11 Ways to Solve Hard Disk Full But No Files Windows 10/11

Hard disk full but no files Windows 10? This article aims to help you figure out potential reasons and fix this problem. You can also recover deleted files from hard drives with ease.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Why is my hard disk full but no files?

Please don’t be panic if your hard disk full but no files Windows 10 because many users have reported they’ve encountered this error message when attempting to free up space on their drives.


I’ve been searching for a solution to this problem for a while. Every time I receive a notification that my D: drive is full and that I need to clear some space. The problem is that when I go to clear space and solve the problem, there is nothing there already. Then I went into Settings and Storage to see what was taking up all of this space, but when I clicked on the Other folder, there were no files to be seen. I’ve cleared up space, but nothing seems to work. So why is my hard disk full but no files? And how do I fix my hard drive but no files on Windows 10? Thanks in advance.

-A user from Microsoft Community


Hard disk is full but no files? There’re several common reasons behind this problem.

  • The presence of virus infections may keep generating files to fill up your system drive.
  • Hidden files and folders can occupy significant memory space on your local disk.
  • Unknown big files may have been saved to the C drive. For instance, the default storage location of the Downloads folder is the C drive. That’s also one of the potential reasons why your C drive is full.
  • Page files, previous Windows installations, temporary files, and related systems files can take up the storage space of your system drive.
  • Logical or system errors.

How do I know if my hard drive is full?

It is said that everything happens for a reason. If you desire to prevent such occurrences and protect your PC, you need to identify these major symptoms of a full hard drive.     

The device may freeze or operate sluggishly when running tasks or programs.
Your drive repeatedly displays a message indicating insufficient storage capacity.
Software upgrades or installations on your PC become impossible.

How do I fix my hard drive full but no files on Windows 10/11?

According to the above reasons and other relevant tips, this section lists eleven feasible fixes for your reference.

Fix 1. Check viruses or malicious software on your disk

As mentioned above, viruses and malicious software are blamed for this issue. If you’ve advertently installed a virus or malicious software on your Windows computer, it might lead to the hard disk full but no files Windows 10 problem.

Thus, you’d better seek help from reliable antivirus tools or run Windows Virus & threat protection settings to conduct a thorough scan on your computer to remove ransomware viruses and eliminate virus infections. Additionally, checking for disk errors with CMD also can identify system-related issues.

Step 1. Press “Win + I” to open Windows Settings and click Update > Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.


Step 2. After entering the Virus & threat protection interface, click the “Scan options” button.


Step 3. Select “Full scan” and click “Scan now” to begin scanning.


Fix 2. Show hidden files, folders, and drives via File Explorer

You may not see your hidden files because the hidden file attribute is designed to make your files or folders invisible. Although you’re discouraged from viewing them directly, these hidden files indeed save on your drive.

If your hard disk is full but no files, it is recommended to unhide files/folders using File Explorer to solve it.   

If your Windows 10 File Explorer not working, you can also use the attrib/dir command to show hidden files.

» Press Win + E to open File Explorer > click View > Options > under the View tab, tick Show hidden files, folders, and drives.


Please remember to “Apply” and click “OK” to save these changes. If your hidden files are unnecessary, you can free up your limited disk space by deleting them.

Fix 3. Empty the desktop Recycle Bin

Failure to clear the Recycle Bin can consume a significant amount of memory space on your hard drive. If it happens to be your case, please empty your desktop Recycle Bin.   

Assume there’s no option to empty Recycle Bin Windows 10, how do I force empty my Recycle Bin? You can change Desktop icon settings, delete Temporary files, or perform a Clean Boot to solve this problem.

» Double-click on your desktop Recycle Bin icon to open it > click the “Empty Recycle Bin” button.


Fix 5. Delete hibernate files

Windows operating system can reserve the hibernation file roughly half of the RAM. If your PC has 8GB of RAM, the hibernation file (hiberfil.sys) is around 4GB in size. The following steps depict how to delete hibernate.sys files.

Step 1. Type “cmd” in the search bar and select “Run as administrator” to open the command prompt window.


Step 2. Type “powercfg.exe /hibernate off” in the window and hit “Enter” or press “OK” to go on.


After the process, you can see a few more gigabytes of free space on the system drive.

Fix 6. Delete Temporary files

Temporary files including browser caches, upgrade logs, and Windows installation files, play a role in the hard disk full but no files Windows 10/11.

To maintain sufficient space and prevent potential issues, it’s necessary for you to clear temporary files using Windows Settings because it can help you adjust, manage, or change settings manually.   

Does Windows automatically delete temp files? Windows OS can automatically delete temporary files if you’ve configured certain settings.
You can also “Press + R” to open the Run window and type “%temp%” in the search bar. Then hit “Enter” to open it > select all temp files by pressing Ctrl + A > delete.
Besides, the following utility (Disk Cleanup) also can help you remove temporary files.

Step 1. Press “Win + I” to open Windows Settings. Then click the “System” button.


Step 2. Under the Storage tab, click “Temporary files” to open it.


Step 3. Tick “Temporary files” and “Remove files” you want to delete.

Fix 7. Run Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is designed to enhance system performance by clearing up space on your hard drive as you prefer.

More precisely, after a disk search, Disk Cleanup displays any temporary files, Internet cache files, and superfluous application files you can remove without risk.

Undoubtedly, Disk Cleanup is another way to delete Windows update files on Windows 10 computers.

Step 1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer and select your local C drive.


Step 2. Right-click on your C drive and select the “Properties” option. Then click the “Disk Cleanup” button.


Step 3. Tick “Delivery Optimization Files” and click the “OK” button.


Step 4. Under the File to delete tab, tick the items you want to delete > OK.


Fix 8. Remove unnecessary Windows update files

Windows updates can consume significant memory on your hard drive. In this scenario, removing unnecessary updates will help you resolve the hard disk full but no files issue.

Step 1. Press “Win + I” to open Windows Settings. Then click Update & Security > Windows Update > View update history.


Step 2. Click the “Uninstall updates” button.


Step 3. Right-click on your unwanted Windows update version and click the “Uninstall” button.


Fix 9. Enable System Protection

Multiple backups can consume substantial storage space on your computer hard drives. For instance, if you’ve activated system protection of your local disk, you can manage and delete unnecessary backups to release space.

Let’s take the C drive as an example. Please refer to the following steps to delete system restore points.

Step 1. Type “System protection” in the search bar. Then you’ll see the best match: Create a restore point. Please click “open” to enter the System Protection interface.


Step 2. Since you’ve activated System Protection for your local disk C drive, please click Manage > Delete > OK to remove redundant backups.


Fix 10. Upgrade to a larger hard drive or replace a hard drive

If the size of your current drive is the cause of various issues including the hard disk full but no files Windows 10, you can clone/upgrade to a larger hard drive using AOMEI Backupper.


Fix 11. Hide the recovery partition by removing the drive letter

Sometimes, hiding the recovery partition by eliminating the drive letter can potentially resolve the hard disk is full but no files problem.

» If you accidentally deleted the recovery partition during the operation, you can seek help from powerful partition recovery tools.

Related issues: How to recover deleted files from hard drives?

In general, the hard disk is full but no files error is accompanied by hard drive damage, formatting, or data loss. Since file or folder loss can occur unexpectedly without any discernible clues or warnings, what can you do to recover deleted files from hard drives?

Those prudent users who’ve developed the habit of making regular backups encounter file loss can be less stressful because they can get their desired files from their prepared backups.

Without valuable backups, the uncertainty and anxiety can be heightened. If you’re also bothered by this problem, seeking assistance from MyRecover is highly recommended.

Because this professional Windows data recovery software specializes in recovering deleted & missing files from various storage devices such as internal & external hard drives.   

Key features of MyRecover:
All-inclusive: Deal with various data loss scenarios such as deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, or virus attacks.
High-efficiency: Recover 200+ types of files such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PPT, and WPS files, compressed files, folders, photos, audio, songs, videos, and websites from internal & external HDDs, USB sticks, SD cards, etc.
Advanced scanning method: MyRecover runs Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically to search all the recoverable files. Specify the filename, saved path, date, or size to filter your needed files.   
Convenience: Retain the original filename, path, and format for the deleted files.
Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.

Download MyRecover on your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Server PC to retrieve them!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch MyRecover > Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. MyRecover will automatically scan your chosen drive and display all the recoverable files.

Filter your needed files or folders according to Document Type, Name, Date, or Path.

  • Name: Type the relevant filenames in the search bar to locate your desired deleted/lost files quickly.
  • Date modified: Set a customized date (today, yesterday, last 7 or 30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~512MB, etc.)


Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Recycle Bin/Other Missing Files folder and select your desired files/folders. Then click “Recover x files” to begin document recovery.


After recovery, please remember to store your retrieved files or folders in another drive instead of the original hard drive.
MyRecover can recover your 500MB of files for free. If you desire to recover a large number of deleted & missing files from local hard drives, upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition is a more cost-effective & effort-saving choice. 

Relevant Q&A about hard disk full but no files

Please get eleven feasible fixes to solve your hard disk full but no files Windows 10 /11 from the above part. In addition, there’re some related tips about this problem.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.