An SSD is an exciting option for boosting system speed, boot time, and application launch duration.
Over time, however, it gets filled with junk files and constant system upgrades.
It can be irritating to get the message “Your Disk is Full” when you don’t seem to have used it much.
This post will go through the reasons that prompt messages like this and explains how to fix them.
We’ll also give you a few maintenance tips to extend your SSD’s lifespan.
SSD Keeps Filling Up (12 Causes, Fixes)
Here are the main reasons that your SSD keeps filling up and how to fix them:
1. Check the Recycle Bin
Sometimes the problem may be as simple as a recycle bin full of deleted files.
When you delete a file, the computer sends it to the recycle bin, a temporary storage space to restore your deleted files if you need them again.
A file isn’t permanently gone and continues taking up space until you “Shift + Delete” it.
Open the recycle bin or right-click on it and select “Empty Recycle Bin.”
Alternatively, you could select and Shift + Delete the files you’re sure you don’t want.
2. Unnecessary Programs
Occasionally, you clutter your computer with many programs that you may never use.
These programs create a disorganized mess in your system and make your SSD fill up fast.
On Windows 10, right-click on the start menu and go to “Programs and Features.”
On earlier versions of Windows, go to the control panel and select “Programs.”
Here, you’ll see a list of the programs installed on your computer.
If you see anything unnecessary is taking up your SSD space, uninstall it.
You can also find the largest files and delete the unnecessary ones.
To find these large files, open File Explorer by pressing Windows + E.
Select the SSD drive and type “size” in the search box.
You’ll see a list of size options that you can choose from based on your preference.
After seeing the files, decide which ones you don’t need and remove them.
If you don’t want to delete the program, you can transfer it to another drive.
This way, you can free up space while keeping all your programs.
3. Check for Hidden Files
When you get a low disk space warning on your SSD but there are no files on your drive, the main culprit could be hidden files.
The first step is to unhide these files and delete the unnecessary, suspicious, or big files.
To unhide these files, go to the Control Panel > File Explorer Options > View.
Under the View tab, you’ll see a list of options.
Scroll down to find “Show Hidden Files,” and tick this option.
After seeing the hidden files, decide if you can delete anything or if there are any files you haven’t added or you weren’t aware of.
Be careful that you don’t delete these files willy-nilly as they may contain serious stuff.
4. Run a Disk Cleanup
Over time, Windows updates and grows its files and installs new ones.
You can recover your lost space by deleting unnecessary files.
If you can’t delete your files in File Explorer, Windows has a built-in tool you can use to remove these files.
Type “Disk Cleanup” in the search bar on the bottom left side of the screen.
Select SDD among the drives and click OK.
Then, select the files you need to remove and hit OK.
This way, you’ll get rid of all cache and temporary files that eat up your SSD space.
Alternatively, you can use third-party disk cleanup tools, such as Avast Cleanup, if you can’t get rid of your unwanted files through Windows Disk Cleanup.
In addition to clearing up space, Disk Cleanup helps your device run much faster.
5. Check If Hibernation Is On
When you hibernate your PC, it creates the Hiberfil.sys file that takes up half of your memory.
You should disable the hibernation file for small disk drives because it occupies too much space on your SSD.
To remove the hibernation file, type cmd in the start menu.
Scroll to “command prompt,” right-click on it and hit “Run as Administrator.”
Type powercfg -h off, which disables hibernation and delete the Hiberfil.sys file.
6. Disable System Restore
Windows is regularly creating backup files to protect your data and files.
If you lose your data, System Restore can help you get your data back.
By disabling System Restore, you can save an amazingly huge space because it creates so many backup files in the System Volume Information folder.
To do so, right-click on “This PC,” scroll down to “Properties,” and select “System Protection.”
Find the “System Protection” tab and click on it.
Select “Configure,” turn off System Protection, and apply the changes.
You could also reduce the amount of space used by system storage.
When you click on “Configure” in the previous step, you’ll see a mini popup window.
Find “Disk Space Usage” and move the slider to determine how much space the system restore process can take up.
7. Offline Files
Programs like OneDrive produce offline files that take up lots of space to sync your data and files.
You can free up some space by making your files online-only.
Go to the app’s settings and find “access all files offline.”
Turning this option off will make your files online only.
If the system doesn’t allow you to proceed, that’s because you have pending uploads.
Wait until the uploads are complete, and then try again.
8. Reduce the Size of the WinSxS Folder
Windows stores its component files in a folder called WinSxS.
It contains files that support functions required to update or customize Windows.
While you can’t delete this folder entirely to free up more space, you can reduce its size.
Windows 10 uses internal processes, including uninstalling or removing packages with older components.
However, in earlier versions of Windows, you can use the following method to reduce the WinSxS folder.
Open the Windows search box and type in “Task Scheduler.”
Go to Library > Microsoft > Windows > Servicing > StartComponentCleanup.
Find “Run” under “Selected Item” and click on it.
9. Check Corrupted Software
Some software occasionally tends to act up and occupy your disk space by generating heaps of log files.
You can monitor log generation trends using specialized software to improve performance and detect related issues.
After identifying the app that’s generating too many logs, the only thing you can do to fix the problem is to uninstall it.
A temporary fix may be to delete the log files if the app lets you.
10. Move Your Pagefile.sys
Pagefile.sys is a workaround designed by Microsoft to manage the storage problems.
Whenever your RAM can’t store some data, the file is used to hold the data and prevent your system from crashing.
Your Pagefile.sys file is hidden because Windows automatically manages it.
If your SSD has run low, you can try moving it.
You need to be careful because the file contains vital information about Windows and running programs.
Therefore, deleting it can seriously damage your system’s performance and stability.
That’s why Windows has hidden it.
However, if you’re sure a corrupted pagefile.sys is responsible for low disk space, get a backup of your data and move your file to a mechanical hard drive.
To access pagefile, go to Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Advanced > Performance > Settings.
Under virtual memory, you can see how much space your pagefile uses.
Click on “change,” and you’ll see all the drives that you can store pagefile on.
Click on your target drive and then select “System Managed Size.”
Click on “Set.”
Windows may prompt you to reboot your system to apply the changes, and after rebooting, you’re all set.
11. Run a Virus Test
More often than not, the main culprit is a virus or malware that triggers “SSD is full” messages.
Run a full system scan using reliable antivirus software or Windows Defender to ensure your system isn’t infected.
If it is, remove the malware and see if the problem goes away.
12. Delete the Windows.old Folder
Another unnecessary folder that may gobble up your SSD space is the old Windows, which you should remove.
That’s especially the case if your previous Windows was an old version.
To find and remove it, type “cleanup” in the Windows search field.
Go to Disk Cleanup > Clean Up System Files.
At this point, Windows starts scanning for files.
Scroll down the long list of files to locate “Previous Windows Installations.”
Check the box next to it while ensuring no other boxes are checked (unless you want to remove them).
Click OK to initiate cleanup.
How Much Free Space Do I Need on My SSD?
You need free space on your SSD for different reasons.
Like other system drives, your SSD will slow down your system if it’s full.
Plus, depending on the programs installed on the SSD, you can’t get updates or cache files because they get downloaded where the program is installed.
When your programs can’t produce cache files, they could crash or generate errors.
If you don’t have your OS on the SSD, you won’t get hurt if your SSD is full.
Your system’s performance may slow down, and you may get system messages to empty your drive.
You may also have difficulty downloading large files or installing the downloaded ones.
Although Microsoft doesn’t reveal how much free space is optimal, there are some rules of thumb.
Older SSDs used to need 20 to 25 percent of free space to work fast.
For example, Anandtech ran a series of experiments in 2012 and found that the best amount of free space to ensure optimum performance is 25 percent.
However, that’s not the case with modern SSDs, which have more storage capacity than they let you access.
Even if your SSD is full to the brim, it still has some spare memory to ensure standard performance.
While this 25% estimation may be too conservative, it pretty much depends on the SSD.
With modern drives, you can maintain optimal performance with 10% free space.
If you see your system is slowing down, you can free up some real estate by deleting some files.
How to Manage Your SSD
To make the most out of your SSD and avoid having it filled up fast, you can do some standard maintenance things.
This way, you can make sure you’ll continue to have the speed boost you had from the beginning.
Here’s what you can do.
1. Be Organized
Since an SSD is a fast-performing but small drive, you need to prioritize what goes on it.
It’s ideal for holding your system files, games, and installed programs.
Don’t store productivity files, bulky media files, and folders and files that you don’t use often.
These files are better to go into your mechanical hard drives as they’re real speed killers for your SSD.
2. Don’t Write too Many Times on Your SSD
It’s a known fact that SSDs don’t have an unlimited number of writes.
If you go over their threshold, they start to fail.
Although it may sound scary, you don’t need to worry if you don’t install media or frequently used files on it.
This way, you don’t run out of the allowed number of writes.
Plus, temporary files can also increase the number of writes.
Redirect your browser cache to other drives or your mechanical hard drive if you can stomach the reduced performance.
3. Never Defrag Your SSD
Some people suggest defragging your SSD will free up some space.
This is never advisable.
Unlike a mechanical hard disk, which can get a performance boost, defragmenting an SSD will only reduce its lifespan.
That’s because of the added number of writes that comes from shuffling those bits around.
If you have a modern defragmentation program, it won’t let you defrag your SSD.
However, old tools don’t differentiate between an SSD and other drives, so never use them to defrag your SSD.
4. Use TRIM Regularly
The TRIM feature is essential for your SSD’s healthy performance and lifespan.
It lets Windows know which blocks of data can be deleted because they’re not in use anymore.
Of course, the SSD can also recognize which files aren’t necessary.
This takes a lot of time, though, because the SSD has to read the filled sectors, modify or delete them, and rewrite the modified contents.
You can also perform this process by erasing the filled sector and writing new content after it’s empty.
When Windows erases a file, it only marks its contents and data as deleted on the disk, but its data remains there.
When you write new data to your disk and need free space, it overwrites the data.
TRIM erases those cells that aren’t in use and consolidates them to make them ready for writing new data.
This way, the TRIM command speeds up the process much more efficiently and extends the SSD’s lifespan.
The good news is if your OS is Windows 7 onward, it has a built-in TRIM feature that takes care of this cleaning process automatically.