Regaining computer hard drive space

Computer hard driveBelow is a full listing of steps on how you can regain or free up computer hard drive space on your computer. Click on one of the links below to jump to the steps for the operating system running on your computer.

Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7 users
Microsoft Windows 95 users
MS-DOS and Windows 3.x users

Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7 users

Run the Disk Cleanup option

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Right-click on the hard drive that you want to regain hard drive space. For example, right-click on the C: drive.
  3. Click Properties.
  4. Within the General tab, click the "Disk Cleanup" button located next to the pie chart.
  5. Windows will scan the computer for all files available to clean up.
  6. Once in the Disk Cleanup window check each of the boxes (except "compress old files") that are taking disk space and click Ok and then Yes if you want to proceed.


When performing a Disk Cleanup you'll have an option to compress your hard drive. We strongly recommend users do not compress their hard drive or compress their old files.

Uninstall old programs or games no longer used

Disable System Restore

Windows XP, Vista, and 7 users can also decrease the default space utilized by Windows System Restore and often gain several additional gigabytes of hard drive space. See the steps below in customizing this feature.

  1. Click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and open System Restore.
  2. Within the System Restore window, click System Restore Settings.
  3. Within the System Restore tab you can either check the Turn off System Restore on all drives to completely disable this feature, or click the Settings button and decrease the space usage, which is what we would recommend.

Additional suggestion for Windows 2000 and Windows XP users:

Window 2000 and Windows XP keeps all the necessary files needed to uninstall any of the updates ever installed on your computer. Often this is several dozen updates that can take up several hundred and sometimes over 1 gig of space on your hard drive.

Move the swap file

If you have more than one hard drive in the computer and the C: drive is the drive running out of space consider moving the swap file to another drive.

Disable hibernation

If you turn your computer off instead of using hibernation mode you can disable this feature to free up a lot of disk space.

Microsoft Windows 95 users

Users can regain computer hard drive space by performing any or all of the steps below.

Clean up temporary files

  1. Click Start and then Search or Find
  2. In the "File type" text field type: *.tmp and verify the computer is looking at the C: drive or the drive that contains your operating system.
  3. Search for files and delete each of the temporary files that are found.

Delete chk files

Perform the same steps as number one except search for *.chk and delete any of the files that are found.

Uninstall old programs or games no longer used

MS-DOS and Windows 3.x users

Users can regain computer hard drive space by performing any or all of the steps below.

  1. From the MS-DOS prompt, type del *.tmp /s and del *.chk /s. This command will delete any temporary files or scandisk error files on the hard drive.
  2. Delete any software programs or games you are no longer using from MS-DOS or from Windows.