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Solutions: Find free space on your hard drive

Q. I have a 107 GB C drive and a 220 GB internal drive partitioned into two drives on which I store my finance, data and Word programs on one part and my photos on the second. I back up those two drives on two external drives. I use Windows XP SP2. My C drive is shown as having 98 GB or 92 percent used and 9.41 GB or 8 percent free. When I checked on what programs I have installed, the total usage of all the programs I could find amounted to 2044 MB! I realize that Windows is not included, but still the used count seems extraordinarily high. How do I find what is hogging my C drive and how do I get rid of it if it does not appear as one of my installed programs?

A. Many other files besides program files can take up space. Something I do occasionally is to look for all files greater than 10 MB. It always seems to find some large files that I may have forgotten about or didn't know were there. Open your C drive in File Explorer and press the F3 key (shortcut to the Find dialog). Click "All Files and Folders." Click "What size is it." Select the "Specify size" option, and since it's in KB (a ridiculous option in this day and age) enter 10000 (which is 10 MB). Scroll down and click the "Search hidden files and folders" option and then finally click Search. This is to just show you what large files you have on your system and where most of the space is going. Most or all of them may be needed, but you may find some that are candidates for removal. Be very careful if you decide to zap any of them and make sure you know what the file is before doing so. Run the Disk Cleanup tool and see what that can do for you. Here are some top secret additional options known to just a few people outside of Redmond, Wash., that will allow you to get the most out of the Disk Cleanup tool:

1. Click Start, Run, and type "cleanmgr /sageset:99" (without the quotes and make sure you put a space between cleammgr and /) then click OK.

2. Make your choices, click OK. The Disk Cleanup Tool will now be ready to run in an expanded mode that will offer you a larger selection of cleanup options.

3. Click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, right-click Disk Cleanup and select Properties. Add a space and /Sagerun:99 to the end of the Shortcut in the Target box.

4. Now run the Disk Cleanup.

This works for Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Q. I wondered if it is possible to access your previous columns online? I clipped your column a couple of weeks ago, with some relevant information, and apparently discarded it by mistake.

A. I can tell you, but you must promise not to let anyone else know. The top secret Web address for past columns through March 10 is www.sptimes.com/Technology/archive.shtml. The Times also has a great new feature that allows subscribers to access an exact image of the paper online, including this column (along with a picture of my ugly mug) — you can find it at www.tampabay.com/mystpetetimes.

Send questions to [email protected] or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Find free space on your hard drive 05/11/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:44am]
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