C: Drive Out Of Space? Here’s What To Do Next

Posted by Timothy Platt on Apr 18, 2018


Here’s a very common issue – C: drive out of space. This means your hard drive is full, and that’s not good. Windows (or Mac) can’t work properly when there is no available drive space. What should you do when that happens? Here’s some simple tips.

C: Drive Out of Space – Windows

Whether you are on Windows 7, 8, or 10, the process is similar:

  • Empty Recycle Bin – Everyone knows this trick. Go to the Desktop, find the Recycle Bin icon, right-click and choose empty the Recycle Bin. If that didn’t free up enough space, go to the next step.
  • Use Disk Cleanup – From the search box, find “Disk Cleanup” – see how much space you can free up.
  • Use a Disk Space Tool – There are several excellent tools that will summarize the use of disk space on your machine. Some are free, some cost money. Just be careful what you delete. If you don’t know what it is, don’t delete it. Here’s our recommendations:
    • Tree Size Free – This is an excellent freeware tool that will let you find those big files quickly. It will highlight where he disk space usage is, in a easy to follow way. What’s more, there’s a professional version that has even more features.
    • FolderSizes – This is a “Disk Space Analyzer” tool, and it’s excellent. It’s a commercial product, but there is a free trial. It has excellent ease of use, and lets you quickly get to the root of the problem. It’s also got great features for finding duplicate copies of files.

Disk Cleanup - Screenshot from Windows 10

Out of Space -Apple MacOS

How about for Mac users? Same process, different tools. Firstly, you want to empty the trash. From the dock, locate the trash can icon, left click (CTRL+Click), and select “Empty Trash”. If you still need additional space, you’re going to have to put a little more effort into figuring out what can be deleted. From the Apple menu, choose “About This Mac”, “Storage” tab, and click “Manage”. From there, you can get an overview of where space is being used (Applications, Documents, Music, etc.) There’s also handy “Recommendations” that give you tips on how to optimize space usage. Lastly, the “Reduce Clutter” option let’s you find large files with ease. Think of this option as the “training wheels” approach to disk space cleanup.

The Manage Storage options in MacOS

For power users, use OmniDiskSweeper to figure out where other space is being used. Again, exercise extreme caution when deleting files… if you don’t know what the file is, do not delete it! When you delete with this tool, there is no way to get the file back. In fact, before you embark on this exercise, you probably want to make sure you’ve got an up to date Time Machine backup of your computer. In the event you inadvertently delete an important file, whether it’s one of your documents, or a critical OS file – you’ll be able to recover quicker if you have a full backup available.

Time Machine, the built-in backup feature in MacOS, is so easy to use, and works so well, there is simply no reason to not be using it. All you need is a USB external drive, or a compatible network device, and you can have complete backups, and version history of files, with ease. We highly recommend Mac users leverage this terrific function.
MacOS Time Machine Logo

Get Help from the Computer Support Experts

We hope this information has been helpful. Your situation and unique requirements will need specific assessment. And remember, we’re here to help. If you’ve got a computer related challenge, whether onsite or in the cloud, give us a call at (407) 268-6626. We’d love to help.

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Virtual Operations provides IT support for small businesses in the Orlando and Central Florida area. Our managed IT services offering provides the expertise and quality care your small business needs. Please contact us today to find out how we can help with your computer support and network support needs.

Quick Tip – In this weekly series of articles, we’ll provide a quick, simple overview of an IT related topic – relating complex topics in easy to understand terms. This particular topic is part of our computer repair series, which includes what to do if you’ve got a slow computer, among other topics.


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