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What to remove when Drive C: is overloaded

Posted on 2016-07-16
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Last Modified: 2016-07-30
Hello,

When Drive C: is overloaded, which items can/should be deleted (and in what order) and which items should not?

I've got a desktop PC (Windows 7 Ultimate) with a 500 GB solid-state C: drive which is in the red and obviously needs some relief. I'm posting this question because I'm never quite sure how to approach this situation.
a
Following are some screenshots of TreeSize Free showing the sizes of folders and subfolders in Drive C.
b
Without displaying too many personal items in the screenshots, can someone comment regarding things that jump right out has being problematic and deletable vs things that are not? For example, the recycle bin and my son's old LoL game can promptly be tossed. But what about the 16GB pagefile.sys file? I have no idea what that is.
c
Next is the 43GB Windows folder of which 20GB is something called winsxs and another 8 GB is Installer. Was should/can be done with those?
deF
I recognize most of the large folders & files in my C:\Users folder. However, I'm never quite sure what to do with AppData, particularly what's in the Local vs. Roaming vs. LocalLow subfolders:
g
Finally, I've never noticed the "Errors" indicator at the bottom of TreeSize Free, but this last screenshot shows a sample of what appeared when I clicked on it:
h
Need, I be concerned about that?

Thanks
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Question by:WeThotUWasAToad
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16 Comments
 
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:Dustin Saunders
Dustin Saunders earned 41 total points
ID: 41714987
Users is huge- but if you have multiple drives you should move your desktop/documents/downloads to a slower partition.  If you move your profile over, you should have tons of room for the items that need to be on the fast datastore.
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LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 41 total points
ID: 41714997
You're focusing on the wrong things - Asking about Windows folders?  Windows is Windows.  Little can be moved from there - and it's only taking 10% of your total space.  Why aren't you looking at the contents of Users? it's FORTY PERCENT of your space and 99% of it likely does not need to be stored on C:  Move it to another drive.  

Pagefile is virtual memory - can you change that to another drive using the System Control Panel, but again, it's MINUSCULE compared to Users.  

Even Program Files is huge?  WHY?  What have you got installed.
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by:Dustin Saunders
Dustin Saunders earned 41 total points
ID: 41715000
@Lee MVP - One guess is that Steam is installed on the computer :)

But, the point of the SSD is that you install apps/Windows on it.  Files (images, videos, music) don't need to be on fast partition (they'll load an an indistinguishable rate.)  You can get a 2TB drive for pretty cheap, I'd leave everything except users where it is and move users over.

Regardless of what you do, though, you should read up on symbolic links- you can move the Windows Installer folder to a bigger partition, or move pieces of your Users folder if for example you had 150GB of Videos but want to leave the rest on the SSD.
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LVL 29

Assisted Solution

by:Olaf Doschke
Olaf Doschke earned 41 total points
ID: 41715007
Well, you can move users, but be cautious about that, it's still a windows system folder, so it should move officially. Windows stores all your user libraries in it, so all Documents, Music, Videos, Downloads.

The way to get your users profile on another drive with a symbolic link is only half the solution, what you'd really need is a junction point, that's beyond most and I'd not do that trickery to redirect any access on C:\Users via a junction point to a D:\ drive folder.

But there is something simpler to really move to drive D officially with users, every library folder has a Location tab enabling you to move it. This article describes it quite good:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2079571/move-your-libraries-to-a-second-drive-or-partition.html

Bye, Olaf.
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 41 total points
ID: 41715012
I'd download and install CCleaner https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download (get the free version) and for each user run CCleaner and see what it recommends for deletion and if that is OK delete it.  That might bring back some room.

Pagefile you leave alone.

As noted by others Users is huge.  Time for you to review what is there and move stuff that it contains off to external disk if you want to keep it.
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LVL 29

Assisted Solution

by:Olaf Doschke
Olaf Doschke earned 41 total points
ID: 41715013
Indeed you aren't restricted to store anything in your library folders, you can store anything outside of drive C:\. The full space of any other partition is yours to use anyhow for any files, especially not personal things other users should have no access to, but even such loose folders can be changed in security settings to only be accesssible to you or whatever user.

You can also change any browsers location of downoad files and cache files.

Bye, Olaf.
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LVL 91

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 41 total points
ID: 41715019
in most cases, i find a lot of space used by pictures, and video's - which do NOT change
so you can move these to another drive

how much space do they occupy?
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by:Merete
Merete earned 41 total points
ID: 41715047
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Accepted Solution

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Peter Hutchison earned 254 total points
ID: 41715716
Things you can move:
1. Documents folders incl. Music, Pictures, Video can be moved to any other drive. I also have my Documents pointed to "D:\My Documents",
2. Downloads folder can be moved anywhere, so mine is moved to D:\Downloads.
3. AppData folder for a user can get very large and fill up with junk. So, a good cleanup there would help to free up space.
4. Redirect Temp files to other folder, Set TMP and TEMP environment variables to D:\Temp if you can.
5. Create a second folder for apps e.g. D:\Program files, and when installing apps, select custom location for new installations to the new location.
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LVL 91

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by:nobus
nobus earned 41 total points
ID: 41715892
i usually delete all temp folders and files
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
ID: 41716254
This thread should be a poster child for Experts-Exchange. What a great mix of helpful feedback from — count 'em — seven different experts!

Thanks a ton for all the great responses!


Lee W, MVP
Even Program Files is huge?  WHY?  What have you got installed.
Surprising to me but here is the answer:
    C:[421GB]\Program Files (x86)[95GB]\World of Warcraft[58GB]\Data[50GB]\

I posted a question on the Battle.net forum and got 2-3 respondents saying that is typical. :P


Dustin Saunders
Files (images, videos, music) don't need to be on fast partition (they'll load an an indistinguishable rate.)
…you can move the Windows Installer folder to a bigger partition
I did not know that but I do now and thanks for the link.

Olaf Doschke
…there is something simpler to really move to drive D officially with users, every library folder has a Location tab enabling you to move it. This article describes it quite good:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2079571/move-your-libraries-to-a-second-drive-or-partition.html
You can also change any browsers location of downoad files and cache files.
Good information. I will check into the link. and that is good to know about download files but where are cache files stored?

dbrunton
I'd download and install CCleaner https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download (get the free version) and for each user run CCleaner and see what it recommends for deletion and if that is OK delete it.
Great. Will do.

nobus
in most cases, i find a lot of space used by pictures, and video's - which do NOT change
so you can move these to another drive
…how much space do they occupy?
Lots, so I am moving those too.

Merete
Does this SSD have TRIM enabled?
Why Solid-State Drives Slow Down As You Fill Them Up
http://www.howtogeek.com/165542/why-solid-state-drives-slow-down-as-you-fill-them-up/
performance-maintaining TRIM command.
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-top-tips-maintain-performance-extend-life-ssd-si/
I'm not familiar with TRIM but I will take a look at your links.

Peter Hutchison
Things you can move:
1. Documents folders incl. Music, Pictures, Video can be moved to any other drive. I also have my Documents pointed to "D:\My Documents",
2. Downloads folder can be moved anywhere, so mine is moved to D:\Downloads.
3. AppData folder for a user can get very large and fill up with junk. So, a good cleanup there would help to free up space.
4. Redirect Temp files to other folder, Set TMP and TEMP environment variables to D:\Temp if you can.
5. Create a second folder for apps e.g. D:\Program files, and when installing apps, select custom location for new installations to the new location.
Non-tech brains like mine love numbered steps.

nobus
i usually delete all temp folders and files
I should know this but can you elaborate re which folders and files you are referring to (ie which are temp)?

Thanks again!
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LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Merete
Merete earned 41 total points
ID: 41716277
WeThotUWasAToad try your disk cleanup to delete old temp files temporary files obsolete files, old windows updates old error logs if not needed, and the windows thumbnails that are created whenever you open images, disc cleanup will list them.
Temp files are created when you install things
in your search type disk cleanup it will list at the top.
disc cleanup
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LVL 91

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 41 total points
ID: 41716310
i delete all TEMP or TMP folders
and all files with the tmp or temp extension

do a search on  .tmp and  .temp to find them

you have a TEMP folder Windows

you can also delete old restore points, and everything in the recycle bin, select your C: drive then recycle bin and delete these :
a
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LVL 29

Assisted Solution

by:Olaf Doschke
Olaf Doschke earned 41 total points
ID: 41716320
where are cache files stored?

That differs with each browser.

Chrome
In Chrome you only can change its downloads location via extended settings within the address chrome://settings, an option to use command line parameters exists, but is not used when chrome is started as default browser via a link. So forget about setting this for chrome, unless you want to edit your registry.

FireFox
In Firefox you can easier add a setting, but in the first place just limit the cache size via the address about:config. type cache into the search box and you'll find the entry browser.cache.disk.capacity.

Besides, the goal with firefox should be moving your whole profile, that includes the cache files. For example see http://kb.mozillazine.org/Thunderbird_:_FAQs_:_Changing_Profile_Folder_Location#Using_the_Profile_Manager_to_move_your_profile

The CCleaner tool will also recommend to empty browser caches and does this for you. It's a double edged sword to do this. On one side you free space on the other side frequently visited web sites will load their cached files again and so just setting a max cache size should be sufficient.

I think you'll free enough space with other things, mainly moving the libraries you can move to other drives should already be sufficient additional to deinstalling that game taking up so much space.

Bye, Olaf.
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Author Closing Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
ID: 41736088
Thanks again for all the great info.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 41736128
Glad to have helped
cheers
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