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Windows Tip: Free and Used Spaces Don’t Match? Clear Your Restore Points

This is one irk that I have with Windows XP. I “lose” some precious hard drive space from time to time. You’ve probably experienced this yourself with XP. After a good accounting of where you’re spending disk space (tallying the used versus the free), you might find a large discrepancy between the numbers.

Say you have a 120GB hard drive, your used space says 60GB and your free space says 50GB. So where the heck did the 10GBs go? (NOTE: Your system may reflect that a 40GB hard drive by specs only shows around 38GBs or so. It’s just the bits-bytes conversion.)

Here’s one spot to look at – System Restore disk usage. System Restore’s a handy XP feature and what it does is it copies a state of your system that can be used to restore the system just in case something bad happens. It uses a lot system space (around 200MB per checkpoint depending on how many things are installed in your PC). Now XP creates these checkpoints on certain occasions that you might not know of. If you have around 5 checkpoints, then those are already 1GB worth of space.

You can reclaim this “lost” space by clearing your previous checkpoints save for the latest one.
NOTE: I recommend you create one checkpoint of a working state before you do this.

  • Access the Disk Cleanup utility by clicking Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup
  • Click on the More Options tab
  • Click on the Cleanup button in the System Restore section
  • Just confirm on the following pop-ups
  • Check if your free space on your Windows drive goes up

Clean System Restore

As you may have noticed I haven’t jumped to Vista quite yet. But I’m seriously considering buying a laptop soon, and the sad thing is that they all have Vista bundled with them. So maybe I’ll be featuring Vista tips then.


Categories: Computers, Windows Tips


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