Windows 10 Ate My Hard Drive!


For Christmas last year I got a wonderful new computer. Specifically, it has 16 gigs of RAM, a hard disk of 1 terrabyte and a solid state drive [SSD] with 128 GB of space on it. Obviously, I’d use the SSD to have the programs on it as well as my current projects and use the hard disk to store data and programs. Worse comes to worse, I just have to reinstall the hard drive, right?

So imagine my shock when I discovered that after a few days of use, the operating system and few programs I had [Adobe CS6, MS Office Suite 2010] suddenly had only 10 GB of space remaining. How the heck did this happen? I wanted a good computer for developing computer programs, but Windows OS 10 takes up way, way too much space. Should I try to get a ‘downgrade’ to Windows 7?

Thankfully, I had years of Windows System Administration to draw upon. After asking a few colleagues and poking around on my system files, it turns out that my computer kept the old operating systems and recovery files as well as that software. Windows 10 had essentially installed itself on top of the original windows 8.1 installation that my beautiful new computer had.

So how did I reclaim the space on my machine?  Well, there are a few things one can do, and I’ll let you know which ones I have done.

  1.     Reinstall the OS: Just wipe it clean. Most machines come with strange bloatware that eats up unnecessary space and quite frankly, isn’t that special. I haven’t done this part yet as I thought I’d give the new OS and software a chance.   I have a spare windows 7 key and for the record, Microsoft will support Windows 7 until 2020.
  2.     Switch to LINUX/UNIX As I said, Windows 10 keeps the old operating system for you to go back to as a system restore point, in case 10 doesn’t work out well. I ended up putting Ubuntu on my friend Kyle’s ultra book [laptop that be flipped over into a tablet]. He loves it. The touchscreen works perfectly and boots up near instantaneously.  Consider LINUX, like Linux Mint or Ubuntu if Windows 10 doesn’t work out for you. In fact, I preach to everyone that unless you got some proprietary software that you must use, you will be better off with a given flavor of LINUX than using Windows.  I got a ton of software for free since I was until recently a “student.”    This isn’t what I did, but I did think abut making a partition so I could dual boot.
  3.   Run the Disk Cleanup utility tool/Blow Away Partition:  This is what I did. Disk Cleanup, when you use the right settings, will clear out the detritus of the old system restore files and old operating system. Removing the reversion files saved me more than 20+ GB of space. I also removed a bunch of junk that I knew I wasn’t going to use. Again, this will remove your safety net, your time machine, whatever you want to call it, so keep those back-ups handy! To find it, just hit the winkey (windows key/super key) and then type in ‘Disk Cleanup’ and you should find what you are looking for. Just look through the options to check the right boxes and if unsure about anything, run the option through a web search and read up on it.  And of course,
  4.   Avoid Space Issues by Buying a Larger SSD:  This is what I should have done, but didn’t as I was trying to work very hard within a budget. Make sure you 100% know what it is you are buying and that you have a chance to play with it before you miss the return-by date. Believe me, they are worth every single penny and then some! Yes, it will hurt your pocket more, but considering that you don’t need to defrag an SSD and the boot-up times are incredible, it’ll be worth it.


And as always, if you don’t believe me, enjoy some sauce:

EDIT: A previous version was published instead of this slightly more polished one. It happens. 2/2/2016

John Grillo out.