Although not Law Enforcement related, I realized due to the fact my agency assigned laptop has a Solid State SSD Hard Drive, the size of the drive is small to save money for the agency. That being said, I am constantly fighting for space on the Windows installation. I have listed some common techniques to clear up on some space on your Windows 10 installation.
You might be asking why not Windows 7 or earlier? The procedures in this blog post apply to Windows 7 as well. Your agency should not be using anything less than Windows 7.
Search for Big Files
There are many files that are hidden in sub-directories where many are Windows installation files and log files. To search for these large files that are not necessary, open either File Explorer or “My Computer”, select “This PC” either on the left pane or the main pane, and double click on the C: drive, which is usually your Windows installation drive.
While viewing your C: Drive, in the top right search pane, select it, type “size:” which will reveal a drop down and select “Gigantic >128MB”. once selected, this will search your hard drive for files larger than 128 megabytes.Be patient, this might take a while and finally you will now see a list of files that are large. Be sure to select the “Details” from the view tab to view the file details, which will provide file details.
Click on the Size Column in the detailed list to sort the files from the biggest in size, to the smallest, as we are going to target only the large files. ISO files, Program Installers, and Temp Files are files you can typically and safely get rid of. If you are in doubt what the large file does, leave it as you do not want to break any programs.
Delete Downloaded Files
Throughout time, you might have accrued files in your “Downloads” folder which you have downloaded, and installed programs from. You have just forgotten to delete these files as for most people, they simply click on the downloaded file in the browser of their choice and forget they actually downloaded the file to their Downloads folder.
Simply navigate to your “Downloads” folder which is usually in your Quick Access Toolbar in Windows, and delete any downloads you no longer need.
Use Windows Disk Cleanup
Windows 10 (and Windows 7) has a program called Windows “Disk Cleanup” which will scan your Windows installation, and locate / delete unnecessary files the operating system no longer needs.
You can find this utility by searching the Windows 7 and Windows 10 Search bar, by typing “Disk” and then selecting “Disk Cleanup”.
Select your Windows installation drive, the C: Drive. Then wait a little for the wizard to appear after it scans your drive for files which can be deleted. Select all of the check boxes and then “OK” to remove the unnecessary files.
Then launch the same utility again as described above, but now click on “Clean up system files” and scan for files again to perform a deep clean of the Windows installation, after selecting all of the check boxes again.
Disable Hibernation if Not In Use
By default, most computers especially laptops, are setup to use Windows Hibernation, which is when you close the lid of your laptop device, or the power button of your computer is depressed, Windows will store the current memory state to a system file, and then go to sleep for quick and easy start up when the computer is next powered on. This file becomes large and remains on your computer even after your computer starts from Hibernation.
I personally never have used Hibernation since the days of Window XP as it seemed the start up became corrupt, and would have to restart anyways. Furthermore, Windows 10 has fast boot, which makes Hibernation unnecessary in my opinion. Knowing Windows Hibernation uses a lot of hard drive space (my system was 20 Gigabytes), I disabled it, which removed this space after a reboot.
To disable Windows Hibernation, simply open your Windows Command Prompt by typing “cmd” in your Windows search bar, right click on the Command Prompt” and select “Run as administrator”.
“powercfg /hibernate off” and then hit “Enter”.
By using the methods listed above, you should be able to gain at least a few gigabytes of data free on your hard drive.