A friend of mine is trying to update her iPhone's OS through iTunes but it always fails as she has only 1GB free space left on partition C, and it seems that iTunes is using it as temporary space.

She's asking for help but I don't really know what I can do except using another computer with more free space to do the update. Is there a way to download iOS manually so we can store it on another partition instead of using up all space on partition C? Or is there any simpler way to do it?

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    Would it be impossible for her to make more room on her disk? This will also allow her to install updates from Microsoft with restore points etc. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Feb 11 '13 at 1:01

A conventional spinning hard drive on a computer needs to have at least 15% free space for optimal operation. If a spinning hard drive has less than 15% free space, the entire computer system will run slower than it should, due to a phenomenon called disk fragmentation.

Your friend will do herself a favor if she buys a larger hard drive and pays a technician to install it and clone the contents of her older, smaller hard drive to her newer, larger hard drive. Then she will not only have a faster computer system, she will also have plenty of room for iTunes and the iOS upgrade.

Large hard drives are ridiculously cheap.

That being said, there are many things that can be done to clean out un-needed files from the existing hard drive to free up more space. Start by running the free CCleaner program.

Then free up space on the disk by deleting all but the last Windows System Restore Point. Do a Google search for instructions on that.

  • Your statement is unnecessarily strongly worded. Computers do not stop working if their drives get more than 85% full. Also the effect of disk fragmentation depends a lot on the amount of free RAM on the system which the computer can use for buffering. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Feb 11 '13 at 0:59
  • Okay, Thorbjørn, I have revised my answer. – user9290 Feb 11 '13 at 1:05

Same problem, i have TBs of free space on my other drives but limited space on my C: which is a ssd drive.

the quick solution for me was to remove previous backups of my phone on itunes which allowed me to free enough space to back up again for the update.


I've just had the same problem. First iTunes would not allow me to backup my iPhone due to not enough room on my C drive.(Windows 7)

I fixed that problem by following the exact instructions as follows:-


But then i had the same issue of not having enough space on my C drive to download the updated IOS.

Basically you need to follow the same process, except the route/path to where iTunes downloads the IOS update is of course different to the backup folder location.

Instead of pointing to a folder called Backup in


(as described in the How to geek article), you need to do the same process to the location of the Phone Update folder which in my case was;-


and look for the folder called "Phone Software Updates" (and follow the same process as per the how to geek article).

As long as you are careful and consistent this worked well for me. Don't be put off by the fact that the command that you type to make the link to the new location (in my case was my E drive doesn't seem to fully describe the path by omitting in my case the "\roaming\" part of the route/path.

What you are doing is replacing the folder on your C drive where iTunes thinks these files are stored, with an identically named folder which instead points to an off-board drive by using a symbolic link Directory Junction.

I apologise if i haven't been able to explain things particularly well, but computers are not my expertise, and this clever little fix was (and still is) way beyond my knowledge without some assistance. BUT it did work, and i kinda get the basic principle and applied it consistently.

So i was successfully able to do a backup and then upgrade my IOS


While I agree with Wheat Williams, if there is any urgency as to the upgrade, you could always try this alternative:

http://www.felixbruns.de/iPod/firmware/ << download your iOS version from here and put it on an external thumb drive (assuming you have one of those lying around)

Run CCleaner to free up as much space as possible, then reboot to clear anything that doesn't need to be running. On reboot, close as many programs as possible (assuming windows, including notifications area apps) and run iTunes.

Plug in the device and ALT+CLICK on the upgrade software button when taken to the summary screen. This will let you select your own software to install, and hopefully will let you do it from a thumb drive.

I've never tried it, but hope it helps.

EDIT - the link above will give you a complete list of iOS versions, answering your question better than what I just wrote - and will therefore allow you to download it outside of iTunes.

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