General Question

atlantis's avatar

Why does my C drive have only 6 MB left?

Asked by atlantis (1862points) June 21st, 2011

I keep cleaning it up but it doesn’t have any space left. It’s gotten to the point where I have to install programs on Drive D. I don’t know what to do. It’s making my computer slow and I can’t load web pages properly, not even facebook and twitter. Please help! :’(

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18 Answers

WasCy's avatar

What do you do to “clean it up”? If you delete to the Recycle Bin, then that’s just another storage area on the disk. Clean that up, and you’ll be releasing some acreage on the drive.

tom_g's avatar

You need to add a ton of detail with computer questions. For starters…
– What OS?
– How big and how many drives?
– What does “cleaning it up” mean?
– How much free space does your C drive have after you clean it up?
– Do you store files on the C drive?
– How much RAM do you have? (very important question)

Nullo's avatar

What is Drive D? Have you partitioned the HD at all?

jrpowell's avatar

I would try a tool to visualize your hard drive use like WinDirStat.

atlantis's avatar

Many appreciations for all the responses

1. OS – Windows Vista (32-bit) dunno what that means :P
2. Drives C, D, E
3. Cleaning Up: like the clean up prompt the system gives. I also use CCleaner and defragmenter in a futile effort to free up space. Even those don’t run propoerly for want of space
4. What do you mean store files? I only use C for program installation in case of a crash, so I don’t lose data.
5. RAM – 2.5 GB

@Nullo No I haven’t partitioned the HD C). I have three HDs:
C = 19.5 GB, (0 free)
D = 19.5 GB, (10% free)
E = 34.5 GB (50% free)

@johnpowell how much space is that going to need?

tom_g's avatar

Your C drive is only a 20GB drive? That’s it right there. What year is this PC from?
Vista alone needs something like 15GB of space. Install some programs and you’re pushing it. A 500GB drive will set you back around $45.

PocketWatch's avatar

@atlantis You fully used your storage capacity in HD C:. 20GB isn’t much, check how much storage each program uses, to check that go into start menu>Control Panel>Programs>Add or Remove. It will show a list of your programs and how much storage they use. 1024MegaBytes is 1 GigaByte. I would suggest taking out programs or music/videos that you don’t need or use.

atlantis's avatar

@tom_g I got my dell laptop in 2006 :P Thanks. I’ll get the upgrade :)

@PocketWatch I thought it was Miro. It takes up a lot of memory when downloading but after I delete the videos it frees up the drive. But lately even that wasn’t working.

filmfann's avatar

@atlantis Do you actually have 3 hard drives, or do you have one that is partitioned?

jrpowell's avatar

@filmfann :: My bet is the drive is 80Gigs with three partitions. 80 would have been pretty standard in 2006.

I would advise buying a USB drive to back-up everything (I just got Allie a 1TB one for 50 bucks). Then format the internal drive as a single partition and reinstall the Windows. It is a pain in the ass but in a day everything can be back to normal.

jerv's avatar

Yeah, 80GB sounds closer to correct. If nothing else, it is highly unlikely for a laptop to have two physical hard drives, and I personally have never seen one with three.

Now, I use 170GB on my laptop without trying and despite using CCleaner to wipe temp files, setting files to delete immediately without ever hitting the Recycle Bin (a common mistake). I don’t have a lot of videos and less than 10GB worth of music on it; there is no need since I use my desktop for real storage. Space disappears quickly, so I am happy I have 288GB to play with. I have a 320GB drive with a recovery partition. You will appreciate the extra space.

Personally, I find no reason for the average Windows user to have more than two partitions, one of them being only a couple of gigs and used only for a fixed swap file for the virtual memory. Multiple partitions make the house-keeping just get complicated and messy, and not everyone is up for that sort of maintenance. It’s often better to just keep things simple with just one big partition… that is 5–10 times the size of anything on the market back in ‘06.

atlantis's avatar

@filmfann I don’t think the drive has been partitioned. The day I got it it had these three drives, C, D and E. Drive C is the one where Vista is installed. So I call that the hard drive.

@jerv I heard that having too much extra space for your OS will cause it to work slower. Because if Vista needs 15GB – as @tom_g says – and I give it a good 100GB to work with, it scatters all the info throughout the available memory. And that causes it to run slower due to retrieval issues. Is that true?

@johnpowell if I just keep drive C for Vista and upgrade D and E to 100 GB each and use that for the rest of the programs and data storage is that going to be good? Because re-installing windows sounds like too much work.

So what should I tell the computer guy to do?

WasCy's avatar


I’m certain that you have only a single hard drive on your computer. Here’s how you can find out, as easily as possible.

Go to My Computer (or whatever the icon is called on your Windows desktop that represents “My Computer” – it might be called ‘whatever the computer name is’, instead)

Right-click the icon and select “Properties”

Click the tab for “Hardware”

Click on “Device Manager”

When the list is generated, click the ”+” next to “Disk Drives”. That will give you a list of the physical drives in the system. (I expect that you have only one shown, but hold on, we’re not done yet.)

Now right-click on the disk drive name and click “Properties” again.

Click the tab for “Volumes” and the button at the bottom of the dialog box for “Populate”. This will list all of the names of the various partitions on your hard drive, and their sizes.

And now you know what you have.

jerv's avatar

I’ve never heard that one, nor experienced any slowdown as a result. Then again, my computer defrags in it’s spare time anyways; I hacked the Registry to do that.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv I don’t suppose that an amateur could do that? Sounds awfully efficient.

jerv's avatar

I am not sure if the Registry in Vista is the same as WinXP, so I won’t tell you exactly what I did just in case the two are too different to be compatible. In other words, I don’t want to risk breaking your machine. Supposedly Vista runs the defrag in the background once a week automatically unless you tell it otherwise anyways

However, there are many who claim that Vista’s built-in defrag utility sucks compared to WinXP, Win7, or third-party solutions like Defraggler thus making such a Registry hack rather dubious and possibly redundant.

atlantis's avatar

@WasCy Thanks a trillion! Your right, I got three partitions. That made me feel like a pro!

WasCy's avatar

Excellent. Thanks for the note.

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