Strategies for freeing up disk space


To install important updates like Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, you need to have enough free disk space on your computer (though much of that space will be reclaimed after the installation). If your hard disk is getting full, you need to free up disk space to install the service pack.

To view the amount of free space on your hard disk

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then click Computer.
  2. Click the hard disk you want to check.

    The total size and available free space appear in the details pane at the bottom of the window.

Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 disk space requirements

The amount of free disk space you need before installing Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 depends on what method you use to install the service pack.

Windows 7 SP1 disk space requirements

Installation method Approximate disk space requirements
Installation method

Windows Update

Approximate disk space requirements

Automatic updating requires the least amount of disk space and is the recommended way to get Windows 7 SP1.

  • 32-bit (x86): 750 MB

  • 64-bit (x64): 1050 MB

Installation method

Downloading Windows 7 SP1 from the Microsoft website

Approximate disk space requirements

You can also download Windows 7 SP1 from the Microsoft website. This method requires more disk space than using Windows Update.

  • 32-bit (x86): 4 GB

  • 64-bit (x64): 7.2 GB

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 disk space requirements

Installation method Approximate disk space requirements
Installation method

Windows Update

Approximate disk space requirements

Automatic updating requires the least amount of disk space and is the recommended way to get Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

  • 32-bit (x86): 850 MB

  • 64-bit (x64): Not available

Installation method

Downloading Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 from the Microsoft website

Approximate disk space requirements

You can also download Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 from the Microsoft website. This method requires more disk space than using Windows Update.

  • 32-bit (x86-based): 3.5 GB

  • 64-bit (x64-based): 7.2 GB

If you see low disk space errors when trying to install a service pack, or if you just want to free up disk space, here are some things you can do:

  • Run Disk Cleanup. This tool removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need. For more information, see Delete files using Disk Cleanup.

  • Uninstall old programs. In addition to deleting old files you no longer want, you can do the same for programs that you no longer use. For more information, see Uninstall or change a program.

  • Delete all but the most recent restore point. System Restore uses restore points to return your system files to the state they were in at an earlier point in time. If your computer is running normally, you can save disk space by deleting the earlier restore points. For more information, see Delete files using Disk Cleanup.

  • Archive old files to CD or DVD. If you have old photos that you want to keep but don't necessarily want on your computer, consider archiving them to removable media, such as a DVD or CD. That way, you’ll be able to view them whenever you'd like, but they won't take up space on your computer. For more information, see Burn a CD or DVD in Windows Explorer.

  • Add another hard disk drive. Adding an external hard disk drive is an easy way to create plenty of extra space to store digital photos, videos, music, and other files and to clear some space on your primary hard disk. To install an external hard disk drive, all you have to do is plug it in to your computer and connect the power cord. Most of these hard disk drives plug into a USB port, but some plug into a Firewire port (also known as IEEE 1394). For additional instructions, check the information that came with your external hard disk drive.

    Note

    • Some of these strategies might not be available in Windows Server 2008 R2.

    • If you move your music files from your computer's hard disk to an external disk, you might need to change settings in your media player so that you can play the files from their new location. For more information about how to change these settings, check the information that came with your media player. For more information about how to change these settings in Windows Media Player, see Add items to the Windows Media Player Library.



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