Tech Tip: Increase Free Storage Space On Windows 8 Tablets

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If you’re the owner of a Windows 8 tablet (such as the Surface RT or plan on getting the upcoming Surface Pro), then you probably know about the difference between the advertised storage space and what is actually available to you when you receive the device. On my Samsung tablet, it says 64GB of storage, but before installing any apps, I had about 35GB available to me.

The good news is that there are a few things you can do to regain some of that storage space, as long as you’re willing to make a few sacrifices when it comes to recovery data.

Move Recovery Partition To A USB Stick

Doing this little trick will give you about 3.5GB of storage back. Microsoft posted a walkthrough of how to do this on the Surface. You’ll want to make sure you keep that USB stick in a safe place though in case you have to recover Windows from a fatal crash later on. I’ll be testing this method on my Samsung tablet later and will report back if it works.

Disable Hibernation Mode

I usually did this little trick on most of my Windows machines anyway, but disabling hibernation will save you about 4GB of space (or as much RAM as your tablet has installed). This task allows your computer to completely shutdown but still keeping your files and apps open without losing any data. It does this by writing everything in RAM to a file called hiberfil.sys. To remove this, simply disable hibernation mode by launching a command prompt (Start, type CMD, enter), then type “powercfg –h off” and enter. This will remove that hiberfil.sys file, free up the storage space, and disable hibernation mode. If you want to turn hibernation back on, just run the “powercfg –h on” command instead.

Turn Off System Restore

The System Restore options periodically save information about how your software changes and updates as things are installed so that you can easily go back to a previous state. That can take up a lot of disk space if you’re trying to keep things slim. First open the settings search by typing Windows key + W or simply start typing “System Protection” from the start screen and then look under settings. You’ll get a “System Properties” dialog with some protection settings at the bottom. Select a volume that shows Protection listed as On and then press the configure button to disable it. Or if you don’t want to disable it completely, also within the Configure button, you can specify how much disk space you want to allow the system protection feature to use. I would recommend doing one or the other. If you want piece of mind for a restore, then just limit how much space this process can consume.

Reduce The Paging File

Another file Windows uses is called a paging file. It uses this file when you have apps open that require more memory than the amount of RAM you have installed. The page file is usually equal to the amount of RAM you have installed, if not more. The issue with this file is that it’ll take up the space even if its not being used because it reserves the minimum setting. While I wouldn’t recommend completely disabling the paging file (although that’s an option), you can reduce it. In the same “System Properties” window that we just used to reduce the System Protection disk space usage, click on the “Advanced” tab, and then click the “Performance Settings” button. That will bring up Performance Options. Next click the “Advanced” tab in that dialog. You’ll see a section called “Virtual Memory” which shows you the total paging file size for all drives. Click the “Change” button and then the “Custom size” radio button in order to reduce the amount of disk space used by the paging file. The minimum allowed is 16mb, while the default will probably be about the size of your total RAM.

Compress The Installer Folder

If you have “Show hidden files” turned on in the folder options, within the Windows Folder and especially after you install a few programs, you’ll notice the “Installer” folder increasing in size. The files contained there are necessary for repairing, updating, and uninstalling other programs. You can right click the folder, choose “Properties” and then click “Advanced” and turn on the “Compress contents to save disk space” checkbox.

Cleanup Temporary Files Regularly

After a while, your system ends up with lots of temporary files from your browser and apps. One good app that I’ve used is CCleaner. It does a pretty good job at cleaning up all of these files. You can even set it to run on schedules or every time you start your computer. You can also use the built-in “Free Up Disk Space” wizard. Within that wizard, also have to clean up system files. This will remove old Windows Update logs and other files that aren’t needed anymore.

You can find a few more tips from our friends at PocketNow.

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