How to free up space on your SSD

Hard drives keep getting bigger, and yet they inevitably fill up sooner or later. That's all the more true if you're using a solid state drive (SSD) that's much faster, but also much more expensive, than the traditional mechanical hard drive. With these tricks you can free up space on your SSD.

Tip 01: Compress

Don't get expensive by buying an external storage drive, but compress the files so that they take up much less space. Windows contains a tool for compressing files and folders that works very smoothly. On systems with modern processors you will notice little or no performance loss. The difference with other compression tools like 7-Zip, WinRAR or Bandizip is that the files remain as they are. CompactGUI is the graphical interface of the compact command in which you can determine, among other things, whether you use the fastest or most compact compression.

Slim is sensible

Managing the contents of an SSD is not only a matter of economical use of disk space, you also ensure that the SSD continues to perform optimally. SSDs become slower as you fill them up. This is because a full disk contains many partially filled blocks, and writing data to full blocks is slower than to empty blocks. For best performance, no more than 75 percent of the total storage capacity is used.

Tip 02: Disk Cleanup

One of the most obvious ways to gain space is to remove ballast using Windows' built-in Disk Cleanup program. Open the menu Start, type Disk Cleanup and click OK. You select the disk where you want to free up space and then you check the parts that can be removed. With this tool you can safely delete temporary internet files, offline web pages and log files. You can also delete temporary files that have not been accessed for a week or more. At the bottom is a counter that indicates how much disk space you are freeing. If the number of MBs won is disappointing, there is the option Clean up system files, which you can use to clean up Windows updates, among other things.

Tip 03: Cleaning up clutter

If you want to free up even more space, BleachBit is recommended. This tool to remove junk on a computer is similar to CCleaner. An important difference is that BleachBit is open source. The program also works in Dutch. The parts you can clean are divided into categories like System, Chrome and Firefox. When you get winapp2.ini in this tool, BleachBit can clean up the remnants of 2,500 extra programs.

Tip 04: Skip hibernation mode

Hibernation mode, not to be confused with sleep mode, is actually superfluous if you have an SSD. In hibernation mode, the PC shuts down after it has written the contents of the memory. This allows the PC to immediately pick up where it left off and that does indeed result in sharper boot times with a classic hard drive. With a fast SSD, the startup gain is negligible. By disabling hibernation you gain space again. Enter in the search box Start the term Command Prompt and launch this tool with the right mouse button as administrator. Enter the command powercfg -h off and press Enter to cancel sleep mode.

Tip 05: Pruning applications

Throwing away programs that you never use also provides extra space, but some applications simply take up little space. Through the Control Panel and then Programs and Features you get an overview of what is installed on the PC. In the column Size you read the number of MBs that this software takes up. Click on the column title to sort all items by size. Right-click remove the software you'd rather get rid of than be rich.

Tip 06: Trim System Restore

System Restore is a powerful means of reverting your computer to a point in the past in the event of a problem. For this, System Restore takes a picture of what your system looks like at that moment, but such a restore point does not affect your documents, music or images. The system automatically deletes old restore points, but the more gigabytes you allow for System Restore, the more restore points it will keep. In the Control Panel click on System and then you open System Security. In the tab System Security click on Configure. A slider lets you specify how much disk space you're willing to sacrifice for these restore points. One percent more or less immediately translates into gigabytes of disk space.

Tip 07: Analysis

WinDirStat makes an analysis of the hard drive so that you can clearly see how you are eating up the disk space. When installing this freeware, you can load the Dutch language files, after which a dialog box appears in which you indicate which data carrier you wish to screen. The overview is clear and a color belongs to each extension. At the top you can navigate like in Windows Explorer. While you select a folder or file, this freeware highlights the data in the colorful overview. When you right-click on a file or folder, you can delete the data, get the path, open it in File Explorer or Command Prompt.

Tip 08: Save smart

Since the Creators Update, Windows 10 has a feature that automatically frees up disk space without having to open any utility. The function is called rather illogical Smart save. As far as we're concerned, it could have been better called 'Disk cleanup for slobs'. Open through the Institutions the choice System and then click on the left Storage. In the next step you indicate that you Smart save want to enable. When you click Change how space is freed up note that this option automatically deletes useless temporary files, as well as files that have been in the Trash for more than 30 days.

Tip 09: Selective sync

Of course you also store files and photos in the cloud, but that doesn't actually save you any disk space because everything you store online is usually also synced with your PC – unless you sync selectively. This means that you indicate which folders the online service should synchronize to your laptop or desktop and which folders remain available exclusively online. You can always reach the latter files via the internet. Click the Dropbox icon in the system tray. Then click the gear icon and select Preferences. Then you come to the window to Selective sync configure.


Of course, what applies to Dropbox also applies to OneDrive. Also in this cloud storage service you choose which folders you actually download and save on the PC. Right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray and choose Institutions. Click on the tab Account and then Choose folders. Then select the folders you want to sync with your computer. Via the web browser you keep access to folders that you do not synchronize via the OneDrive site.

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