Disk space usage question -- help appreciated

My girlfriend’s PC (using Windows XP; used to use Windows 95) runs chronically low on disk space, her D: drive currently using all but 42 MB of its 1.52 GB. This causes a number of problems, the latest being the persistent notifications that disk space for the D: drive is “critically low,” and that the System Restore application has been disable until at least 200 MB of space can be freed up.

The trouble is, I have no idea what’s using up all the space, nor how to free up any significant amount. When I follow the computer’s prompts to free disk space, I end up at the Add/Remove Programs screen–which might be helpful, except that none of the few programs it lists are ones I’d like to uninstall (and they only comprise about 91 MB of space anyway).

Here’s what the Add/Remove Programs screen lists:

Adobe Acrobat (16.34 MB)
AOL Instant Messenger (no size given)
diskSpace Explorer Home Edition (2.00 MB)
IrfanView (1.63 MB)
Java 2 Runtime Environment, SE v.1.4.1_02 (1.88 MB)
Java Web Start (2.81 MB)
LiveReg (Symantec Corporation) (2.16 MB)
LiveUpdate 1.80 (Symantec Corporation) (7.69 MB)
Logitech iTouch Software (2.56 MB)
Microsoft Word 97 (no size given)
Mozilla (1.4) (no size given)
Norton AntiVirus 2002 (16.77 MB)
RealOne Player (34.34 MB)
Shockwave (no size given)
Viewpoint Media Player (2.75 MB)
Windows XP Hotfix - KB823980 (no size given)
That’s it. My girlfriend basically uses her computer for word processing and surfing the net–she doesn’t have any space-eating computer games installed, nor does she download music or other media files.

When I run the diskSpace Explorer program listed above, it tells me any number of interesting things about where the 1.52 GB is going:

Disk D:

Windows (using 50% of space)
Program Files (18%)
Documents and Settings (12%)
Pagefile.sys (11%)
Hiberfil.sys (4%)
Recycled (2%) (obviously I can get rid of this)

Within Windows:

System32 (using 54% of space)
Driver Cache (9%)
Inf (9%)
Pchealth (6%)
Help (4%)
Fonts (3%)
Srchasst (1%)
Java (1%)
various smaller folders and files (the rest)

Within Program Files:

Common Files (using 44% of space)
Real (9%)
Microsoft Office (8%)
Adobe (5%)
Norton AntiVirus (5%)
various smaller programs (the rest)

I’ve just cleared another 30 MB or so by cleaning up the temp folders, but here’s my question: what’s eating up all the space? More importantly, what can I get rid of so that the system runs more smoothly? I’ve tried a couple of downloadable shareware disk space utilities, but they haven’t been much help (I’m assuming mostly because I just don’t know what I’m looking for). For instance, can I get rid of the pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys files (totalling about 230 MB of space), or not? Should my System32 folder be that huge?

What can I do? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Buy a new drive. Really. 1.52 GIGs is nothing for windows.

The space you have is probabaly being slowly reduced due to cache usage (from surfing the internet) and from growing WORD documents (hey, some docs can be pretty large).

You can reduce the amount of cache space in IE in the TOOLS - INTERNET OPTIONS settings.

If you really want to, try to remove windows “parts” you don’t need. I typically remove componets that I never use.

If you have plenty of ram and don’t mind windows possibly crashing, you can turn off window’s swap file, but it’s not recommended.

But really, get some more drives. I figure I won’t have to worry about HD space for another 2 years…
…since I have 540 GIGs of space :smiley:

According to Microsoft you need 1.5GB of available hard disk space to run XP. That’s XP alone.

All you need is another hard drive. Go to your favorite tech store and buy the cheapest Maxtor drive you can afford.

Here’s What You Need to Use Windows XP Home Edition (it’s still going to be slow if you have only 64mb ram for example…)
[li]PC with 300 megahertz (MHz) or higher processor clock speed recommended; 233-MHz minimum required;* Intel Pentium/Celeron family, AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended [/li][li]128 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended (64 MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features) [/li][li]1.5 gigabyte (GB) of available hard disk space.* [/li][li]Super VGA (800 × 600) or higher resolution video adapter and monitor [/li][li]CD-ROM or DVD drive [/li][li]Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device [/li][/ul]

The OP explicitly states a major source of the problem: System Restore. Turn this hog off and clear out its restore directory.

Sure, a bigger hard drive would be nice, but System Restore will try to eat that one too. So you need to know how to disable it sooner or later.

While you are at it, look for and turn off all the useless junk that starts up at boot. You’ll be amazed at how much fast your 'puter runs.