windows vista and hard drive space

after installing a fresh copy of windows vista on my laptop, i was met with great shock and chagrin that a clean vista install takes up 15 GB. that can’t possibly be right, i thought to myself, so i started to look at what was going on.

the windows OS looks like it’s about 7GB. 7GB. man, that’s big. my cluttered up XP install on another machine is about 4GB big, so that’s a lot of bloat for vista. i’m willing to forgive it because i’ve always sacrificed speed and features for space when i work on code, but vista feels slower…

anyway, i went on a hunt looking for where the rest of the 8GB went to. program files is only about 350MB. and then i found it, two hidden files that i had forgotten about a long time ago. the swap to disk file and the hibernate file. this is what really hurt me as windows by default will manage these settings for you. the hibernate file is as big as your memory is, and in my case, that’s a 4GB file. the swap disk file is also dependent on memory and there was my missing 8GB. it’s because i have so much RAM that so much hard drive space is consumed.

i turned hibernate off to save myself 4GB. i don’t really use hibernate much, so i think i’ll be ok. so i’m now down to a 13GB lean install of vista. i’ve only given myself 32GB for my vista boot, so i hope that i won’t need anymore space than that.