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How To Fix That Full Hard Drive

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management, Hardware & Peripherals
 
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Mary from CA writes:

My PC shows that my hard drive disk is almost full. I have not added any new programs. I have deleted and it does not change! I have run the disk cleanup, and it does not change. Help!!!?

Hi, Mary.

A full hard drive can cause all kinds of problems for your machine, including but not limited to a slow computer and, ultimately, hard drive failure.

There are a number of possible reasons for this.

1)  It’s just FULL.

You just have too much stuff on your drive.  I had this problem several years ago, and found that the best solution for me was to move my personal files onto a removable hard drive.

Clean up is a great program, but it only removes unnecessary programs and files, and most of these are pretty small.  By removing your personal files to an external drive, you’d be clearing out a lot of hard drive space.

2)  You’ve got a virus.

Nasty bugs are everywhere these days, created by people with more computer knowledge than common sense.  I have one on my phone right now that I’m struggling to get rid of.  One variation of these things fills your hard drive with junk.  Disk clean-up doesn’t really help, because the thing can fill your hard drive as fast as you can empty it.  Some of these files are also listed as essential files, and so wouldn’t be deleted by clean-up.  The best solution to this is to make sure that you have a good, reputable anti-virus program on your computer.  Not something that you downloaded from a pop-up that says “YOUR COMPUTER HAS A VIRUS!  CLICK HERE TO FIX IT!”

3)  Your hard drive is failing

It happens to the best of us.  We get old, and things don’t work like they’re supposed to.  Average life for a hard drive these days is seven or eight years, but if you take care of your computer like you’re supposed to, it could last more than ten.  When a hard drive starts failing, it can throw off all kinds of incorrect and erroneous messages, including telling you it’s full when it’s not.  One clue to this is if your computer wants to do a disk check every time that you boot up.  If that’s the case, then you probably have multiple failed sectors on your disk and it’s time to replace it.  If it’s more than five years old, and nothing above works for you, you may consider replacing it anyway.

I hope that this helps.

~Randal Schaffer

 

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8 Responses to “How To Fix That Full Hard Drive”

  1. Gary G says:

    Good tip. Wish your answer to HD life had been longer, but we don’t always get waht we want.

  2. Ron says:

    In this sort of situation, I would IMMEDIATELY backup to an external HD. 2 of the 3 causes described could be leading up to a system crash, losing all of your data. USB drives are cheap and handy for backups.

    You may also want to try one of these tools to help you identify large files (and folders) that you can delete or move to an external drive:
    10 BEST FREE TOOLS TO ANALYZE HARD DRIVE SPACE ON YOUR WIN PC – TREEMAP HD
    http://www.howtogeek.com/113012/10-best-free-tools-to-analyze-hard-drive-space-on-your-windows-pc/

    Spacesniffer
    http://www.uderzo.it/main_products/space_sniffer/index.html

    • Shanker says:

      Hi Ron,
      It is nice of you to have shared useful links with us. Thanks for your help. It’s exhilarating to see helpful Rons alongside venomous crackers!

  3. Alan says:

    Files were deleted but was Recycle Bin emptied?

    Backup is ALWAYS good.

  4. Terry Williams says:

    Same problem. Disk getting full for absolutely no reason. Ran a highly rated free av program (avg in my case) and found thousands! of copies of a worm. No problem after that.

  5. Thomas Antony says:

    I have a similar problem with my VAIO laptop, and found out it is because of the repeated back up images. Was advised to adjust settings.

  6. Richard says:

    I have found that by “backing up” files it eats up a ton of space if the back up is done on the same hard drive.
    Be careful of using any back ups without know where the back up is going, and how to manage it.

  7. Lutz Feldmann says:

    My first though was also: did she empty the Recycle Bin?

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