Windows 11

Drive Keeps Filling Up on Windows: Top 9 Fixes

Preventing Future Problems: Proactive Strategies for Free Space Management

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When your drive keeps filling up on Windows, it implies that your hard drive storage space or solid-state drive (SSD) gets used up rapidly. This can cause slow performance and lead the computer to become unresponsive, insufficient space, and system crashes.

This issue may occur due to the rapid accumulation of several important or unimportant files. It is also possible that your Windows 11 C drive keeps filling up gradually over time or suddenly. Let’s see workarounds for this problem in this guide.

Why Does My PC Hard Drive Keep Filling Up?

  • Temporary files: While working, Windows and other programs create temporary files. These files can accumulate over time and fill significant storage space.
  • Large downloads: Downloading large files can quickly fill up your drive.
  • Media files: Photos, videos, and music files can also consume plenty of storage space, especially if they are high-resolution or uncompressed.
  • System restore points: Windows creates restore points automatically. This system snapshot is useful for restoring your PC to a previous state. However, they can take up significant storage space if there are too many.
  • Hibernation file: The hibernation file helps your PC to resume its work quickly from a low-power state. This file can be several gigabytes in size.
  • Unused programs and files: Unused programs and files on your PC can take up valuable storage space.
  • Malware: Some malware programs can fill up your drive with junk files or replicate themselves repeatedly.
  • Disk fragmentation: Your hard drive files can become fragmented over time, making storing new data efficiently difficult.

1. Delete Temporary Files

Temporary files are unwanted and unused files generated by programs during their operation. These files include log, cache, temporary internet, and offline files. Accumulation of these files can slow down the computer, cause insufficient storage, and system crashes.

Deleting them can free up storage space, improving performance, increasing storage, and reducing the risk of crashes. Ensure you clear the cache and temporary files on your computer.

2. Defragment your hard drive

Defragmenting your hard drive is like reorganizing the files on the PC. It gathers all the fragmented pieces of files and puts them back together in a contiguous order. This makes it faster for your computer to read and write data, leading to faster loading times, improved overall responses, and reduced disk wear and tear.

Here is how to defragment your hard drive:

  1. Open the search bar, enter defragment in the search field, and click Open.
  2. Then, select the drive you intend to defragment and click Optimize.
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  3. Finally, allow the process to complete.

3. Scan Your PC for Virus

Scanning for malware or viruses can help to fix your hard drive that keeps filling up by itself, as malware can sometimes lead to this error. During the scan, your antivirus software will detect malicious files or programs on your PC and try to eliminate them. You may use any trusted antivirus of your choice.

Here is how to perform a malware scan:

  1. In the search box, search for Windows Security.
  2. Click on the relevant search result to open the application.
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  3. Now click Virus & threat protection.
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  4. Next, click on the Scan options to view all available scans.
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  5. Choose the Full scan option and click the Scan now button to do a deep scan on your PC for viruses or malware.
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4. Check Your PC for Hard Disk Errors Using Chkdsk

Running a CHKDSK scan can repair the error if caused by a failing hard drive or a corrupted file system. The CHKDSK Windows utility scans the hard drive to detect errors and repairs them if possible. Use the following steps to run the scan:

  1. Hold down the Windows and S keys simultaneously, search for cmd, and then choose to Run as administrator to start the Command Prompt as an admin.
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  2. Enter the following command in the Command Prompt window and press the Enter key:
    chkdsk /f /r
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  3. Finally, enter Y and restart your PC so the utility can check for file system errors and search and shield bad sectors.
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5. Transfer Large Files and Apps to an Alternative Drive

Transferring large files and apps to an alternative drive involves moving large data from your main drive (typically C:) to another storage device, such as an external hard drive, solid-state drive, or secondary internal drive.

The alternative drive should have enough free space to accommodate the files and apps you want to move. This fix can free up space on your main drive, improve system performance, reduce the risk of drive errors, and increase storage space for new files.

Additionally, it can help declutter your main drive and make it easier to find files quickly.

6. Disable PC Hibernation

When you enable hibernation mode on your Windows computer, a hidden system file called Hiberfil.sys is created in the drive’s root folder where Windows is installed. This file can take up valuable space on your hard drive. To turn off hibernation mode, follow the steps below.

  1. Hold down the Windows and S keys simultaneously, search for cmd, and then choose to Run as administrator to start the Command Prompt as an admin.
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  2. Enter the following command in the Command Prompt window and press the Enter key:
    powercfg.exe /hibernate off
    Drive Keeps Filling Up on Windows
  3. Finally, type exit and hit Enter to close the Command Prompt window.

7. Remove Unnecessary Hidden Files

Removing unnecessary hidden files involves identifying and deleting hidden files that are not essential for the operation of your system. You can show hidden files taking up space on your hard drive. You may delete these files to free up additional storage space on your PC.

8. Manage Your PC’s Restore Points

While Windows Restore Points act like mini-system backups (especially for driver installs and updates), they can consume massive amounts of disk space and contribute to a full C drive. Disabling System Protection helps free up space. Use the following steps to complete this fix:

  1. Press the Windows + E keys simultaneously to launch the Windows Explorer.
  2. Then, find This PC, right-click it, and select Properties.
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  3. Afterward, select the System Protection link next to Related links.
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  4. Once the next window opens, select your system drive and click Configure.
    Drive Keeps Filling Up on Windows
  5. Then, click the Delete button to delete system restore points and click Continue on the confirmation pop-up to confirm.
  6. Finally, click the Apply and Confirm buttons to save changes.
    Drive Keeps Filling Up on Windows

9. Uninstall Unwanted Apps

Users usually install apps they either do not need or need for a nonrepetitive task. These apps pile up on the system and take up valuable storage space. You should identify those apps you may not need and remove them from your PC. Use the following steps to uninstall unwanted apps:

  1. Press the Windows and S keys simultaneously, type Control Panel into the text field, and click Open on the related result.
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  2. Then, click Programs and select Programs and Features.
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  3. Finally, right-click the desired program and click Uninstall. Then, follow the on-screen instructions.
    Drive Keeps Filling Up on Windows

In conclusion, take an active role in managing your storage space by implementing the tips in this article. Remember, a clean and organized drive leads to a smoother and more efficient experience on Windows.

Implementing proactive strategies like monitoring disk space, uninstalling unused programs, and regularly backing up your data can help prevent future storage issues. Let us hear your thoughts on these solutions in the comment section below.

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Richard Omachona
Richard is a techie in providing fixes and solutions for computer issues of various kinds. Among his contemporaries, he is a preferred choice. His experiences are vast in Windows operating systems, and several other skills in programming such as Python, Web Frontend designing implementing at industry standards, best practices in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. and basics in Web Backend. He also loves traveling, gaming and music.