How to free space on Windows 7

You are rapidly bumping up against your PC’s physical storage limit but you need more space for your file, your work, your free time and you need to know how to free space on Windows 7 that is running as the operative system on your PC.

No matter how large your hard drive is — how many empty terabytes you had when you first bought your PC — you always seem to fill it right to the brink.

There are different ways to free space by using natives tool Windows 7 features:

In this article, we will explore how to free space using the only system tools provided with the basic installation of the operative system.

Emptying the Recycle Bin

The Recycle Bin is a virtual object that lives into the core system and has a reason. When we select files for deletion the files are moved to a special area of the system called “Recycle Bin” and continue to take up valuable hard-drive space. The reason is that you could be wrong during deletion and you need to go back, restoring part or the whole files deleted before.

It seems to be a quite valuable feature but we need to take into account the dark side of the Recycle Bin: the space occupied on the hard-disk.

Anyway, Windows 7 has a method to clear the whole content of the Recycle Bin.

The Recycle Bin is located on the Desktop and inside Windows Explorer.

To start the cleaning we can right-click with the mouse on the Recycle Bin icon situated on the desktop.

A drop-down menu appears to let us the possibility to select the “Empty Recycle Bin” function.

After that, a dialogue box windows appears to ask us if we are effectively sure to delete the file.

We have a chance to select No in case we need to restore file. If we click on Yes, Windows permanently delete the file contained in the Recycle Bin. During this process, a progress bar and an indicator give us information about how much space will be available after delete.

Delete files permanently (on the fly)

We have a different way to delete files. Within the Windows Explorer, we can right-click with the mouse on a file and select “Delete” from the menu. Message windows ask us is we are sure and the deletion must proceed.

If we hit Yes then the file will go into the Recycle Bin, as usual. But there is a special deletion method used to delete permanently and on-the-fly one or more file without moving files into Recycle Bin. It is simple but you need to keep in mind that this method is fast and deleted files CANNOT be restored in any way.

Would you like to know it? Well. You need to use a keyboard shortcut.

First, you need to select in Windows Explorer the file or the files you would delete. After that, you must use the combination of the key “Delete” + “Shift“.

Be aware! This operation couldn’t be restored, so the deleted files don’t go into Recycle Bin but are permanently deleted in one step. Confirmation doesn’t appear but the files ARE IMMEDIATELY DELETED. So don’t use this Windows feature if you are not sure to have file permanently deleted but you are thinking to restore them in the second moment.

Removing Temporary Files

During normal activity, day-by-day, Windows collects a huge amount of temporary files, so called because they are used as an extension of volatile memory of the system but in the real world, them remains on the hard-disk, even when they are not yet necessary or used. Many copies of those files are used as a log, system restore point, installation and partial configuration files, image thumbnails and so on…

How to free the space occupied by these files? Windows 7 has the solution. A Disk Clean Up tool.

In the Windows Explorer, you can use right-click mouse on the hard-disk called (C:), that usually is the system disk. Hit “Properties“.

The drive properties dialogue box fires-up and you need to click on Disk Cleanup button.

The Disk Cleanup immediately starts analyzing the temporary files on the disk.

This could take several minutes, depending on the amount of the files. When the tool finishes the analysis, a new window appears on the screen let us select what kind of files we would to delete permanently from the system.

For every type of files, we got the size occupied and the total amount of disk space you gain in case of deletion.

Hit Ok after you selected the file to be deleted. Surely you can select all the file. A message box asks you if you want to proceed because the operation is irreversible and the files cannot be restored.

Hit “Delete Files” and the cleaner starts the delete process.

This step could take several minutes, depending on how many files you are selected and how many files there are into the folders. So, wait.

Uninstalling old or not used applications

Another way on how to free space on Windows 7 is to uninstall the unused or old applications.

You need to open the Control Panel by hitting the Start Menu.

In the Control Panel hit the Uninstall a program link.

The list of the installed program into the system will appear.

Now, you need to select the program you want to remove. Click Uninstall button and confirm the process. In the column “Size” you can see the space occupied by that program and can be released if you proceed to uninstall it.

*** If you want to know how I captured the screen for this article, please follow this link.