|"How would I find out what size my c partition is and how much space is left on it?"|
How come you don't know that ?
Hold your mouse cursor over the C drive in My Computer or Windows Explorer,
RIGHT click on the C drive in My Computer or Windows Explorer, choose Properties.
"My internal hard drive is 106 GB but dips down to less than 1 gig at times. "
Brand name system laptop computers usually have two partitions on the single physical hard drive in the original software installation.
The much larger partition is the one you see as C in the operating system.
The smaller one is often hidden from you seeing it by the brand name system installation in My Computer or Windows Explorer, but it's shown in Disk Management in Windows.
Control Panel - Classic view - Administrative Tools -Computer Management - Disk Management
You probably have a physical ~120gb hard drive manufacturer's decimal size hard drive = ~ 111.76 gb binary size in the bios and = to the "raw" size in Disk Management.
Making partitions, e.g.NTFS partitions, on the drive and formatting those partitions uses up a small percentage of that drive space that can't be used for data, so you end up with less space, perhaps ~106gb of space, you can use for data on the drive.
If the drive does have two partitions, the C partition will be smaller than that figure.
As an approximate situation, if you have less than about 10% free space of the space on the C partition, Windows will run MUCH slower than it is otherwise capable of with everything else being the same.
You have an external hard drive.
Copy the personal data that is not a program that you have on C to a partition on that drive that is taking up a lot of space and delete the original files on C once you are sure they have been successfully copied. E.g.Documents, pictures, music, movies, videos.
Un-install the programs you never use in Control Panel - Classic view - Add or Remove Programs.
If that doesn't free up enough space on C,
- if you intend to have the external hard drive connected all the time.....
You DO NOT have to install all programs on C that did not come with Windows, if you have another partition to install them on. In most cases, if you choose a Custom install or similar rather than the default Express install or similar,you can install the program on another partition drive letter. In that case,the vast majority of the data is installed on the other partition,only a little of the data is installed and stored on the C partition.
You could back up personal data in some of the programs that you can easily install again, Un-install the program in Control Panel - Classic view - Add or Remove Programs, then install the program again on another partition drive letter, and restore your personal data for it.
OR buy yourself a larger hard drive.
You can use free drive preparation software that is available on the web site of one of the makers of the hard drives connected to your computer to copy the entire contents of your existing drive to a larger drive and choose to make the partitions on the larger drive larger so that they fill the larger drive's space.
The new drive must be connected to the computer via either an inexpensive USB to laptop hard drive adapter, or you can install the new drive in an inexpensive external drive enclosure.
If the external hard drive you already have is "portable" (uses a laptop sized 2.5" hard drive) and the hard drive inside it is same type of drive as in your laptop, SATA or IDE, then you could remove the hard drive, from the external case and install the new hard drive in that.
For that matter, if the hard drive inside the external drive you already have is 2.5" and larger than 120gb, is the same type of drive, SATA or IDE, as in the laptop, you could copy the contents of your existing laptop hard drive to that without having to buy anything.
E.g. The Seagate web site has MaxBlast and another program that can copy an entire drive's data, if and only if at least one of the hard drives is Seagate or Maxtor.
Either - there must be enough free space on C to install the program and for it's free space on C requirements
- or - you can install either of the two Seagate supplied programs on any computer and then make a Dos bootable CD that has the Dos version of the program that can do the same things, and boot your laptop from that CD to run the program.
When the program has finished copying, you simply install the larger drive in the laptop.