How to Free Up Hard Disk Space on Windows 10

Need more space on your hard drive? You’re in the right place for tried-and-tested methods that can get more space out of your hard disk.

The cool thing is that the Windows update of May 2019 allows you to automate many of the disk cleanup processes. So let’s start with that.


Windows Storage Sense

Go to Settings and select System and then Storage — you’ll see “Keep clutter off your PC” in the upper right corner of the window. Click on it to access more actions.

Configuration Options

By default, Storage Sense is set to Off, click on the corresponding button to toggle it On. Then, proceed to configure the cleanup frequency.

Click on the drop-down menu under “Run Storage Sense” and select the frequency. For most users, it’s okay to choose Every Month.

Under Temporary Files, click on the first drop-down window and select when to purge your Recycle Bin. If you don’t want Windows to do this automatically, keep the option on Never.

The second drop-down window (under Temporary Files) removes files from your Downloads. Again, you get to choose the desired frequency or keep it at Never.

To perform the cleanup right away, click on the “Clean now” button at the bottom of the window. If you just exit the window, the system will run cleanup according to the selected frequency.

Uninstall Unused Apps

To see all the apps on your PC, launch Settings and select Apps & Features. Scroll through the list, click on the app you want to remove, and hit the Uninstall button.

There is also a search bar to quickly navigate to an app, and you can also sort them by partition, size, and date.

You can uninstall a few apps in one go, and it’s recommended to restart your computer after the fact to clear the cache.

Get Rid of Temporary Files

Windows is notorious for piling all kinds of temporary files you don’t need. To view the accumulated files, select Temporary Files under the Storage window.

The files you can choose to remove include:

  • Windows Update Cleanup
  • Recycle Bin
  • Device Driver Packages
  • Upgrade Logs
  • Temporary Internet Files
  • Temporary Computer Files

You’ll see that Windows automatically checks the files it recommends for you to remove. Of course, you can change these settings too. Afterward, click Remove Files at the bottom of the window to complete the action.

File Destination Trick

This isn’t exactly a method to free up hard disk space, but it can help to keep your system partition clutter-free.

Go to Storage settings and select “Change where new content is saved.” The drop-down menus allow you to switch the location of documents, music, apps, movies, offline maps, etc.

Click on the menu, select the preferred drive, and hit Apply. The Storage settings recognize all external and internal drives on your computer. The safe route is to select another fixed drive on your computer.

If you have to use an external drive, make sure to remember the files stored and reconnect the drive when you need them.

Turn Off Hibernate Mode

Windows Hibernate is great because it allows you to start up your PC faster. However, your PC saves a snapshot of the drivers and files on your computer. The action consumes precious space on your machine, and if you don’t need a fast boot-up time, feel free to turn it off.

Launch the Start menu and look for Command Prompt and then right-click on it where you’re going to select Run as administrator. You wouldn’t be able to execute the command otherwise.

And the command is: powercfg/hibernate off

Press Enter to execute. And to turn Hibernate back on, repeat the above and use this command: powercfg/hibernate

Run Disk Cleanup

This is a pre-installed utility tool that allows you to remove unnecessary files. Among other things, you can get rid of prior Windows installations and system error memory dump files.

To open this tool, launch the Start menu and navigate to Windows Administrative Tools where you’ll find Disk Cleanup. The faster route is to just type Disk Cleanup in the search bar.

Now, select the file types that you’d like to remove. Click OK at the bottom of the window to execute.

To remove old system files (Windows.old files, for example), make sure to check the box in front of “Clean up system files”. Old system files can use up gigabytes so it’s a good idea to remove them if you’re crunched for space.

Bonus Tip

You can further optimize storage space by going to OneDrive Settings and checking “Save space and download files as you use them.” This allows you to preview and access OneDrive files using File Explorer.

If you want to remove a file from your computer and onto the cloud, right-click the file and select “Free up space.”

Happy Cleaning

As you can see, the methods are all straightforward. And it’s great that there’s a decent level of automation. Start on the right foot by configuring the File Destination menu above.


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