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SSD houses Windows, keeps running out of space

Managing SSD space with mklink

Storing your Windows OS on an SSD is a good idea as it will speed up your PC or laptop. But Windows has a nasty habit of expanding and filling up your solid state storage. Our Helproom Editor explains what to do if your Windows operating system keeps filling up the SSD on which it is housed.

QUESTION I've bought a PC with a 60GB SSD installed to house my Windows operating system, with the bulk of my files stored on a 1TB hard drive. I love the extra speed the SSD gives me, but I'm now running into problems where my C: drive is very close to full no-matter how hard I try to clear stuff out.

I've used the usual Windows Disk Cleanup and also CCleaner, but I really need more space and I don't want to have to keep running such processes manually over and over again. What can I do?

HELPROOM ANSWER This is one of the main problems with smaller SSDs. Windows loves to save temporary files and all sorts of other information on the Windows system drive by default, so even if you're careful to install all your applications onto a different drive, your boot drive will still fill up over time.

One way to get around this is to identify folders which are becoming full and move them to your secondary drive by creating a junction. The junction functions much like a shortcut except that all references to the original location are seamlessly and silently directed to your secondary drive in the background without the application needing to know what's going on.

When viewed via Windows Explorer or from any application, your files and folders will still appear to reside on your SSD.

You need to do a little bit of command line work to set this up, but Windows has the required tool built in. Assuming you have a folder on drive C: called "BigFolder", we can move it to drive D: and then create a junction. First move the folder to D:\BigFolder, but keep an empty folder on C: called BigFolder.

Now open up a command prompt with Administrator privileges and type "mklink /D C:\BigFolder D:\BigFolder". Now if you look inside C:\BigFolder, you will actually see the contents of D:\BigFolder. Windows and applications can continue to use C:\BigFolder as before but no space is actually taken up on drive C.

It's best to keep these links to a minimum and use them only where necessary. Don't attempt to use this trick with any components of Windows itself and you should definitely avoid creating infinite loops by linking to folders to folders within themselves.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor for more Windows advice. Or email our Helproom Editor for bespoke advice.

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