Space on the hard drive - tips on retaining the memory

Applies to: Windows 7 Home BasicWindows 7 Home PremiumWindows 7 Professional


My disk is very full and I have some very large files. Which can I delete? How can I recover space otherwise?


If you have installed Windows 7 or Windows Vista on an older PC or a NetBook and your favorite programs set up, the disk space could become scarce in the course of time. Windows then no longer works in the best possible speed. Also system error messages may occur due to lack of hard disk storage.

Note: As an example, the following tips are displayed with Windows 7. Many of the described procedures can be followed in similar way or even identical with Windows Vista or Windows XP. Also, please note that you must restart your system after completion of the respective configuration steps, so that the changes can take effect.

Music and images: It depends on the right file format

When you rip music, careflly rip the music to the right format to save space on the hard disk. If you want to listen to the music on the PC or using a MP3 player, it is sufficient to store the music in the WMA or MP3 format with 128Kbit / s. Only if you want to play the music on your stereo, you are dependent on the WAV format, which requires the tenfold disk space. In terms of sound quality, however, the differences are minor.

Also in image files, the file format shall decide on the memory footprint. If you upload the same photo from your digital camera and then one at a time in the formats JPG, save TIF, PNG and BMP, you immediately see the difference: the JPG format needs the least space, the bitmap format needs the most. Loss of quality JPG to TIF or BMP is relatively low, so you should always use the JPG format when you send pictures via E-Mail or publish on the Web. Almost all digital cameras store images in JPG format anyway, so the question is not after conversion.

It is different for existing images in the BMP or TIF format. If you want to print these images, you should not compress the original file, by changing the file format, because otherwise, detailed information on the screen are lost. You can stay on the safe side if you create only one copy of the original image in JPG format.

By the way: Convert any image files that were created by programs or your system. The applications could otherwise not properly work.

Delete temporary files

Installation residues and temporary files, which is gathering, for example, while surfing on the hard drive are useless and in many cases very memory hungry. You should regularly delete these files to help free the hard drive.

The Windows function Disk Cleanup serves as a garbage collection. Windows can delete the unnecessary files and file remains independently and for each of your drives, and immediately calculate the possible storage space gained.

Manually delete memory-hungry files

Of course, you can manually delete large files if you remove any system or application files. It is not safe to delete files on the system partition, even if it is enormously large files, their meaning is not immediately opened up. These include the normally hidden files pagefile.sys and Hiberfil.sys, depending on the RAM memory between 2 and 4 gigabytes, probably even more.

The file Hiberfil.sys is responsible for the sleep mode. if the setting Hybrid sleep is enabled, the computer saves a copy of Hiberfil.sys system memory file on the hard disk. You can disable this file with the effect that frees disk space in your RAM - so generally 2 to 4GByte.

But, be aware that if the feature is turned off, the hybrid sleep mode doesn't work. When using mobile PCs, you may experience data loss when the battery capacity is exhausted. For this reason, we recommend that you use this tip only on stationary computers, which does not use battery. Follow the steps in How to disable and re-enable hibernation for notebook or NetBook.

The pagefile.sys file is it the paging file. You should not remove this file. But, you can reclaim space by you shrink the pagefile.

On the other hand, you can safely delete very large dump files with the extension DMP. These are created automatically when system problems are generally and these are no longer needed when the system is again stable. You can find possible DMP files in the Windows folder of your system partition.