What should I do about a "Low Disk Space" error?

May 19, 2018 by
What should I do about a "Low Disk Space" error?
Matthew Almendinger

Disk space refers to the storage capacity of your computer. (But what is the difference between memory and storage?) In most business cases, the capacity maxes out at around 500GB. This is usually more that one would ever need, but some individuals working with things like photos/videos or CAD files fill up 500GB quickly. This will trigger a “Low Disk Space” error which can be annoying and even slows down some tasks for the computer. Some programs will not run if there is not any disk space left on the drive. With the popularization of solid-state drives (SSDs) in business now, this problem has become a lot more common. Since SSDs are a bit more expensive (which people pay for due to their awesome speed using flash storage) buying larger sizes can be too costly. This has brought the average computer size from 500GB or even 1TB, to between 128GB or 25GB.

What is this error?

These warnings come up after having only 200MB of the drive space left. This means that the computer will try and take actions needed to maintain minimum performance capabilities. Within Windows, anything under 80MB free will force a stronger warning message. It will actually start trying to free space up on its own, but only enough to get back above the 80MB. This usually only includes restore points and temporary files. Under 50MB of available disk space grants an urgent warning message that is delivered every four minutes. If ignored, Windows will delete all system restore points in a mad panic. The System Restore function will not reactivate until the drive gets back above 200MB free space.

It is recommended to stay under 90% full as running out of space on your hard drive (HDD) or SSD leads to slower operating on the boot drive. There is a required minimum amount of available disk space on the system drive to guarantee the better performance of your computer.

How do I fix this issue?

There are a few ways to go about solving this problem. If the computer needs a bunch more space, simply buying more storage can fix it. If your computer only has one drive-bay (one spot for another disk) then imaging (coping) your current boot drive to a larger one is required. The more temporary solution is to clean out old files and clutter on the computer. Most operating systems will store old files that are not needed anymore like old updates just in case something goes wrong and they could be used to revert back. Log files and cached items are also good examples of these temp-files. Clearing this is as easy as emptying the recycle bin, just located somewhere else. Go to the properties option of your boot drive (commonly referred to as the C-drive) and click the disk-cleanup button. You can check the boxes you feel are not important to keep (or large enough to help you) and hit OK, but cleaning up system files is generally a nice additional step that will get rid of clutter. Selecting that feature will grant you access to deleting many more files. Again, hit OK and watch as the progress bar shows complete. This action may take a decent amount of time, depending on the file size being cleared. The good news if that this can run in the background and you can go about your business, but do not turn off or let the computer go into sleep mode until the process is complete. The properties window that should still be open will let you know how much space is free.

If you cannot free up of enough disk space or simply have a small partition that you have allotted only the amount the system needs, getting rid of the notification itself is quite simple. We do not recommend that as away to solve a normal issue however. Using this registry editor method is just helpful for instances like if the recovery partition is almost full and it has gotten annoying to see this message.

CCleaner is another good way to gain back some room on your drives among the many great features this application comes with. This app also can remove files that appear to be duplicates, clean out your internet browsers, uninstall programs and much more.



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