you to turn off your system and restore your progress at a later date. To save a little more space, you could also reduce the size (or entirely disable) system restore. Granted, it's better to be safe than sorry, but there are better backup solutions out there.

Read our Tech Tip of the Week.

User Comments: 14

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Guest said:

Hmm... system restore? That's on my useless applications list to be honest. It's one of the first things I turn off, alongside User Account Control (UAC) and Windows Defender when I re-install Windows on my PC

Puiu Puiu said:

I also use CCleaner often and i don't use hibernation. But since i don't have a big HDD i but i burn a lot of DVD's (and i take care of them so that they work even if i didn't touch them for years).

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

IMO the built in tools can provide a good enough way to clean up. CCleaner may be nice, but Disk Cleanup is already there to clean up temp files and such. Under "More Options" it allows to remove old system restore points without disabling the entire system, which I wouldn't do, as in more than one case that helped me restore a PC to a working state.

mailpup mailpup said:

Windows XP

Open the Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > Power Options > Hibernate > Uncheck 'Enable hibernation'.

I have Windows XP Home SP3 and I don't have "Performance and Maintenance" in the Control Panel. It goes from the Control Panel directly to Power Options.

JudaZ said:

That is really some seriously bad advice ...all of them.

Sure, you can turn of hibernation...if you dont use it that is...

the virtual memory is better to be set for windows to maintain on its own...does a hell of alot better then some bad advice from your general pc mag in the store or your own fiddeling,

...most people need it to be the size its set to, or larger

System restore, can seem pointless.....but for the average user its quite good to have enables...and it hardly takes any space anyway..

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

@mailpup: The XP portions were written based on XP Professional SP3, but I suspect XP Home is no different. Are you using "Classic View" in the control panel (white background) or "Category View" (blue background)?

@JudaZ: In case you missed it, we said altering the page file is not encouraged -- but frankly, it can be adjusted with no performance impact to save space on some systems.

Also, it was *first* suggested that users simply resize the capacity dedicated to system restore. Disabling is an afterthought, and entirely worth mentioning as many users *do* have better backup procedures in place, and in most cases issues can be worked around without system restore.

You are reading this as an end-all list for *every* Windows user, when it's actually targeting a select group of people who are comfortable with making such adjustments.

mailpup mailpup said:

Ack! You are so right. I'm using Classic View. My bad. I've been using it so long I forgot all about Category View.

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

No problem. I prefer the Classic View as well.

tengeta tengeta said:

Good tips, that along with the cleaner program ASUS provided with my netbook, I keep my Windows XP partition under 3 gigs. I should mention I also use Windows XP Fundamentals on my netbook, gives a much smaller footprint to start with but is hard to find legitimate copies of.

SourDo said:

Does anyone here have tips for how to remove the backup files that are created by Windows Update for Windows 7? I've tried Googling this, but so far no luck.

Back in Windows XP, the backup files for each hotfix or service pack were stored in their own hidden and compressed folders under C:\Windows, which made it easy to identify and permanently delete backup files once you were confident that your PC was running fine after a Windows Update. For Windows 7 (and I assume ever since Vista), the OS handles these backup files differently and places them who-knows-where.

Assuming Windows 7's backup files from Windows Update take up a similar amount of space as Windows XP did, that can really add up to a lot of wasted space over time, especially on a smaller SSD. So once you know that your system is stable and you never want to revert to the pre-patch files, it would be nice to recover the space.

By the way, I know about C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download, and this is not the same as what I've posted about above. This is the path where Windows Updates (for XP, Vista, and Win7) places the downloaded patches, and I already delete the contents of that folder from time to time.

Thanks in advance for any tips regarding the question I asked in my first sentence!

Guest said:

Where can I "configure" under Vista?

Am I the only one not seeing the configure option?

My Windows 7 machine has it but not my Vista so I'm guessing its a Windows 7 only option.

NightAngel79 said:

same issue here, vista home premium. no option to configure.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

thanks for the tips

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Yeah, Vista does not have a Configure button in the System Protection window, I'm using Ultimate.

But if you uncheck the drive that has the system restore set on it, a popup asks you if you're sure you want to turn System Restore off, so that's probably how its done in Vista.

In 7 you hit configure and then select option to turn off...

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