alrighty... so I just purchased a Dell Inspiron 11" laptop... it's only 32gb, which I was aware of when purchasing, but since I figured it'd only be for browsing, skype, and such things, it wouldn't be much of a problem. boy was I wrong. turns out 14.5gb is already taken up by system files... oh well. I removed all the "ads" and unwanted games, I got McAfee set up, installed skype, it ran fine, still had between 10-15gb left. my mistake happened when I installed iTunes, plugged in my phone, and for some reason thought it was a good idea to back it up to the computer (impulse, probably). of course it did not finish backing up. an error message popped up saying there was not enough space on the computer. doh! I checked how much space there actually was, and now I was in the red zone with only 1gb free! so of course I uninstalled itunes and all the other apple software that came with it, thinking this would get me back to the 10-15gb I had free, and I'd be good. this did not happen though... after uninstalling itunes and all the associated files, I now only had 3gb free??? how? I assumed there were hidden files somewhere, from my phone backup beginning but not completing. I ran Disk Cleanup multiple times, but it doesn't seem to help. I then decided, "you know what, I'm just gonna factory reset it and start over and not install itunes this time". only problem is, when I go to do that, I'm told additional disk space is needed! I need at least 6gb to run a system restore!? so I did some research, I disabled hibernation mode, I did some weird Image Cleanup that took more than an hour, I removed skype, as well as any/all other programs that looked like they could go, and even some that were probably quite important, such as McAfee and various Dell System Help things. There's literally nothing more I can uninstall that seems safe... I have zero pictures, videos, or documents, only system applications and drivers, yet I'm still 1.28gb away from being able to restore. Is it even possible? Is there something I'm missing?
Thanks for the info. On step 9 of the guide you linked, in that window, under Disk Space Usage mine says Current Usage: 0 bytes. haha! If I'm using 0 bytes then why is there only 5gb free? I'll turn it off anyways. Assuming it's safe to disable system protection for C drive if I'm not going to keep much of anything on this computer.. it warns not to, but, meh.