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Better known as an SSD , a solid-state drive is a storage drive on your PC. It can help your operating system and apps or programs run faster and serve as a cache for your hard drive. There are a few different reasons why your SSD keeps filling up as well as some fixes to give you the room you need.

AdobeStock_280835469 two SSD state solid drives disks isolated on white background.

Why Does My SSD Keep Filling Up? 9 Causes & 7 Fixes

The SSD in your computer has a large number of blocks. When you open an app like Microsoft Word and create a document, it will save to one of these blocks. The SSD will save data from another document or app to a different block. When you have a lot of saved data on your PC, the SSD needs to work harder to find an open block for a newly saved file.

The more blocks you use, the more time it takes for the SSD to find an available one. Not only can these slow things down when you save a file, but you’ll also notice that it takes longer to open the app. You can learn what causes your drive to fill up and what fixes will work with yours.

10 Reasons Your SSD Keeps Filling Up

Many people head online to find out why their SSD keeps filling up. Some even claim that it fills up before they do anything on their PC. The chances are good that the cause of your problem lies in one of the things listed below.

1. Too Many Apps

You have a full SSD because you have too many apps. We know that apps come in handy, but you should make sure you need those you have saved on your PC. When you buy a new computer, the manufacturer will add a few apps to it.

You’ll likely find a game center with trials of some popular games and a trial of Microsoft Office. You can’t use the software to open or edit a document as soon as your trial is up. Even if you think you need all those apps, keep in mind that each one you download will fill up your SSD.

2. Too Much Data

Another issue is that your SSD might have too much data on it. As we explained above, the SSD uses open blocks to save content. Whether you pass a level in a game and save your progress or you save a document you did for school, you use space on your SSD.

In many cases, the drive will always look for a new block instead of using the same one. If you open a document, edit it, and then save it, the SSD will often save the new copy to a new block and retain the file you saved before on a different block.

3. Cached Files

Both cached files and junk files refer to the same things, which are files on your PC that you don’t need. A good example is the cached files you pick up online. Every time you visit a website, your computer makes a temporary file of the sites you visited, photos you looked at, or videos you watched.

Your PC also saves cached files when you download files. The idea is that they will help your computer load that content faster in the future, but they often slow things down.

4. Malware

If you assume you don’t need anti-virus software because you’re too smart to fall for scams, think again. When you click on a spoofed email from your bank or a gaming website, you risk picking up a virus that will take over your entire system.

Malware can also take over many open blocks on your SSD without you knowing. Viruses can cause a lot of damage too. Once you download a virus, it can claim that you don’t have enough free space and try to force you to pay extra for virtual storage that doesn’t exist.

6. Hidden Files and Folders

Both hidden files and folders can make your SSD fill up faster than it should. A hidden file or folder exists on your PC but you don’t know it. You might pick up spyware when you download a free app.

The spyware adds hidden files to your PC that it uses to find private data and send it back to the hacker. Even if you download files from reputable sources, it’s easy to snag ones that come with hidden files and folders. They take up a lot of space and are usually hard to find.

7. Corrupted Software

Another thing to look for is any type of corrupted software. You can damage your software when you shut down your computer before you close a program and if you make any changes to its operating folder.

Even deleting a file you don’t think you need can keep the software from working correctly. Corrupted software can often fail and think that it needs to make logs of the past things you did with it. Those logs will take up a lot of valuable space.

8. Your Recycling Bin is Full

Many PCs let you set up automatic recycling. You can tell it to delete all of the files in that bin once a day, every week, or on a different schedule. Some PCs lack this feature, though, and some users do not set it up.

Every time you delete a file, your PC takes it off your desktop and adds it to the Recycling Bin. If you accidentally get rid of a file you need, you can open the Recycling Bin and restore it to your PC. Any file that is in your Recycling Bin will take up some of your SSD space.

9. Restored Data

Have you ever worked on a big project for work or school and watched in horror as your system crashed? By the time you get things figured out, you probably found that you lost a lot of your work. Windows PCs backups your files as you work.

If you lose the current version of that file, you can usually snag an older version with a lot of the needed information. While this does come in handy when a disaster strikes, it can also cause your SSD to fill up faster than it should and leave you unable to work.

10. Offline Files

Do you use programs and apps that have both online and offline modes? These apps are popular because you can use them, even when you don’t have an internet connection. You can do tons of work offline.

The app syncs the new files to your online version as soon as you go online and can even store them in the cloud. You may not know that these apps take up a lot of space. Not only do they need space to run, but they often use space to save some of your temporary offline files.

7 Potential Fixes for an SSD That Keeps Filling Up

The above info shows you some of the reasons why your SSD keeps filling up. Now is a great time to look for situations that will fix yours.

1. Use Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is a handy feature that helps you find and eliminate unnecessary files. Your OS will automatically update itself and write over some of its old files. Even though it no longer needs or uses those files, they’ll still fill up your SSD. Windows PCs come with Disk Cleanup already installed.

You just need to open it and click on “Drives.” Pick your SSD from the drives listed and hit the OK button, which tells the tool to run. Once you find all the files, you can choose the files you want to remove. Some apps do the same thing if you don’t have Disk Cleanup on your PC.

2. Get Rid of Hidden Files

You don’t need the hidden files stored on your SSD, so why don’t you just delete them? If you have a Windows PC, launch your “Control Panel.” Find and click the “File Explorer Options” and then pick “View.” Near the middle of the page is a folder containing the words “Don’t Show Hidden Files, Folders, or Drives.”

Remove the check from this box, letting you view the hidden data. Go through your SSD to find all of the hidden files and folders. After you delete them, empty your Recycling Bin.

3. Change Your Files

Whether you have one app or multiple programs that you use online and offline, you need to change how they save your files. You need to open the app and view your “Settings.” Look for the Saved option and change it to “Access All Files Online.”

This tells the app that you no longer want to sync your data and only want it to use your online files. It may take a while for this change to take effect, especially if you have some pending files that the app still needs to sync or upload.

4. Turn Off System Restore

While System Restore is helpful, most users find that they don’t need it. If you have a backup drive and often save your work, you do not use this feature.

Turning it off is easy because you just need to load your “Settings”. Look for This PC and right-click on it. Select “Properties” from this List and wait for the next window. This is where you will click on “System Protection” and then “Configure”.

Near the bottom of the window is a slider bar right below Disk Space Usage. Move the slider bar to the left to reduce the amount of space the feature uses. You need to apply the change and restart your PC.

5. Look for Corrupted Files

While corrupted files take up a lot of your SSD space, you may not know how to find or remove them. The easiest way is as the administrator of your PC. Log in as the administrator and wait for the PC to start.

When you reach the blank blue screen, enter chkdsk C: /f /v /x onto your computer. Hit Enter, and then let the computer get to work. After it stops, type an uppercase Y into the PC. The computer will shut down and then restart to look for corrupted files. Not only will it look for ways to fix those files, but it will also give you the option to delete them.

6. Delete Programs and Apps

Have you ever found a game that looked great only to download it and find that it looked nothing like the trailer? We’ve all been there. Similar problems can occur when you download apps that you think you might use and then find that they aren’t very good. The odds are good that you forgot to delete those programs from your SSD.

Even if you just deleted the icon from your desktop, the program is still taking up space on your SSD. Open your Control Panel and then Programs. When you find an unwanted app, click on it and choose the Uninstall option. After you delete those apps and programs, check your SSD. There’s a chance that they will leave behind some hidden or cached files.

7. Empty the Recycling Bin

While this sounds like an easy remedy, it’s one that many people forget to try. Stop and think about the last time you emptied it. Was it last month, a few months ago, or even last year?

You should not expect your PC to automatically empty your Recycling Bin unless you change the settings and create a schedule it needs to follow. Go through the Recycling Bin to make sure all of the files in it are junk and things you no longer need. Emptying the bin can free up more space on your SSD than you expected.

AdobeStock_532328737 SSD high speed storage on top of gray laptop. computer with SSD. Concept

Do SSDs Get Slower When Full?

Yes, your SSD does get slower when it’s full . The odds are good that you don’t check this drive daily or even weekly, which causes it to fill up before you notice.

When you try to open and run an app or program, you might notice that your computer responds slower than it should. You may also find that your PC slows down when you do certain things like playing a game or running a program that takes up a lot of disc space. In most cases, your PC will run up to 50% slower when the SSD is full.

How Long Does it Take?

You won’t find one set answer to how long it takes for your SSD to reach its capacity. It depends on the type and the brand. In general, you should notice it slowing down when it reaches 80% capacity. Some users found that their drives started slowing down when they were at 50% or 60%.

Is it OK for SSD to be Full?

No, it is not OK for your SSD to be full. For example, think about how you feel after finishing a big dinner and then decide to go for a little dessert. By the time you swallow the last bite, your stomach is so full that you feel like it might burst. You’ll likely feel so tired and lethargic that you just want to take a nap.

Your OS feels the same way. When the SSD is too full, it doesn’t have enough room to run your apps or do any of the other things you want to do.

What Happens When Your SSD is Full?

The biggest problem that happens when the SSD is full is that you can’t change or access any of your data. If you try to open a file you previously saved, the drive may tell you that it cannot find the file or that it is corrupted.

Even if you can open a file, you’ll get an error message when you try to save it. The same thing can happen if your OS is on the SSD, which is a common spot on modern PCs. As the OS doesn’t have enough space to run, you might get a blue screen or a warning message when you turn on your computer.

How Much Empty Space Should I Leave on My SSD?

Many older gamers and IT workers swear by the 20% rule. The 20% rule states that you should always leave at least 20% of your SSD free at all times. Do not listen to people who claim you can use more of the drive and that leaving only 5% or 10% free is safe.

Every time you save anything to that drive, you take up some of the valuable block space. You should leave a minimum of 20% of empty space on your SSD or use no more than 2/3 of it. An SSD needs a minimum free space of 10% to operate properly.

Conclusion

While your SSD is important, saving too much data on it can prevent your OS from working and cause problems whenever you want to open or use an app. These drives often fill up due to the apps you use and your computer settings. Use these remedies to keep your SSD from filling up and to ensure that it has the right amount of space.