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Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

computing50yrs
Grafter
Posts: 27
Registered: 24-06-2012

Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space


I run a Computer Café for local people to help them resolve problems, we also have 7 laptops running Windows 7 and 1 windows 8.1 used for training.
We investigated why the amount of free  hard drive space was gong down.
Windows 7 and Windows 8 and 8.1 stores a huge number if files on your hard drive which are no longer needed.
Updating from Win Vista to Win 8 or updating Win 8 to 8.1 leave a folder on your hard drive called Windows.old. these are no longer required
Then all the updates and service packs also leave a huge number of files which are no longer required.
Other  files generated are log files and system dumps which also contribute to loss of hard drive space.
To clear these file proceed as follows
Left Click My Computer to see the hard drives and then right click the Windows drive, then click properties.
Below the coloured Pi chart left click Disk Cleanup, the system will scan for some of the unwanted files.
When the window displays the amount of space which can be released, click the System Cleanup button at bottom left.
This will then scan for all the update files etc.
At the end of the scan a window will open showing the total amount of space which can be removed.
Put a tick in against all items you want removed and click to continue.
Depending on the amount of files to be removed it will take quite a while but its well worth it.
27 REPLIES
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

I was surprised to see that the Windows 8 to 8.1 update created a Windows.old folder, usually the preserve of an update from one generation of Windows to another.  Is Microsoft trying to kid us that Windows 8.1 is a major departure from Windows 8 or do they think the update is likely to cause problems and wanted to make undoing it easier?
computing50yrs
Grafter
Posts: 27
Registered: 24-06-2012

Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

As I understand it, win 8.1 is an upgrade so it stores all your data and replaces win 8 by 8.1.
Certainly I had an windows.old folder after the upgrade from 8 to 8.1 and the download is over 3GB  and I originally tried to delete the folder and contents but there are restrictions of some of the files I tried to delete.
On search of internet I found the instructions in my first posting to delete these unwanted files
It should be born in mind that you need to keep your original win 8 restore files as if you need to re-install 8.1 as you will have to install 8.0 first and then go through the large download of 8.1 again, as there is no official win 8.1 DVD available.
There is details on this web site to trick the download of 8.1 to create your own win 8.1 DVD
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/get-the-iso-you-need-to-create-your-own-windows-...
Community Veteran
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

So what we are saying is that whilst Windows 7.1 (i.e. Windows 7 with SP1) is available in the form of a disc/ISO-file and an upgrade file (KB976932), Windows 8.1 is not available as an upgrade file and the disc/ISO-file can only be created by a fiddle?
chandu
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

Quote from: computing50yrs
I run a Computer Café for local people to help them resolve problems, we also have 7 laptops running Windows 7 and 1 windows 8.1 used for training.
We investigated why the amount of free  hard drive space was gong down.

Keep up the good work.  Smiley
This was a very interesting post.  I am afraid I have 10 year old XP based Desktop and its 13 GB hard drive is now almost full.  I should appreciate it if you have a similar procedure to W7, 8, and 8.1 for W-XP system.
Many regards and I await your feed back.
Chandu.
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

Chandu, it's probably time to buy a new PC.  But to keep your current one going, why not buy a compact USB memory stick, move your documents music and photos onto that and adjust Windows so the My Documents, My Pictures and My Music folders are mapped to the memory stick.  You could also relocate your Pagefile there.  There may also be bits inside the Windows folder that can be safely deleted but lots that cannot so I would not recommend trying except as a last resort or if you are absolutely sure any advice you follow is good.
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

Quote from: ReedRichards
  You could also relocate your Pagefile there.

Seriously bad idea - USB memory sticks have a very finite write cycle life and you'd kill it fairly quickly.
Same applies to SD Cards - this is why Linux on Rasberry Pi use a swap file located in RAM, not on the SD / USB memory.
computing50yrs
Grafter
Posts: 27
Registered: 24-06-2012

Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

Chandu to free up some hard drive you can delete all the updates files  that have been installed.
Use Windows explorer, browse to your hard drive At top click Tools then Click folder options, Click view run down the list and click radio button  to show hidden files and folders.
Browse down your hard drive to Windows folder click to open folder
You will see lots of folders in blue, called $ntuninst............. Hilite all those in blue and delete them.
A better Idea if you wish to keep win XP then get yourself a new hard drive (small ones don't exist any more - in fact I dump any old drive I get under 100GB) (probably an IDE drive knowing the age of the PC)  and install it and then clone the old drive to the new one - I use free program off the Internet called PAsisst_std  from here http://download.cnet.com/AOMEI-Partition-Assistant-Standard-Edition/3010-18512_4-75118871.html
but there are plenty of similar programs you can use.
chandu
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

Quote from: ReedRichards
Chandu, But to keep your current one going, why not buy a compact USB memory stick, move your documents music and photos onto that and adjust Windows so the My Documents, My Pictures and My Music folders are mapped to the memory stick.  You could also relocate your Pagefile there.  There may also be bits inside the Windows folder that can be safely deleted but lots that cannot so I would not recommend trying except as a last resort or if you are absolutely sure any advice you follow is good.

Thanks ReedRichards, but this is all going over my head.  Would appreciate step by step procedure.  Smiley
Regards,
Chandu.
chandu
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

Quote from: picbits
Seriously bad idea - USB memory sticks have a very finite write cycle life and you'd kill it fairly quickly.

Thanks picbits for the warning.  Much appreciated.
Regards,
Chandu.
chandu
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

Quote from: computing50yrs
Chandu to free up some hard drive you can delete all the updates files  that have been installed.

Yes, I can do that, but very cautiously.
Quote from: computing50yrs
A better Idea if you wish to keep win XP then get yourself a new hard drive (small ones don't exist any more - in fact I dump any old drive I get under 100GB) (probably an IDE drive knowing the age of the PC) 

If I replace the HD (IDE Drive) and install the XP from CD and install the SP1,2, & 3, will my monitor work correctly?  In other words what additional software will I need to install.  I feel cloning the old drive would put all the unnecessary junk back on the new drive.
Your opinions will be appreciated.
Regards,
Chandu.
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

Quote from: chandu
If I replace the HD (IDE Drive) and install the XP from CD and install the SP1,2, & 3, will my monitor work correctly?  In other words what additional software will I need to install.

Hard drives with a 80-pin socket for data are not made any more (AFAIK).  You can still find them but they will either be old stock and expensive or second hand.  I personally think the risk of buying a second-hand hard drive is too great.  So the economics of this option are bad, which is why I avoided mentioning it in my first answer.
If you decide you want to do this and you don't want to clone your old hard drive to the new one (even assuming you had the wherewithal to do this) then you would also need to install drivers for your motherboard and any add-on cards.  Without these drivers your monitor would still work but only at low resolution, your sound would not work and your network and USB ports might or might not work.
This article tells you how to change the default location of the My Documents folder in XP http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310147 .  I strongly recommend you back-up your documents before attempting this but I strongly recommend backing-up your documents anyway.
What Picbits says is true but possibly exaggerated.  Putting your pagefile on a USB memory stick would tend to shorten the life of that stick but will it really still not outlive the rest of your computer?  I find that hard to believe.  And you can buy a 32GB USB drive for £12 so replacing one every year would still only cost you £1 per month.     
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

The problem with pagefiles is that they are a constantly changing entity. They are written and overwritten a lot.
A USB memory stick can have as little as 1000 rewrites per cell if using MLC technology so your drive could last from minutes to years depending on how it allocates the writes to the drive. SLC technology can be up to 100,000 rewrites but again - that is easily achieved in less than an hour.
*Edit - having said that and with decent load/wear levelling on a decent USB memory stick you should get a fair bit of use out of it and I've seen abused USB drives last ages while other drives with little use fail after a few months.
drj
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

I have a Dell XPS12 bought with Windows 8 Pro - I haven't yet updated to 8.1 but I do still have a Windows.Old folder...
chandu
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Re: Cleanup Your Windows 7 or 8 Hard Drive release over 6Gb of space

@Reed Richard
Considering what you have pointed out about IDE Drives and related issues when starting from scratch, with a second hand IDE drive, frightens me.  So, the best solution would be to remove the unwanted files and folders from the drive and retaining all the essential drivers and software.  I need to keep this machine working, though it seems slow, for my wife to do her things.
Would appreciate any suggestions to achieve the above (preferably step by step procedures).
Many regards,
Chandu.