Low disk space warning

By | September 4, 2009

When disk space is running low on your computer you might be thinking ‘I need a bigger hard drive’.  That is definitely the case for some people who are still running on 10 or 40 Gig hard drives but for the average person with a computer that was built in the past 2 years you likely have a hard drive that is closer to 100 GB or more in size.

So why are you getting low disk space warnings? Most new computers are formatted in such a way that the large hard drive is partitioned into smaller pieces; this means that your one hard drive is behaving as if it’s 2 or more, smaller hard drives.

If you are not sure if your computer is operating in this manner you can find out by following these steps:

  • Click Start or find the My Computer shortcut icon
  • Right Click on My Computer
  • Select Manage from the menu that appears
  • Select Disk Management

windows-disk-management

You will notice the Disk labeled disk 0 is your hard drive or C: drive that you are familiar with. The Black drive is the rest of your hard drive that you are not currently using.  If your Disk Management tool looks similar to this image, you are not one of the people in need of an additional hard drive.

If however you do not see the black ‘unallocated’ space then you are using all of your hard drive and may require either one larger hard drive, or a second hard drive for storage. If your hard drive is smaller than 40 Gigs you should consider a new one anyway, because by today’s standards they are too small to store many picture or music files, even if you don’t play games. If you see black ‘unallocated space’ you are in luck.  You can use that unallocated space instead of buying a new hard drive to add to your machine.

To format your remaining hard drive space, see below:

  • Right Click the unallocated drive or the black area in the image above.
  • Choose a drive letter (I always accept the suggestions Windows gives)
  • Continue with the Wizard

Now you can have a second hard drive visible in your My Computer window. This drive can be used for storing images, documents and all other media.

Any programs you install will still need to be on your C: drive however. It is important that you move all of your text documents, images, videos etc over to your new hard drive space. Moving your files will free up space on your C drive and stop the warnings from bothering you.

Once all of your files are moved to the new storage space you can run a disk clean up from the Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools menu.  This will clean up any extra space that you have created by moving your files, as well as any extra space that you can collect by clearing your temporary internet files and other offline folders etc. Also, run a disk defragmenter.

You should now be well on your way to more disk space.

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