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Hard drive space missing? The hard drive space on my Lenovo Z500  laptop is 1TB. It has enough space for games, movies, large applications... Where has all my hard drive space gone?

hard drive space

Hard drive space missing?

The hard drive space on my Lenovo Z500  laptop is 1TB. It has enough space for games, movies, large applications and everything else that you might need. I have divided it into two partitions – one of 100 GB and the other one with the rest. It’s formatted like that so I won’t have to format the entire HDD in case I want to reinstall the operating system .

With all the OS, the programs, games and everything else, my system partition was occupied in a proportion of 58% (58 GB). All this until a day ago when I started to see that some of my free hard drive space was missing. First it was 10 GB less, then 20 GB, then 30 GB less until it showed me that I have only 4 GB free. I started to investigate and I found that a big part of my missing hard drive space was in the backup file created for system restore. I suppose that I activated it recently without realizing or when I installed the latest software update from Microsoft.  How did I recuperated my missing hard drive space? It’s as simple as going to Start – Control Panel – System and Security – System – System Protection. Here you select the drive that has your OS and you push Configure.  In the Configure tab all you have to do is to turn off the system protection for that particular drive. You also can leave it active and adjust the maximum size used for system protection. In my case this was set to 50 GB and it already occupied 36 GB.

Turning off system protection

I must mention that the settings are for a Windows 7 64 bit OS. My Lenovo Z500 comes with preinstalled Windows 8, but as I really hate this OS I had to change it to Windows 7. You can find information on how I did it in one of my previous posts : Installing Windows 7 on a GPT HDD – Lenovo Z500.

In my case this is where the missing hard drive space was. If this is not your case you can check some additional options in order to free some space on your computer:

– A place where your hard drive space might be is in the Hibernation file. If you have a fast enough computer, as most of us have nowadays,  you really don’t need the Hibernation file (hiberfil.sys). This file is really used only if you want to put your computer into deep sleep. The file can be as big as the amount of RAM that you have installed in your computer. So it’s a big one. To get rid of it you have to disable the hibernation option and to delete the file. You do that by opening the Command Prompt with administrative rights and type two simple commands: first is – “powercfg -h off“ and the second is “del C:hiberfil.sys“. Both this commands are without the quotes.

– Hard drive space that you could recover is found also in the Page file. This is also a file that can be deleted, but it is not recommended. You can see this file if you’ll change the settings for your folders to “view protected operating system files“. You’ll win some hard drive space, but you will lose some of your computers performance. This file is your “virtual memory“ or your “swap space“, the place where information from your RAM goes when it is not used. I wouldn’t touch that file if I were you. You can although modify it to decrease a little the space that occupies. This is done going to Start – Control Panel – System and Security – System – Advanced System Settings – Performance. Click on Settings, then on the Advanced tab and after that on the Virtual Memory field you can adjust the size of the page file.

– Another place where you can recover hard drive space is by deleting the C:\Windows\Temp files. Sometimes the folder can be quite fat :-).  You can do this manually but it is better to do it via the disk cleanup utility. Go to Start and type Disk Cleanup, select the drive that you want to be cleaned and push OK. The Disk Cleanup dialog box will appear and you can select there all the temporary files that you want to delete.

– You can also save some space by deleting the Windows Update folder that you can see in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. this folder can also grow in size a lot, so deleting it can be one option. You do not have to worry that you’ll lose something important, as this folder will be automatically regenerated by Windows on your next restart. In order to delete it you need to deactivate first the Windows Update Service.

This can also be a way to repair Windows Update if its database has been corrupted.

You have to be an administrator of the machine for this to work. Click the Windows Start menu icon, enter “Services” in the search box and press Enter.

  • Navigate to the bottom of the list, right click the “Windows Update” and select “Stop”.
  • Now you can go to C:Windows and delete the SoftwareDistribution folder
  • Restart the Windows update service by right-clicking it again and selecting “Start.”
  • TheSoftwareDistribution folder will be created again.

– Of course you can save some additional hard drive space by uninstalling programs that you are not using anymore and by right clicking the Recycle Bin on your Desktop and clicking the Empty Recycle Bin option.

This Recycle Bin option should be the first one you should try, as a lot of times you can have stored there a lot of stuff that you already forgot you deleted.

These are the methods that I know, if by any chance you know others, feel free to tell me and I will update the article.

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