How to Increase Free Disk Space


Lots of weird problems happen if you’re low on disk space–programs randomly fail, the operating system can seem unreliable, and you might lose work because you can’t save it.

Just like Windows XP, Windows Vista includes the Disk Cleanup Wizard. To use the Disk Cleanup Wizard to free up space, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then click Computer.
  2. Right-click the drive you need to improve free space on, and then click Properties.
  3. On the General tab, click Disk Cleanup.
  4. On the Disk Cleanup Options page, click either My files only or Files from all users on this computer. You’ll clean up more disk space if you work with files from all users, but you need administrative credentials. If prompted, provide administrative credentials.
  5. After a few seconds, the Disk Cleanup page appears. Scroll through the available options, and select the check box for anything you’re ready to delete. If you’re not sure, leave it.

You’re pretty safe removing the following files:

  • Downloaded Program Files
  • Temporary Internet Files
  • Microsoft Error Reporting Temporary Files
  • System error memory dump files
  • System error minidump files
  • Temporary files (close your programs first!)
  • Per user archived Windows Error Reporting files
  • Per user queued Windows Error Reporting files (hey, it’ll probably crash again in the future anyway)
  • System archived Windows Error Reporting files
  • System queued Windows Error Reporting files

38 Responses to “How to Increase Free Disk Space”

  1. Also if you click on the “Advanced” tab you have the option to clean System restore files and uninstall unused software (of course you can also do this from control panel).

  2. jack says:

    jesus… is that the best you can do…

  3. KJ says:

    Unable to download stationary from IE7 to new Vista Premium. It goes through all the motions but at the end nothing is there. I have looked everywhere and they did not download. New PC..and I think I’m doing better than I was but Vista can be a pain. There are a few other little things but let’s start with this if that’s ok.
    Thanks for being there,

  4. dinger says:

    I selected the error reporting files and it deleted my entire hard drive, 30 GB worth of data and operating system files.

  5. chae says:

    yea i had the same thing happen as dinger…way to go saying it will delete unnecessary files…it wiped out all my user files and started on the rest before i realized what was going on and canceled it

  6. jkermit1 says:

    I have accidently checked “per user queued windows error reporting” twice and deleted over 90% of the files on the hard drive. Luckily it was on the 2nd drive I use to store files and it was backed up. I used Search and Recover 4 to get all of the files back the I used Allways Sync to make sure I had the all of the files. Does anyone know if this is a Vista problem. I did download a crack lately that may have caused it. Any ideas would help. I dont want to have it happen again. thanks

  7. Frank says:

    When I ran diskcleanup, the 5 “error reporting” files at the end of the list totalled approx 120gb. I was suspicious, but not suspicious enough & checked the first “archived error” entry & hit the OK button. Looked away for half a minute and by the time I turned around everything was gone. Desktop items & taskbar icons. Then whatever I tried resulted in “missing permissions” or the programs where behaving as brand new (installation request when opening Word or Excel immediately). Then looking through windows explorer I can’t see any of my files. I did a Registry fix that I found when searching this issue, but it doesn’t appear to have made any difference. Can anyone actually confirm whether the data is retreivable, i.e hidden rather than deleted. Just curious before I pull out the Recovery disks & blow it all away.

    • Dispatchmonster says:

      I am having a similar problem. Huge amounts of disc space disappearing, I have a hp compaq presario notebook with *****WINDOWS 7. I received an email from the HP tech advising this info, hope it helps.
      I would like to provide you with the troubleshooting steps, which would be helpful to resolve the issue. First, I would request you to disable volume shadow copy, which would free disk space.

      Disable Volume shadow copy

      · Start > then type: services.msc in the search bar then confirm

      · Double click on the service: Volume shadow copy

      · Change the startup type to Manual

      · Then click on Stop
      On the Recovery tab:

      · The three first options: First, Second and Subsequent Failures must be set on “Take No Action”.

      · To confirm press OK

      If the issue persists, recommend you to perform the below steps:

      Download and run the ‘Image Enhancement to Extend Volume’ update (English only). Disk Management utility, shrink, and expand the volume to display the correct drive capacity.

      From the below website you can download and run the install Image Enhancement Tool:

      Image Enhancement tool, and then click Run to automatically perform the Extend Volume action.

      Also perfrom the below steps, Run Disk Management to shrink and extend the hard drive

      To correct disk size reporting errors and display the correct drive capacity, do the following actions:

      1. Click Start, type Management in the search field, and select Computer Management when it appears in the listing.

      2. If prompted by the User Account Control for permission, click Continue.

      3. Select Disk Management under Storage.

      4. Right click Disk 0 (C:) in the bottom section of Disk Management and select Shrink Volume .

      5. Without changing any of the default size values, click Shrink.

      6. When the shrink process completes, right click Disk 0 (C:) , and select Extend Volume to open the Extend Volume Wizard window.

      7. Click Next to start the wizard.

      8. Without changing any of the default size values, click Next to accept the drive selection settings.

      9. Click Finish to complete the operation.

      10. When completed, click Finish in the Extend Volume Wizard.

      The correct values for the drive capacities are displayed. You can close the Computer Management window.

      This should resolve the issue. If you need further assistance, please reply to this message and we will be happy to assist you further.

      As I said, I have windows 7 on a notebook so I don’t know if this will help you. I tried the shadow volume step but found it was already turned off. I haven’t tried the image enhancement tool yet though. You could even google shadow volume copy to read up on if it is safe to mess with.

      • Isak Otto says:

        I hope you see this – long after your contributon.

        I wonder if you can help with this perhaps related problem. Running Windows Vista, it reports the hard drive has only 58 MB of free space. Adding up the folder sizes as shown in the properties window for each folder in Windows Explorer (including hidden folders), indicates that there are hundreds of GB of unused space.
        When the limit is reached and there is no space left, by Windows reporting, no files can be saved.
        It seems obvious that Windows’ reporting is faulty, but as it stops the saving of files, it cannot be ignored.
        Any solution / suggestions?
        With many thanks,
        Isak Otto

  8. David says:

    I also did a disk cleanup and I checked the Per user queued Windows Error Report and I didn’t pay close attention. One was 90 GB when I assumed it was 90 MB. I just went ahead and clicked and that was it for me. !!!! Reinstall time and now I did a disk cleanup and once again I have a 98 GB per user queued that could be checked! What is this? Anyone know. I am not about to check that box again, but would like to know what the deal is. Thanks for the help anyone!!

  9. Terry says:

    I had also had problem with disk cleanup and its seems my hard drive was formatted and stuffed everthing up.
    I contacted micosoft and the say they have not heard of this??????? and will get their experts to check it out and come back to me. I have not run cleanup again but the screen shows it will clean almost more GB than my hard drive???

    • Bsajay says:

      Hi terry,
      I just want to suggest you and other users who used to for disc clean-up and clear pre-fetchs,temprory files.after every clean-up attempt restart your system.this will store all neccesery data you stored earlier and help to reboot your system succesfully..take care.

  10. stefon says:

    Per user queued Windows Error Reporting files why do most people say that it cant can crash and mess up ur internet

  11. stefon says:

    why do they say if u delete this filePer user queued Windows Error Reporting files it will mess up ur computer

  12. Piyush says:

    i have accidently deleted the per user memory queued for the hibernation memory and hence the hibernation memory has vanished! i cant hibernate it anymore… help!

  13. Numpty says:

    DO NOT TICK THIS BOX!!! EVER!!! >>> per user queued windows error reporting or anything other than temporary files.

    I have just run disk cleanup and ticked all available options. I ticked the box that stated it would effectively remove all the crash reports that Windows creates.

    Unexpectedly it has just taken out 300 GB of my files which I have been very careful to put on a RAID array so I don’t lose them. Microsoft should be blasted for this. This is possibly the biggest bug I have ever found in one of their products and personally (as a Systems Administrator with 7 years experience) I am disgusted.

    Has Microsoft seriously performed ANY testing on Vista before releasing it to the world?

    I have been an advocate of Vista for a long time and pushed my views to my colleagues advising it was just a “learning curve” but my early adoption of the application is clearly a mistake. I even went so far as to install Vista SP1 Release Candidate (such was the dedication to improvements.)

    I am now downgrading to Windows XP, a known and tested quantity.

    Seriously shameful.

  14. allure says:

    its my first time to do a disk clean up using window vista ..
    i just wanna know if its safe or not to delete the following addressed files:-

    > 1- per user queued windows error report
    > 2- system archived windows error report
    > 3- system error memory dump files
    > 4- per user archived windows error report
    > advise would be appreciated
    > thank u

  15. robert says:

    if you check error reporting files in disk cleanup and delete them then you will be screwed. dont check those files to be deleted by disk cleanup. if you arent sure which ones they are they are the files with the yellow exclamation inside a computer icon. you delete them and you prob will never do it again lol

  16. robert says:

    do not delete any of the system error reporting files in any version of vista ! I will guarantee you that will mess your system files up very badly. most of your programs will be gone and this also will effect system restore makng it useless.

  17. Bob Danks says:

    I have had a similar problem since two days after buying my current computer.(per user/archived Windows Error reporting).As my hard drive is 450+GB it has not been a great worry and I have been waiting for a solution before attempting a “Disc Cleanup”.I am currently being advised that I can”regain” 220 GB…..YES 220GB
    when my “Used Space” is only 52.6 GB!!! Have Microsoft actually discovered the impossible or is this widely known bug still without a solution?? Is this why Gates has given up the controls? Can anyone tell me what is being done???

    Regards Bob Danks
    Tropical Corfe Mullen Dorset.UK.

  18. Bob Danks says:

    I have had a similar problem since two days after buying my current computer.(per user/archived Windows Error reporting).As my hard drive is 450+GB it has not been a great worry and I have been waiting for a solution before attempting a “Disc Cleanup”.I am currently being advised that I can”regain” 220 GB…..YES 220GB
    when my “Used Space” is only 52.6 GB!!! Have Microsoft actually discovered the impossible or is this widely known bug still without a solution?? Is this why Gates has given up the controls? Can anyone tell me what is being done???

    Regards Bob Danks
    Tropical Corfe Mullen Dorset.UK.

  19. Andre says:

    I dunno what any of you guys are talking about I ticked all of those boxes before reading the comments. And It did just what it said. I should also note that I havent upgraded to Vista SP1 or installed any bullshit kb packages.

    I lost mamybe 880mb of unneeded stuff. Worked for me. If I read those comments I woulda been scared shitless

  20. Rachael says:

    I have been trying to clear up some much needed disk space (i only have just over 1.5 GB free of a 16 GB hard drive)… unfortunatly most of the used space (11GB) is in the System32 forder and the winsxs filder.

    i have run a dik clean up that said i had 0.99GB that i could free up from the system queued error reporting. i cleared it up and i have had no problems…. except that i didnt acctualy seem to clear up the space it would clear up.

    Disk clean up told me it could free up 1.1 GB however it only gave me 0.25GB extra space.

    i have no idea what is going on with this as disk clean up never seems to free up as much space as it tells me it is going to clean up.

    any one have any idea what is going on?

  21. Rachael says:

    i also meant to say that i understand that i only have a small amount of diskspace anyway (especialy compaired to some of you guys) but i am a student using a laptop running Vista. it is my C drive that i need to clear up but i have finaly run out of stuff that i can delete and i still have no space. i am still trawling the internet for more options.

    i have another 7GB free space on an adjacent drive that i can not combine at all even though i should be able to add this free space into my C drive for some reason it wont let me.

    but that is another problem to the disk clean up one.

    thanks again

  22. Joe says:

    So glad to read this post. I was tempted to delete the per user* files from my sister computer because it is taking too much space. I just don’t get it why Microsoft loves dumping files into your system that eats up space and can’t delete. What’s more, they will allow it to be displayed in the Disk Clean up when this will only screw your system. GEEZ/

  23. Barry says:

    I agree with Andre.
    I would have shit myself and never free’d up the 6GB I did by using clean up.

    remember there are relatively few bad experiences on here and for all we know their systems were screwed before running any clean up app.

    I say, go for it.

  24. Naguib says:

    I have been having this problem for the last few days. It started with diminishing space on the HD. I used defragmentation and clean up. I found “system windows queued error reporting..” on the clean-up list. I deleted them several times and that did not harm the rest of my files or OS. The funny and very annoying thing though was that immediately after doing this the C drive is gradually eaten up again and loosing huge amounts of space that go- again- to the “system windows queued error reporting..” and so on. I did this on my machine 3 or 4 times and it keeps happening. I ran checkdisk but it did not fix the problem. Hope someone comes up with a clue! Thanks.

  25. Amlendu says:

    I had System archived Windows Error Reporting files using 90GB of my space which I deleted before reading these comments. It freed about 50GB of my space. But I still don’t know where is the rest of 40GB?

  26. burr says:

    just want an answer to do i delete the per user archived windows error report. just want the right answer do not want to damage or mess up my computer. if anyone knows the right answer let me know, but only if you really know what your talking about.

  27. Collin says:

    Hey Burr

    It will Not Mess Up If You Have SP1 Installed Or SP2 . . .

    I don’t know if the people that are saying It’s Said There Was 28 GB Of Windows Dump Files So I Checked It And It Messed Up My System” are telling the truth. But i did it fine on Windows Vista – Service Pack 1 and 2.

    Sincerly Collin

    • Collin says:

      Oh Another Thing Every One

      If You Have 2 – 5 GB And You Have Had A Computer With TON’S Of BSOD’s Or System Memory Failures etc . . . That’s Normal It’s A Backup Of Your Memory. But If You Have 8 or more . I Would Back up before doing so. Hoped That Helped

      Sincerly Collin

  28. Noah Leong says:

    This might be useful for me i have so much crap on my presario and i really dont care about the programs on it i think i will do this

  29. deb says:

    I’d rather uninstall programs and unnecessary files than take this chance. Cleaning house is always good anyways. Thanks for the comments.

  30. Get Real says:

    Bunch of trolls trying to scare people, the only files that the boxes for error reporting will delete are those with the .wer an .dmp extension, no other files are removed nore could they be as these files are contained within 2 folders, one in the windows folder, the other in the user folder.

    • sirrocco says:

      actually when vista was first released this was a real problem and as I had only ever used me or xp when i brought my daughter a pc with vista on it and she was getting very big amounts in her disk clean ups box I ticked the 3 boxes they were talking about the error reporting ones, it totally wiped my daughters computer, luckily i had a recovery disc which i loaded in then searched this problem on google, it was talked about and awful lot, then i found out if i downloaded SP1 which had just been released it would fix the problem, i did this and it worked fine and i never had to worry about her deleting the wrong files again, so i just thought i would say it wasn’t scaremongering just a program glitch apparently directing it to delete files from the wrong place, i’m not a expert but that is what it was seeming to imply,this was fixed by a service pack release, just in case someone out there now puts in a older version of vista and doesn’t download the updates at least get SP1 to fix this problem, coz it is a real pain :)

  31. jay jay says:

    S O L U T I O N :

    actually its an alternative, download Ccleaner free and easy program which does the same thing without a self destruct option…without the crazy option to delete just about everything on your computer..and not telling you or even hinting you on what it does.