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Summary :

Insufficient disk space is a common error that occurs on Windows computers now and then. The not enough disk space error can show up on your PC in different situations. For instance, you’ll receive the error message – There is insufficient disk space to complete operation – while you’re copying files/folders. In the following content, I'll analyze this error for you in detail.

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Error Message: There Is Insufficient Disk Space to Complete Operation

It’s a common thing to come across the insufficient disk space prompt when you’re using a PC. Numerous users have had the same experience: when they are trying to copy a file/folder to a destination, a prompt window (Error Copying File or Folder) will pop up: There is insufficient disk space to complete operation. At this time, users should know that they couldn’t complete the operation unless they solve the problem causing the error.

There is insufficient disk space to complete operation

In the following content, I’ll focus on helping you fix the not enough disk space error and how to recover the file lost on hard drive with the help of MiniTool Software. If you’re one of the victims, you should read the ways and steps carefully.

What Does Not Enough Disk Space Mean

What is insufficient disk space? Literally, the insufficient disk space on Windows 10 (or other operating systems) indicates the free space left in the target drive is not enough to complete the operation you just performed. That is to say, the process requires more space than you have.

For instance, you may see the prompt - there is not enough space available on the disk to complete this operation – when changing disk layout in Disk Management. Fortunately, the problem can be fixed yourself.

There is not enough space on the disk to complete this operation shrink/while extending.

When you’re extending/shrinking a drive on your disk in Disk Management, the following window with the error message will show up to inform you the lack of space: There is not enough space available on the disk(s) to complete this operation.

not enough space available on the disk

Obviously, you are not allowed to extend/shrink the partition in Disk Management until you fixed the not enough space problems. On this occasion, I advise you to use MiniTool Partition Wizard to change the size of a disk partition.

How to extend partition:

  1. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to see its main interface.
  2. Select the drive that needs to be extended.
  3. Click Extend Partition under Change Partition in the left sidebar.
  4. Choose the unallocated space or a partition with much free space from the drop-down list of Take Free Space from.
  5. Drag the button to decide how much free space you want to take.
  6. Click on the OK button in Extend Partition window.
  7. Click Apply in the upper left corner of the main interface.
  8. Choose Yes in the Apply Changes window to confirm.

Extend Partition

How to shrink partition:

  1. Repeat step 1 and step 2 mentioned in how to extend partition.
  2. Click Move/Resize Partition under Change Partition in the left sidebar.
  3. Drag the triangles on both sides to release free space included in the partition. (You can also type specified size in MB, GB, or TB for Unallocated Space Before, Partition Size, and Unallocated Space After.)
  4. Click on the OK button in Move/Resize Partition window.
  5. Click Apply in the main interface and choose Yes in the prompt window to allow changes.

Move/Resize Partition

This post tells more details on how to solve low disk space problem on Windows 10.

Not Enough Disk Space But There Is Plenty

However, the strange thing is that users find there is actually a lot of space left in the partition they’re operating. Some people even reported the problem: external hard drive says not enough space when there clearly is. What’s more, insufficient disk space on USB flash drive is possible.

Not enough disk space message on drive with plenty of space:

Recently I tried to install an upgrade to a program that I use for work called 20/20 Design. The upgrade file is only 20MB although the installed program and associated files is quite large maybe 1GB. I get almost all the way through the installation and I get a message that says Not enough disk space on target drive while attempting to copy files. I checked my 80GB hard drive and found I had 45GB of free space which seems more than enough. I contacted the program vendor and they suggested I delete temporary files an try to reinstall. I did that and the program would still not install, no change. They suggested that it was my computer so I contacted Dell support and cleaned up and checked out my hard drive. I can find no problem with my hardware. The hardware vendor says it’s the software, the software vendor says it’s the hardware. Help! This is making me nuts. I did install the software on another machine with less free space so I know it works, but I can't find anything wrong with my current system.- A guest posted on Tom’s HARDWARE

Why does this happen? The three most possible causes are file corruption, antivirus program misjudgment, and problems with device drivers. How do you fix a disk that says there is not enough space? In the next part, I’ll provide specific ways to show you how to fix corrupted files or disk so as to eliminate the insufficient space error.

Please note: other error messages may be displayed in the Error Copying File or Folder window.

  • Unspecified error.
  • Access is denied.
  • Catastrophic failure.
  • The parameter is incorrect.
  • The requested resource is in use.
  • The requested value cannot be determined.
  • The device is unreachable.
  • A device attached to the system is not functioning.
  • The system cannot find the file specified.

Solutions: How to Fix Insufficient Disk Space

One: Delete Files That Are No Longer Useful

When there is indeed not enough space on disk, the easiest way to fix is to delete unnecessary files (how to delete a file, directory, or folder).

However, some people said they had deleted some important files by mistake. Can they recover the permanently deleted files? Of course, they can.

Just download MiniTool Power Data Recovery, a data recovery program that enjoys a high reputation, and let it help you!

Free Download

How to recover permanently deleted files?

  1. Install the software to a partition on your PC that doesn’t contain any lost data.
  2. Launch it in the last step of installation.
  3. Select This PC from the left sidebar.
  4. Figure out the partition that contains the deleted data and select it from the right pane.
  5. Click on the Scan button in the lower right corner.
  6. Wait for the full scan to process and browse the search result to locate deleted files, which will be marked with a red x.
  7. Add a checkmark into the square box in front of the deleted files/folders you want to recover.
  8. Click on the Save button to bring up a directory selection window.
  9. Choose another drive to store the recovered data and click on the OK button to confirm.
  10. Wait for the recovery.
  11. Click OK in the Notice window which shows up at the end of the recovery.
  12. Now, you can open the target drive to have a look at the recovered data.

This PC

Save

Click here to get a full version of MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Keep this in mind: the above steps are also useful for recovering files lost during fixing insufficient disk space issues.

The first reaction to the insufficient space error is naturally deleting unnecessary files. This is a commonly used way to release free space on the disk. However, many people said they have deleted some useful files by mistake. Luckily, the deleted data can be recovered easily by using MiniTool Power Data Recovery.Click to tweet

Where Do Deleted Files Go – Problem Solved.

If there is insufficient disk space to recover lost data, you should connect an external drive to the PC for storing the recovered files. Alternatively, you can fix the problem first by using the following methods; then, launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery to retrieve lost files.

Two: Run Disk Cleanup

The easy way to clear temporary files is using Disk Cleanup:

  1. Click Start in the lower left corner.
  2. Find Windows Administrative Tools and expand it.
  3. Select Disk Cleanup.
  4. Select the drive you want to clean up in the Drive Selection window.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Wait for calculating.
  7. Check the files you want to delete.
  8. Click OK.

Disk Cleanup

You can also manage disk space through Storage Sense.

Three: Reboot PC

Whenever you encounter the problems you can’t deal with, you can try rebooting the computer. Rebooting will close all programs, unload all device drivers, and restart the operating system for you and it is able to solve some common problems.

If this couldn’t help, you can try to boot your PC in Safe Mode (it will start your computer with limited files, programs, and drivers).

  1. Click on the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen.
  2. Click on the Settings icon (looks like a gear) from the left sidebar of the Start menu.
  3. Select Update & Security (Windows Update, recovery, backup).
  4. Choose Recovery from the left pane.
  5. Find Advanced startup area from the right pane.
  6. Click on the Restart now button under it.
  7. The PC restarts and you will be brought to the Choose an option screen.
  8. Select Troubleshoot and then click Advanced options.
  9. Select Startup Settings.
  10. Click Restart.
  11. Press F4 to select Enter Safe Mode.
  12. Click on the Restart button and wait.
  13. You may notice that some enabled add-ins have been removed in Safe Mode.
  14. Delete the add-ins from Registry: press Start + R > type regedit > press Enter > go to the certain locations to delete the add-in keys.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Addins

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Addins

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins

Advanced startup

Startup Settings

How can you recover data when OS can’t boot from hard drive?

Four: Try Clean Boot

The clean boot is able to reduce the apps and services conflict that could become the root cause of the “There is insufficient disk space to complete operation” error.

  1. Log on your computer as an administrator.
  2. Click on the Start button.
  3. Scroll down to expand the Windows Administrative Tools folder.
  4. Select System Configuration.
  5. Shift to Services tab.
  6. Add a checkmark into the square box in front of Hide all Microsoft services.
  7. Click on the Disable all button.
  8. Go to the Startup tab.
  9. Click Open Task Manager link.
  10. Take a look at the list and then close Task Manager.
  11. Click on the OK button at the bottom.
  12. Reboot your PC.

Hide all Microsoft services

How do I log on as an administrator?

Five: Rename normal.dot Template

You will come across the insufficient disk space when copying files if the normal.dot template on your computer is corrupted.

  1. Click on the search icon or search box on the taskbar.
  2. Type dot.
  3. Check search hidden files (since the file is hidden by default).
  4. Choose dot file from search results.
  5. Right click on the file to choose Rename.
  6. Rename it to dot.
  7. Restart PC.

If you can’t find the search hidden files option in step 3, you’ll need to unhide the normal.dot file first.

  1. Open Windows Explorer (Windows Explorer stops working/not responding).
  2. Click the View menu.
  3. Click the Options icon.
  4. Select the View tab.
  5. Check Show hidden files, folders, and drives under Advanced settings.
  6. Click OK at the bottom.

How to recover the corrupted files:

How To Recover Corrupted Files Efficiently To Minimize Losses

The work to recover corrupted files can be either difficult or easy. The main point is whether you've got effective way and tool when starting that work.

Read More

Six: Clean %temp% Folder

  1. Press Start + R to open the Run dialog.
  2. Type %temp% into the textbox after Open.
  3. Press Enter or click on the OK button to confirm.
  4. Select all the files contained in the TEMP folder in File Explorer (you can select the files one by one while holding the Ctrl button; you can also press Ctrl + A to select files directly).
  5. Right click on the selected files and choose Delete (you can also press Shift + Delete).
  6. Click Yes to confirm.

Temp folder

Please be advised that an error prompt window may show up during the deleting process saying that some files cannot be deleted because they are in use. At this time, you should choose to skip them; then, wait for the system to complete the deleting operation for you.

Seven: Disable Add-ins

  1. Open Run dialog.
  2. Type winword /safe and click OK. (This will open a Microsoft Word window for you.)
  3. Click File and select Options.
  4. Select Add-ins.
  5. Find the Manage: Com-in Add option.
  6. Click Go next to it.
  7. Uncheck all the add-ins in the list.
  8. Restart the program.

In addition to the above methods, you can also try to fix the insufficient drive space error by:

  • Checking File Allocation Table (FAT)
  • Repairing Office through Control Panel
  • Using a disk compression utility
  • Formatting the problematic partition to NTFS

Insufficient disk space is a common error that occurs frequently. It is very annoying since it will stop you from completing some operations. But the lucky news is: there is a good chance that this error can be fixed. If the above methods have helped you solve the problem, please share them out to help more people.Click to tweet

Final Words

To be honest, the insufficient disk space error: there is insufficient disk space to complete operation occurs now and then on users’ PC while they are copying file or folder. If you’re one of the victims, you should read this article carefully and choose suitable ways to fix it yourself. Good luck to you all!

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