Windows 7 System Restore

26 Jan, 2011 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: A simple system setting could be to blame for your mysteriously full hard drive.

I've had a number of questions about a strange problem occurring on Windows 7 machines: The hard drive would mysteriously fill up, with no known cause. I'd never seen the problem in person, so I didn't have advice to offer. Recently, however, that all changed: A Windows 7 update on my trusty old Sony laptop made me very familiar with the problem.

When I updated from Vista to Windows 7 it seems that the system protection setting was mistakenly set to essentially unlimited. So as my applications ran, my laptop took all the hard drive space that it could find to backup files and set system restore points. After I reset the disk allocation for system protection, the problem went away and never returned.

To reset your system, follow these steps:

  • Open System by clicking the Start button, right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties.
  • In the left pane, click System Protection. If you're prompted to do so, type the administrator password or provide confirmation.
  • Under Protection Settings, click the disk, then click Configure.
  • Under Disk Space Usage (see the image below below), move the slider to the right to increase the disk space that system protection can use, or move it to the left to decrease the disk space. (I suggest no more than 10 GB as a practical limit on most systems.)

The fact that this fixed my system was great news, since I'd been searching for viruses and malware the whole time, yet finding nothing. Note that there are viruses that can fill up your hard drive, so be sure to keep virus utilities up-to-date and remain vigilant — but you may just find your mysterious hard drive problem is solved with this simple fix instead.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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