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Freeing Disk Space

WARNING! When presented with a “low disk space” message, whether from Cadzow 2000 or another application, it is important not to panic. Do not embark on a wholesale rampage of deletion.

If you are running out of space, your legitimate documents, data files and emails are not the problem. In any case, you are very unlikely to be able to delete enough of them to solve the disk space problem.

There are a number of simple ways to quickly and safely restore some space:

Delete the Hibernation File

In Windows Vista/2008:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt.

  2. Type:

    powercfg -h off

    and press Enter.

    This command will take a few moments to complete.

  3. Close the command prompt.

Clear the Temporary Internet Files Cache

In Internet Explorer, go to ToolsInternet OptionsDelete Files. This may immediately clear several hundred megabytes. Depending on the number of files in the cache this process may take several minutes to complete, during which it will appear to be frozen, so be patient.

Clear Old Updates

If you have installed Windows Vista/2008 Service Pack 2, you can remove old service pack/hotfix files, which can recover about 500Mb of space. (This makes the current service pack permanent, however.)

Open an elevated command prompt and type:


On Windows 7 Service Pack 1, you can use (from an elevated command prompt):

dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 also has an update available which has the ability to purge additional update binaries — on many systems that have had hundreds of updates applied this can recover several gigabytes.

In Windows 8/8.1/10, you can clear out previous operating systems if you have upgraded.

Clear iPhone/iPad Software Updates

It's not uncommon for iPhone/iPad owners to collect several gigabytes of software updates. Once installed to the device, these are no longer required. They can be removed via the command-prompt with:

del "%APPDATA%\*.ipsw" /s /q

Disable System Restore

Windows XP has a feature which saves changes to the operating system, which allows rolling back to a safe configuration in case of a problem. However, this feature is very rarely of any use and in practice simply consumes disk space.

To disable, right-click My Computer and choose Properties. Click the System Restore tab, and tick Turn Off System Restore. Click Apply. The system will pause for a moment while the system restore archives are removed. Click OK to close the dialog.

Delete Unnecessary Operating System Files

On Windows XP/2003, the contents of C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles or C:\WINNT\ServicePackFiles may be deleted. This is simply a backup of the last service pack. Also the contents of C:\Windows\$hf_mig$ may be deleted. These are copies of the patches installed.

Uninstall Old Java Installations

As Sun Java updates itself, it installs each new version into a new folder, and leaves previous versions intact. Most users only need a single Java engine for normal operation, and the older versions can be removed. Use Control PanelAdd/Remove Programs to uninstall all but the most recent version:

Clear Other Temporary Files

If you are a Cadzow 2000 user, use My Computer to browse to \CADZOW\SUCCESS7\BIN and double-click CLEANUP.BAT. This runs a script which safely deletes a variety of temporary files, including memory dump files, which can be very large.

Empty the Recycle Bin

Right-click the Recycle Bin on the desktop and choose Empty Recycle Bin

Prune Email Attachments

Many people use email to distribute sound, video and graphics files to their friends, but these files should be routinely deleted as they are not proper business correspondence and take up a lot of room. But: Do not delete your legitimate correspondence! Email is a useful way to archive business correspondence. Many years' of written emails can be stored in as little as 50Mb, but it does not take much to consume 100-500Mb of useless binary files which can be dumped.

After deleting such emails, see Recovering Disk Space in Outlook Express.

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