“Hello, guys! I have a 256 GB WD external hard drive that holds many files connected to my working computer running Windows 10. I need to store some files on it but I found that the hard drive is full. In order to free up some storage space, I deleted files on it. But deleting files from external hard drive does not free up storage space and my external hard drive is still full. Does anyone know how to solve such an issue? Any advice will be appreciated.”
How to solve “deleted files from hard drive but is still full” problem?
It’s really frustrating when you deleted files from your external hard drive but it still says no free space. To tackle such an issue, follow one or more effective solutions presented in the next text.
Solution 1. Display $RECYCLE.BIN folder and delete it
The files you deleted on the external hard drive could be moved to $RECYCLE.BIN folder on the external disk. Therefore, even though you deleted the files but the free space is still the same. At this point, you can show access the hidden $RECYCLE.BIN folder and delete it. The detailed steps are given below:
1. Double click “This PC” to open File Explorer.
2. On the top left corner, click “File” and choose “Change Folder and search options”.
3. In the small pop-up window, click “View”, choose “Show hidden files, folders and driver” and uncheck “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”. Then, click “Apply”.
4. Open the partition on the external hard drive, you are able to see $RECYCLE.BIN and can delete it. Now, you can see whether you get the space freed up by deleting files on external hard drive.
5. After that, go to File > View > Change Folder and search options > choose “Don’t show hidden files, folder or drives” and check “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”.
PS.: When you delete some more files on the same external hard drive, Windows will recreate $RECYCLE.BIN folder.
Solution 2: Run CHKDSK utility to check disk errors
If there are errors on your disk, the usable storage space might not present properly. Here you can turn to CHKDSK utility to fix errors. Follow the steps listed below:
1. Open Windows File Explorer, find out the external hard drive, right-click it and navigate to “Prosperities” > “Tools” >“Check”.
2. Choose “Automatically fix file system errors and click “Start”.
Now, if lucky, you are able to get free space after having deleted files from hard drive.
Or you can run CHKDSK using Command Prompt: Run Command Prompt as administrator>type “chkdsk m:/f”and hit Enter (where m refers to the drive letter of the disk partition).
Solution 3. Transfer data and format external hard drive
If the two ways above are invalid, you can try to format your external hard drive. Before formatting, you need to transfer all data on the disk if you don’t want to lose data. Two ways to format drive are offered in the following text.
✔ Format external hard drive using Disk Management
Disk Management is a Windows built-in tool that can help you to manage disk partition in Windows. It can create, extend, shrink, format and delete partition. To format the external hard drive partition, do as follows:
1. Press Windows +R simultaneously, input “diskmgmt.msc” and hit Enter to access Disk Management.
2. In this window, the external hard drive will be listed. Right-click the partition on it and choose “Format...”.
3. Choose file system for the partition and click “OK” to start formatting.
✔ Format external hard drive using free third party partition manager
Or you can choose to apply third party partition manager. Here AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is recommended due to its small capacity, great performance and powerful functions. It allows you to format drive to various file systems including NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4. It also supports you to format drive beyond 32GB to FAT32. Free download it and see how it works.