Padgett's 32GB Page

New laptop: Not enough space for Windows 10 update
error number 0X80070070
(and others)

First the rant & disclaimer: I personally have four Windows devices with 32GB hardwired C: drives (not easily upgraded) devices. Three are older -x86 tablets. One is a late 2017 "2 in 1" -64. The tablets were top of the line devices (2012-2014) the new one is a "loss leader". All are currently running the latest (Jan 2018) Windows 10. Fortunately all have SDCard slots and USB ports. These methods have worked for me but are somewhat risky. Remove the wrong thing and the machine could become unstable. This is why I always pull an offline system image first to at least be able to get back where I started. YMMV.

The bad news is that usually these were purchased because they were the lowest price available, often under U$200, and to make them work unless you have a large parts assortment, will need to spend another U$50-U$100. If can return and buy another system with 64GB or larger drive that is your best choice. However if you must make this one work then read on.

On a new, out-of-the-box Windows 10-64 Laptop with 6GB ram and a 1 TB drive, 37GB of disk space is already in use. For example the trial version of Office 365 is over 900 MB. There are page after page of preloaded apps mostly from third parties and vendors. Obviously a 32GB device is going to have difficulties. Since some of the larger Windows 10-64 updates seem to want about 20GB of disk space, often they will fail.

System upgrade failures will take two forms: the first is when the upgrade just fails sometimes with an error message saying insufficient disk space. The second and more easily curable issue is when it just says it needs more disk space, often 10GB. This can be solved with an NTFS formatted 16GB flash drive.

There is an answer to both but you need to be ruthless. Have several 32GB devices (both -x86 and -64) and all are running the latest available Win 10 with 12-14GB free (varies) even with a 1GB recovery partition. Some even have Microsoft Office and Streets and Trips loaded. Win-32 (x86) takes up less space than Win -64.

To achieve this first you need to make some purchases:
- microSDCard of 32GB-128GB U3 preferred but at least class 10 formatted NTFS
- USB Backup drive (prefer USB 3.0 but 2.0 OK) at least 32GB formatted NTFS (if large can be used to store images from several computers)
- Flash Drive (prefer USB 3.0 but 2.0 OK) at least 8GB formatted FAT-32

Next use the 8GB FAT32 flash to create a "recovery drive" - Open Settings and type "recovery drive" in the search box. Select "create a recovery drive" and check the box for "back up the system files...". Follow the instructions to create the recovery drive.

Second use the USB external drive - formatted NTFS, I use a 1TB drive and keep multiple images on it - to create a system image. Settings-Updates and Security-Backup-More Options-See advanced settings (must scroll down to bottom) - toward bottom on left System image Backup-(on left)Create a system image and follow the instructions. Select hard drive. After looking for a while it should find your USB drive and select that. It will take up to a hour to create but will show a progress bar.

With your original setup saved now the "cleanup" may proceed.
First go to File Explorer and right click on the C: drive. Select properties then Disk Cleanup. Once the first stage completes (quick) click Clean up system files - not so quick. When done check off anything over about 10MB (will need to scroll down). Particularly look for "Windows Update Cleanup". When everything you want is selected, click "OK". Again there will be a progress bar and may take a while.
Finally check the box that says "Compress the drive to save space". At this point I would leave it running overnight, compression is done in the background and takes a while. According to Microsoft when done that should reduce the used disk space by 1.5GB (-x86) to 2.5GB (-64)

32GB device reunning WINDOWS 10-64 v1709 with 1GB recovery partition.

The final backup step is to use a third party software such as PRODUKEY from NIRSOFT to make an offline backup of all internal license keys (if going from Win 7 or 8 to Win 10 will need to run again following the upgrade).

Now the paring can begin. It may help to pray for patience first:

First step is to remove any "bloatware". For example the Office 365 "trial" (there are other non-subscription options such as Open Office or Libre Office which can be loaded on the SDCard) takes up over 900MB. You may have to go to Settings>Apps and uninstall everything except Microsoft system files and internal hardware files (Broadcom, Atheros, etc.). This should reduce the used space by about 2GB. Note: some of the largest do not tell you how big they are. In addition anything installed from a disk or with a license key should be able to be uninstalled while the update is going on then may be reinstalled when done, possibly on the SDCard. Some cannot be easily uninstalled. Do not worry about them.

Note: Every manufacturer (Acer, Dell, HP, Toshiba,...) adds their own "helper" utilities. Some even update drivers from their own sites. There programs are usually small and I am mainly concerned with things over 50MB unless there is an extreme problem.

Finally the large hidden .sys files: First turn off Hibernation (open a Command (cmd.exe) window as administrator. Enter "powercfg /hibernate off" (no quotes). Next with 8GB RAM you can reduce the swap file (swapfil.sys) to 300-500MB. With 4GB ram I'd suggest 750-1000MB . Control Panel>System>Advanced System Settings Click on theSettings box under Performance. Adjust the Virtual Memory setting.

Once all of the above is done you should have 12-14GB free and with an NTFS formatted SDCard providing additional space (or can use the system image drive if large enough), Windows 10 updates should proceed without fail.

Contents copyright (C) 2017-2018 by Padgett. All rights reserved. Notary Sojack y'all.