How to Recover Lost Storage on Windows

Xiaobai Software  2022-07-23 10: 54  read 42 views

Storage space on your system's hard drive doesn't suddenly disappear.However, if you notice that Windows Explorer incorrectly reports free space on your disk, it can happen for many reasons.

So let's take a look at why Windows is reporting incorrect hard drive free space and what you can do to regain the lost space.


What causes Windows to report storage space incorrectly?

There is no precise answer to this question because there are many reasons for this problem.You may have hidden files or a working project file taking up more than 100 GB of space.

In other cases, Windows also takes up a lot of space to store old Windows update backups as well as system restore points.Your system's Recycle Bin collects a lot of junk files, which can take up a lot of space if not cleaned up often.

1. See what's taking up your hard drive space


Instead of guessing, use Disk Usage Analyzer to better understand your system's storage footprint.

WinDir Statis a free disk space analysis tool for Windows.It shows disk usage statistics sorted by file/subtree size.You can expand partitions to view the space occupied by folders and subfolders, making it easy to see what's taking up space on your computer.

In the right pane, you can view the files that are taking up the most space by data type.Click on a data type to highlight it in a color-coded chart.Next, click on the highlighted colored boxes to locate these files.

It also has a cleanup option.You can use it to clean up unwanted files in any folder.For best results, inWinDir Stat, locate and select a folder that takes up a lot of space.Then, click "Clean" and select "Explore Here".Now you can manually select and delete large unnecessary files.

Download: WinDir Stat (free)

2. Check the distribution of disk space


If you find WinDir Stat intimidating, thenFolder Sizeis a good alternative.It is a free Windows tool that analyzes your hard disk space usage and displays file and folder sizes to determine which folders fill your storage drive.

After installation, run as administratorFolder Size.Then, select the drive to scan.After scanning, it will list all the folders and files in the drive sorted by size.From here, you can explore and clean up folders to free up some space.

Download: Folder Size (free)

3. Manage your restore points

When enabled, your Windows system will automatically create new restore points when it detects significant changes to the system.However, if you haven't configured disk space usage for restore points, there may be multiple restore points taking up a lot of space.

This is one of the common factors that cause your hard drive space to decrease.Fortunately, not only can you delete old restore points, but you can also configure how much space Windows can use to store those backups.

When Windows reaches the allocated quota, it deletes the old restore points to make room for the new ones.

To configure system protected disk usage in Windows:

1. Press Win + R to open Run.

2. Enter sysdm.cpl and click OK to open System Properties.

3. Next, open the System Protection tab.


4. Under Protection Settings, click Configure.

5. Make sure the Turn on system protection option is selected.


6. Next, in the "Disk Space Usage" section, drag the slider to set the maximum disk space for storing restore points.You can set it to around 10% of the capacity of your main hard drive, or even bigger if you have a larger hard drive.

7. To make some space, you can delete existing restore points.Therefore, click the delete button to delete all restore points of the selected drive.

8. When finished, click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Next, open your file manager and see how much storage space you've reclaimed with the deleted restore points.

4. Use the System Maintenance troubleshooter to fix disk volume errors

Windows automatically schedules a maintenance activity called system maintenance on your computer.It fixes broken shortcuts, freeing up space occupied by excluding historical data and disk volume errors.

If system maintenance doesn't work, you can use the troubleshooter to check for system maintenance problems.While Windows automatically runs this troubleshooter periodically, you can also run it manually from the Control Panel.

To run the System Maintenance troubleshooter:

1. Press Win + R to open Run.

2. Enter control and click OK to open the control panel.


3. In Control Panel, search for Troubleshooting, and then click Troubleshooting from the search results.

4. Next, click System and Security.

5. Click System Maintenance to start the troubleshooter.


6. Click Next.

7. The troubleshooter will begin to detect the problem and suggest fixes, if any.Apply any fixes and close the control panel.Restart your PC and check for any improvements.

5. Update your Windows version


If you are experiencing this issue in older versions of Windows 10 and 11, please check and install the latest available system updates. Windows updates often bring performance improvements and bug fixes.

To check for Windows updates:

1. Press Win + I to open Settings.

2. Open the Windows Update tab.

3. If no new updates are available, click Check for Updates.

4. Next, click "Download Now" to install the update.

6. Clean up junk files

Computers are notorious for accumulating junk files from system operations, applications, user content, and more. Windows 10 and 11 have a cleanup tool that regularly checks for and cleans up junk files, including temporary files, files in the Downloads folder, and the Recycle Bin.

Regain lost storage space on Windows

The odd situation of Windows reporting wrong disk space often leads you to discover that a hidden file is taking up a large chunk of space on your hard drive.You can use a third-party disk analyzer to find what's taking up all the space on your system and clean it up.

That said, regular cleaning can help you stay on top of your storage usage and can also yield performance improvements.

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