How To

Three easy steps to recover hard drive space

Elena Santos


As a software reviewer, I install dozens of new applications every week, which means I tend to run out of hard drive space very easily. But last Monday the situation suddenly got worse, when I realized I only had one gigabyte left on my main hard drive. Time for some action!

Recovering hard disk space is not difficult at all. It only requires a bit of common sense and the right software tools. And the first place you should focus on is installed software.

In my case, I could get easily get rid of 3 GB of software I didn’t plan to use ever again. For those of you who don’t spend your days testing apps, it may take a bit longer, but I’m sure you’ll find a couple of programs you don’t need on your system anymore.

Recover hard drive space

You can uninstall unnecessary programs with the Add/Remove Programs tool in Windows Control Panel, or use a third-party software uninstaller – which are usually more informative and have more features than the default tool in Windows.

Now that you’ve removed redundant software, it’s time to look somewhere else: the file structure in Windows. After a few months of usage, you’ve surely lost track of all the stuff stored on your hard drive. A quick analysis with hard drive scanning tools like Scanner, OverDisk, JDiskReport or SpaceSniffer will reveal the largest folders and files on your system. This will enable you to quickly identify the most space-consuming items and take the appropriate measures.

Recover hard drive space

The system file structure can also benefit from a duplicate file finder. If you think you may have lots of duplicate files, take a look at our section for apps to find duplicates, some of which have been specially developed to find duplicates among photos or music files.

Recover hard drive space

After removing unwanted software and getting rid of large files we didn’t need anymore, the last task is cleaning our hard drive of junk data: temporary files, history, recently opened documents lists, saved form entries, internet temporary files, log files, cache memor, and many other items your system stores in the background. I used CCleaner to remove them all and gained about 2 GB in space.

Download CCleaner

Recover hard drive space

After going through these three steps, I went from having just 1 GB left of free space to more than 10 GB. Plus, the whole process doesn’t take long, and your hard drive – and the whole system – can benefit a lot from having more free space. It’s definitely something we all should turn into a habit!

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