Why can I not delete anything from a full hard drive?

Robert August 30, 2010
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I have a Dell desktop running Windows XP and an external hard drive. I have my photos and some other docs on this external hard drive.

Somehow, the external drive has gotten so jammed with data that I cannot delete anything off of this drive. When I try to do so, I get an error message indicating not enough space is available.

And, no, I cannot copy the files off of that drive to another drive or to a USB flash drive or to any removable media. When I try, I get another error message. I basically can do nothing with the data on that drive.

If the drive needs a certain amount of space in order to be able to delete data, why would the system let the drive get that full? In any case, I need help because I want to upgrade to a larger external HD and I need to move those photos, etc. to the new drive. Any help is appreciated.

  1. Rurumun-hax
    September 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    1. Free Download Puppy Linux.
    2. Burn it on A blank CD as an ".iso" file.
    3. Start your PC from CD (F12 or another key enable CD booting. You can ask anybody or read the boot text. Pause key while starting can help yuou)

    one or two minutes later you will have a system running without using your hard disk.

    Leftdownside you have any icons named Hda or Sda (1,2,3,etc any number of partitions you have).

    Those are names this linux system knows your C:, D:, etc disks or partitions.

    Click once on hda1 or sda1 for C:

    It´ll be enabled. You can read and write those files. If you don't, you can rigth click each one and change properties.

    There are meny other things yopu can do from puppy linux if you take any time to learn and to be free.

  2. Affinitytalk
    September 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I would get a 32GB memory stick so the computer will have enough memory to work with. I would free up enough memory on the hard drive to download Win Patrol because it has the ability to allow you to disable and enable programs on the start menu, etc.

  3. Steven Grider
    September 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Drivers use resources. Safe mode start. Delete enough files to start normally. Worked for me a few times. Maybe will work 4 U.

  4. Owenrt
    September 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    try cloning onto a larger hard drive.

  5. Tyrone Malcome
    September 10, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    What is the error message that you get when you try to copy the files off?

  6. John5247
    September 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    right click on recycle bin, click properties, click do not move files to recycle bin, delete files immeiately

  7. Hazel Edmunds
    September 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    I've used a very laborious - but it works - method of deleting the contents of any Microsoft documents that I can and saving the resulting empty file. Eventually you'll have enough space to delete "normally" - but do this only one file at a time and remove from the bin each time. Not my computer!

  8. Phil Young
    September 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Try using a disk management tool such as Paragon or Hirens .Then you should be able to move data and delete any files that you don't need

  9. Oron Joffe
    August 31, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I'm with Jack. If the disc is completely full, Shift+Delete is the only thing that will work.

  10. Ankit Jain
    August 31, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    try deleting it using anothers desktop or laptop..!

  11. Jack Cola
    August 31, 2010 at 11:17 am

    How much free space does your computer actually show? If you have absolutely nothing let, when you delete something, it goes to your recycling bin, so space may be required to actually delete it. To bypass the recycling bin, hold the shift key and press the delete button when the file you want to delete is selected (highlighted)So try Shift+Delete, and see if that works.

    • Rmacchia
      September 2, 2010 at 1:10 am

      Thanks, I'll give it a try.

      • Aibek
        September 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm


        Did the 'Shift+Delete' method work?

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