Running out of Free Drive Space
One of the key questions here is how big is your whole hard drive? And are you using the D: partition and if so, for what? For example, for a few years, Sony was partitioning many of their computers with a small C partition and a good size D partition and many users where not even aware of it or where not even using the D partition at all. Many ran out of space on C very quickly. If this is your problem you can use a program such as Acronis Disk Director to repartition your drives to take away some space from D and give you more space on C. This process can be done without losing any of your current data. Another option is to move the contents of My Documents to the D: Partition. You can do this by right clicking on MY DOCUMENTS > Select Properties > Click on MOVE to redirect it to the D partition. You could also redirect your swap file to the D partition as well other large files such as your Outlook PST file, if you use Outlook.
If both your C and D partitions are both almost full then your best option is to replace the hard drive with a new, larger drive. Chances are if you only have a 20g partition on C then I would guess that your computer is probably over 3 or 4 years old and could use a new drive anyway. Hard drives are like tires on a car, and should be replaced periodically anyway. Spinning at several thousand revolutions per minute, hard drives wear out over time.
If replacing the hard drive is not in the cards for you then here are some things you can do to free up space (after you have BACKED UP all of your data of course):
1. Security Software - First I would like to say that you are perfectly fine using Avast, Defender and Spybot. Unless you want to make things worse, I would NOT recommend that you switch to Norton or McAfee. Zone Alarm has been known to cause some problems, so you might want to consider Comodo firewall. But if you want to stick with Zone Alarm, you should at least uninstall and reinstall it to make sure it is behaving properly.
2. Check Disk For Errors One of the first things you will want to do is check the hard drive for errors. Double Click on My Computer and Right Click on your C drive, Select PROPERTIES, click on the Tools Tab. In the Error Checking Section click on CHECK NOW, Place Check marks in both boxes and click on START. You will receive and error message, so click on YES and reboot your computer to start the process. NOTE: this can take a long time to run depending on the size of your drive and its condition (>1 hour).
3. File Cleaner Download CCleaner from www.download.com and run that to clean up all your temporary files. Dont forget to empty your recycle bin.
4. Uninstall Unused Programs Use Add/Remove Programs to uninstall any junk, trial or unused programs that you may have on your computer. Many computers come with free trial and other junk programs that you probably have never used. Uninstall any programs that you do not use. If you are not absolutely sure of something, you are best off leaving them installed.
5. Reduce System Restore Size Windows System Restore can take up as much as 12% of your hard drive space. You can adjust this size by Right Clicking on MY COMPUTER and Selecting PROPERTIES and then click on the SYSTEM RESTORE tab. Click on SETTINGS and move the slider to about 5%. Keep in mind that this will reduce the number of System Restore points you will have available to you.
6. Search for Large Files Sometimes you can spot unusually large, forgotten or even some duplicate files that you do not need by performing a general search for files over a specific size. Click on START and Select SEARCH. Select All FILES AND FOLDERS. Leave the search box empty and Select change the Search In box to your C drive. Next select the What SIZE is it and check off SPECIFY SIZE and then select AT LEAST and enter something like 20,000 (20meg). Now click on MORE OPTIONS and Place a check mark in every box except Case Sensitive. Now Click on SEARCH. This will now start displaying all the files on your C drive that are over 20mb. Look through the list and see if you can find any obvious files to delete. Sometimes you will find a few large video files that you totally forgot you had. Again it is best to leave any files that you are not absolutely sure about. You can change the minimum file size to anything you want and search again but the smaller the number the more files you will get back. Dont forget to keep emptying the recycle bin after deleting files.
7. Reinstall some Programs onto the D: partition If needed, you can uninstall some of the programs that you do use and reinstall them onto your D: partition (assuming you have extra space on D:). Programs install themselves on the C drive by default, but during the install process you can usually change the default location and redirect the installation to your D partition instead.
When a drive partition has been running low on free space for a while it usually becomes very fragmented, so you really want to run the disk defragmenter. If you still do not have enough free space to run defrag, you might want to try another brand of disk defragmenter such as Smart Defrag from Iobit.com. Or you could temporarily shut down your swap file and system restore to give you enough free space and then turn them back on after the defrag.
Good Luck and Happy Holidays!
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