8 Ways to Fix Hard Drive is Full for No Reason

By Dominic Chooper on July 18, 2023

A hard drive may be full for no apparent reason but there may be many things happening in the background that you are not aware of.

In order to resolve the issue, you need to identify the programs, files, or folders that are filling up the hard drive and consuming space without any real benefits and remove them.

The processes involve simple disk cleanup to system restore. There are also a lot of other ways in which you can resolve the issue. If you are not aware of them, you can find all the methods here in this article.


Why Hard Drive is Full for No Reason?

At most times, a hard drive may show full in the File Explorer window for no reason due to technical reasons. Sometimes, there may be a few software programs that can cause this problem as well.

Another significant reason for such a thing to happen is that the hibernation option is enabled. This will create a lot of backups of your data and fill up the hard drive.

Some other reasons for this issue to occur are:

However, the issue can be fixed with some simple and advanced solutions, as explained hereunder.

How to Fix Hard Drive is Full for No Reason?

One of the best ways to resolve the problem of a hard drive showing full for no reason is to check the files and folders showing within it and deleting those you do not need, appearing unknown or strange, or showing 0 bytes in size.

You may also try some other easy fixes, such as:

There are a few third-party software tools that you can use, but you can also do it manually.

Here are a few advanced and more proven solutions to the issue of a hard drive being full with no reason.

The steps to follow, as suggested below, are not very complex but it will need some time, patience and effort on investigating and identifying the actual culprit.

Method 1: Check and Delete Unnecessary Files or Folders

One best way to resolve the issue of the hard drive showing full while it is actually not is to check individual items and delete those you do not want, preferably the ones that are consuming a lot of space, from the This PC folder.


In this example, assume that it is Drive D, (named Backup (D:) here) that needs to be rectified.


As you can see, the 2 TB drive shows just 179 GB of free space.

Double-click on the drive to open it and see its contents. Some files or folders will be really small, measuring in KB, but there will be others with no indication under the Size column, as shown in the figure below:

Double-clicking on the drive to open

Selecting Properties from the options

DESKTOP-9EP4AH8 Properties

If the folder is too big to recycle, you may get to see the Delete Folder window which will say that ‘This folder is too big to recycle.’ Click on the Yes button to confirm that you want to delete it permanently.

This folder is too big to recycle

You may also get to see a window with a warning sign telling you that ‘You don’t currently have permission to access this folder.’ Click on the Continue button.

You don’t currently have permission to access this folder

When the folder is deleted, your hard drive now will show exactly how much it is free, 1.77 TB from 179 GB here, as shown in the image below:

Drive free space

You may go on to delete a few other such files or folders for which the hard drive is showing full for no reason.

Method 2: Adjust the Custom Size from Recycle Bin

One useful way to resolve the issue is to empty the Recycle Bin when it is full and adjust the Custom size from the Recycle Bin Properties.


selecting Properties from the drop-down menu

Clicking on the Apply button

This may resolve the issue and you may see the actual free size of your hard drive again.

Method 3: Using the Disk Cleanup Feature

You can remove the unimportant files and folders that may be consuming the space of the hard drive by using the Disk Cleanup feature to resolve the issue.

Assume, it is Drive C you are dealing with.


Selecting Clean up system files

Selecting Delete Files

Selecting the Configure button

Clicking on the Apply button

Selecting Continue in the following window

Clicking on the Create button

Creating a restore point

The restore point was created successfully

This will clear out the old restore points. The entire process will free up a lot of space and will show in the File Explorer as well.

Method 4: Check and Delete the Hidden Items

You can search for hidden items on the hard drive from the File Explorer and delete them to free up a large amount of free space.


Selecting the affected drive.

Selecting Hidden items

Looking for the Windows folder

SoftwareDistribution folder

Opening the Download folder

Selecting the Delete option from the drop-down menu

Going to This PC to check the drive space

Close the File Explorer window.

Method 5: Optimize Drives

In most cases, running the Optimize Drives function can also resolve the issue.


Clicking on the Optimise button

Alternatively, you can also type the command chkdsk C: /f in the CMD console and press Enter.

If that did not resolve the issue, then follow the next steps.

Selecting Options at the far right

Show hidden files

Choose your user account

Read Also:  How to Fix Device Manager Keeps Refreshing?

Selecting the AppData folder

Selecting the Local folder

Looking for the folder called Temp

Now your drive will have a lot of free space. Notice the difference of free space in the twin image below:

Notice the difference of free space

Method 6: Turn Off Hibernation Option

If the hibernation option is turned on, numerous backups of your data will be created unnecessarily, consuming a lot of space on your hard drive. So, turn it off.


typing in the command powercfg.exe /hibernate off

This will turn the hibernate option off and resolve the issue of your hard drive filling up for no reason.

Method 7: Reboot Your PC in a Clean Boot State

If any third-party software is creating log files and consuming a significant amount of space on your hard drive, rebooting your computer in a clean boot state is perhaps the best solution.


System Configuration window

Clicking on the Restart button

This may resolve the issue.

Method 8: Reduce the Size of WinSxS Folder

Reducing the size of the WinSxS folder will also free up space on your hard drive.

Note: Exercise extreme caution while performing the steps of this method. Any mistake will cause severe damage to the computer system and its functionality since this folder stores all necessary directory files for Windows operation.

If you are not sure what you are doing, skip this method.


Selecting Run as administrator

Task Scheduler Library folder

Selecting StartComponentCleanup

Close the window once the process is complete.


So, if your hard drive is full for no rhyme or reason? Try one of these solutions to fix the issue.

These methods are applicable on all versions of Windows operating systems.