How can I run defrag when I don’t have enough disk space?

I’m trying to run defrag, however I can’t do this because of lack of space. I only have just 10 per cent of its space free and Disk Defragmenter is refusing to continue. I have a fear of deleting applications and files, not least because everything looks like it is required. What can I do?

If you’re using Windows XP, regardless of whether you’re on a large machine or one of these hp mini laptops your best bet is to use the supplied Disk Cleanup utility to free up some space. Typically, this won’t free up huge amounts, but as you only need to reclaim a little to get above the 15 per cent threshold Disk Defragmenter demands, we think it will help.

To launch it, click Start then point to All Programs, followed by Accessories, then System Tools. Click Disk Cleanup. The utility will spend a few minutes analysing your PC’s hard disk, looking for files that can be safely removed. This will include temporary internet files and the contents of the Windows Recycle Bin. Where possible, it will also offer to compress old files, but we don’t recommend this.

Use the tick boxes to make your selections, click OK and then click Yes to confirm that you’re happy for Disk Cleanup to make the changes.

When it’s done, try Disk Defragmenter again. If there’s still not enough free space to proceed, launch Disk Cleanup again and click the More Options tab.

Use the three options here to safely remove more stuff from your PC. Click the Clean up button in the Windows components section, for instance, to select and safely remove aspects of Windows that you don’t use or otherwise don’t want – such as Windows games, say. Click the Details button to find out what will be removed.

If there’s still not sufficient spare hard disk space for Disk Defragmenter to go about its business, then consider temporarily moving some or all of your personal files (those in My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, etc) to an external storage device, such as a USB memory key. When Disk Defragmenter has tidied up the hard disk, they can be copied back.

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