What Is Taking Up Space on My Hard Drive? [Windows 7]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Oct 16, 2022


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Have you ever noticed how something’s eating up your disk capacity?

Let’s look at a particular case of what is taking up space on my hard drive with Windows 7 and how to fix it.

Read on below to figure out how to free up space.

What Is Taking Up Space on My Hard Drive? (Windows 7)

Having enough hard drive capacity is essential because it can boost performance. However, some files, apps and features that are taking up space can be removed to increase your PC’s work rate.

Let’s look at the top three ways to see what’s taking up space in your storage.

Use Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is a file management tool that browses all your computer files on Microsoft Windows. Each takes a certain amount of space on your drives assigned with a letter (C, D, or E). This app allows you to read from and interact with those disk drives, thus managing them.

Let me show you how to use it to see the state of your PC storage.

Firstly, you need to open the app by pressing the Windows key and the "E" button on your keyboard simultaneously.

Then you’ll see a screen with all your directories and your disk drives. The status bar underneath a PC storage drive indicates how much is occupied.

You can also browse files and folders inside it to see the space each one is using.

Command Prompt

CMD (Command Prompt) is an аpp that lets you execute actions through command lines. It can show you how your data is allocated and how much space each file type takes up.

Run CMD as an administrator from the "Start" menu by typing its name in the search box. A black window will pop up where you have to input the following line:

fsutil volume allocationReport C:

Beware that "C" stands for the drive letter. If you want to check for another drive, replace it with the corresponding letter.

To see the amount of free disk space in Windows 7 for all volumes, type in:

wmic logicaldisk get size, freespace, caption

After each executed command, you’ll see a bunch of information, including data allocation and free space.

Windows 7 cmd files

windows 7 free space cmd

Data sizing comes in bits, bytes, terabytes, etc. The size in the above images is in bytes. That's why you see such large numbers.

Third-party software

Although Windows Explorer and CMD are valuable apps, they may be hard to use and inefficient.

However, using a well-optimized third-party program for such tasks could save you both time and effort.

Cleaner One Pro and CCleaner are similar apps with a built-in disk analyzer. This feature shows you exactly what your storage is using. Also, it can help you delete unnecessary temporary files and rarely used apps to clean up computer space

Cleaner one Pro

As you can see from the image above, files are put into different categories. That makes cleaning up disk space even easier because you don’t have to waste time browsing your file system.

How To Clear Disk Space

Finding out what is taking up space on my hard drive in Windows 7 is relatively easy. Now I need to find a way to clean it up.

Here are five methods to clean disk space.

Uninstall Unwanted Programs

Infrequently used apps clog computer memory. Therefore, uninstalling them will most certainly free tons of gigabytes of space.

Here’s how you can do it quickly:

  1. Open the “Add or Remove Programs” feature in your operating system. To do so, search for it in the “Start Menu.” A window will pop up with all your programs listed there. You can also see each app’s size on the right side.
  2. Select a program, right-click it, and then select Uninstall. Follow the steps to complete the process.

Voila! Now you have more free space on your PC! However, some apps leave "junk" files that can be cleaned up with the tip below.

Delete Temporary Files

As we mentioned, apps may leave “junk” after uninstalling them. These are files that programs create for their processes, i.e., temporary files. Usually, our operating system deletes those when we close the program. However, sometimes during sudden crashes, this file deletion doesn’t occur, hence leaving data on your system.

Luckily, we’re here to help you! Let’s show you how to free up space on Windows 7 from “junk” files.

  • Run the “Disk Cleanup” feature by searching for it in the “Start” menu.
    The system scans your drive to determine how much data you can clear. However, if you have multiple drives, it first lets you choose which one to run the process on.
  • Next, you see a list of all the files that can be safely removed.
  • Tick all of the boxes under the “Files to delete” section, and press OK.

Wait for the process to clean up the hard drive.

Use Third-party Software

Another quick and efficient method to clear space on the computer is by using third-party apps.

One of these is called CCleaner.

  1. Download, install and run the app.
  2. Locate and click on the “Custom Clean” feature on the left side of the app’s window. 
  3. Next, you’ll see two categories - “Windows” and “Applications.” You can choose from each category what type of files to delete.
  4. Click on the “Run Cleaner” button to start the process.

Once the process finishes, you will see more details in the middle of the window.

CCleaner's dashboard

Reduce the amount of space used for System Restore

This feature is used to restore your operating system to a previous state. Microsoft Windows regularly creates a disk image, which you can later use to restore your OS. However, they could be pretty significant. Deleting them or reducing their size will free up storage space.

Here’s how you can do it. 

  1. Right-click on “Computer” in the “Start” menu and select “Properties.”
  2. Look for “System Protection” on the left side. Then open its tab.
  3. Select the desired drive and click on the “Configure” button. You have the option to turn off the system restoration completely. However, we don’t recommend doing that for safety reasons. 
  4. Instead, move the slider at the bottom to adjust the Windows space usage.

Although this will save you tons of gigabytes in the future, you may lose important files if your OS “dies.”

Store files in archives

If you have a lot of rarely used files on your PC, they’ll eat up vital storage capacity. However, if you don’t want to get rid of them, you can archive them to free up hard drive space.

Putting a computer file into an archive could reduce its size to 10% of its original amount. It uses a process called "data compression." The latter involves modifying structured data by re-encoding it to reduce size. This is a straightforward and efficient way to free up space on a PC.

Here’s how you can create an archive with 7Zip.

  • Select a single or multiple folders/files and right-click on them.
  • Locate the “7 Zip” option from the drop-down menu and click it.
  • Click the “Add to archive” button. A window pops up with the archive’s details. You can encrypt it with a password or name it. After you finish with its details, click “OK,” and the files are added to it.

Wrap Up

Poor data management will lead to a lack of PC storage capacity and the computer becoming sluggish. That's because your OS needs enough free space to operate smoothly.

So, knowing how to clean up Windows disk space will positively reflect your desktop computer’s performance

Although the tips we gave you’ll surely help you free up Windows space, the problem might be elsewhere. So, if you’re running out of storage constantly, consider upgrading your hard disk to a bigger and faster solid-state drive.

Now that you’ve learned how to clean disk space, learn how to expand it.


How do I free up space on my hard drive Windows 7?

There are several ways to free up Windows 7 disk space. 

  1. Uninstall any unnecessary apps.
  2. Delete temporary files.
  3. Use third-party apps to analyze your disk and find large files to delete them.
  4. Reduce the space used by the “System Backup” feature.
  5. Keep rarely used files, e.g., songs, photos, in archives to free up more space.

How do I find out what's taking up my hard drive space?

I found several ways to see what is taking up space on my Windows 7 hard drive.

  1. Use a disk analyzer by third-party software.
  2. Use Windows Explorer to find big and unnecessary files manually.
  3. Open CMD with administrative privileges and type in the following commands:
    fsutil volume allocationReport C:
    wmic logicaldisk get size, freespace, caption

What happens if your disk space is full?

If you're constantly running out of storage capacity, your computer will get sluggish. That’s because your operating system needs sufficient free space to run smoothly.


Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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