Computer is telling me my C drive is full or out of space

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Computer hard driveThe following sections detail possible reasons your operating system is displaying a notification about insufficient disk space. We recommend you read through them to find the best solution for your problem.

Clean up the hard drive

For the most part, if your machine says you are out of disk space, that is exactly the case. That being said, what is using the space and how to free it up again are not always clear. The best place to start is visiting our page on regaining hard drive space.

Hard drive is failing

Disk drive utilities, such as Windows ScanDisk, label sections of your hard disk as bad if errors are encountered during a scan. These sections are marked unsuitable for data storage and will be considered the same as "used space" even though they are empty.

In Microsoft Windows, while running scandisk, check the option Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. Additional information can be found on our ScanDisk help page.

Buying extra storage space

If you find yourself frequently running out of disk space or the recommendations in the previous section did not help resolve your issue, you can add more disk space to your computer. You can also consider replacing the existing hard drive with a larger one.

Adding another hard drive

Buying a second hard drive or SSD has the benefit of giving you additional storage without having to erase or copy the contents of the existing hard drive. There are both internal and external hard drives.

Replace current hard drive

If your hard drive is less than 100 GB, you may want to consider replacing it with one of a higher capacity. Unfortunately, if you do decide to do this, you need to reinstall the operating system and all the programs again as well as backup your existing files.