Full hard drive and how to deal with it

At times, we tend to forget about our hard drives residing within our computers until its too late. When trying to download files from the internet, it doesn’t go through. You’re wondering why that is the case. Also, your computer might start to run very slow and some programs fail to load. In the end, one of those programs may tell you that your hard drive is full and therefore unable to access it.

My hard drive is full, now what?

Of course, the culprit can be many things. Maybe you downloaded an operating system image, for example, to burn to DVD or wrote to your USB flash drive and forgot to delete it. Even if you did a simple cleanup as explained here, there are still “rogue” files lingering within your system. Ones that you may have placed yourself such as in your “Documents” folder or “Desktop” may have been left there, to be forgotten. Usually, it can be difficult locating files and folders on your hard drive that consumes the most space. Fortunately, there is a solution to that.


TreeSize is a one-of-a-kind software which allows you to find the largest directory or file consuming the most space on your hard drive. It scans for all directories on the drive and gives you a detailed list to sort through. It may even list those hidden from you(most times for good reason). Luckily, this software is very straightforward to use and can set up without much trouble involved.

There are 2 versions available, professional and free. We will be using the free version of TreeSize, which can be downloaded directly from here. You can either do it with the installer or run it as a portable ZIP file.

For the installation:

Accept the agreement and click “Next >”.

You will notice that TreeSize only requires 8.8 MB of disk space. If your hard drive is very full to the point where you can’t fit in another file(s), then delete some unneeded files first. Click “Next >”.

For ease of navigation, it is recommended that you click on “Create a desktop shortcut” and “For the current user only”. Below it, TreeSize has File Explorer integration which has been enabled by default. After, click on “Next >” and let the installer finish.

For this part in order for TreeSize to scan correctly, you will need to open TreeSize as an Administrator. Go ahead and click the checkbox next to “Launch TreeSize Free now as Administrator”, and click “Finish” to proceed.

TreeSize will open, and start to scan your entire hard drive. Depending on your computer performance, it shouldn’t take long at all. Upon completion, you will be presented with files and folders which are consuming the most hard drive space. From here, you can click the drop down arrows next to the directories in order to find the offender specifically.

At the top is the menu, it is very simple to use. You can click on “Refresh” in order to scan the entire hard drive again. Under “Mode”, you can change how hard drive consumption is displayed in the list. You can also change the unit of measurement(Byte, KB, MB, GB, TB) and automatically expand contents of the selected directory in the list with the “Expand” menu option.

Hopefully this has helped you discover any unwanted and hidden files on your hard drive.