When your computer runs out of physical memory, it affects its speed, performance and ability to maintain system integrity. A poorly managed hard drive can leave little room for significant updates to be installed and tends to degrade the user experience over time.
In this article, we will discuss several ways to free up disk space in Windows 10.
- Empty Trash
- Remove unnecessary apps and programs
- Enable Storage Control
- Use Cloud Storage
- Disk Empty
- Disable hibernation
- Delete temporary files
Empty Recycle Bin
Deleting items such as photos, videos, and documents from your computer does not delete them from the hard drive. Instead, they move to the trash and continue to take up space on your hard drive. Emptying the trash can free up more disk space.
- Enter Trash in the search bar to find and open the app.
- Click Open to go to the Manage section of the application. Scroll through the items before deleting them to make sure you haven’t deleted what you need.
- If you find a file that was deleted by mistake, click on it and select “Recover”. The selected item will be removed from the cart.
- When you click Empty Trash, a pop-up window appears asking: Are you sure you want to permanently delete all these items?
- Click Yes to free up valuable disk space.
Delete unwanted apps and programs
Windows 10 comes preloaded with apps and games that take up space on your hard drive. Some of them take up a lot of space. Therefore, if you are not using them, you can delete them:
- Go to Settings, Applications, then Applications & Features.
- Select games and applications that you do not use or do not want and click REMOVE.
Enable Storage Sense
Windows 10 comes with a Storage Sense feature that monitors your PC and automatically deletes various types of files that are usually temporary.
You can customize the settings by doing the following:
- Open Windows 10 settings by searching for settings or by holding the Windows key and pressing “i”.
- Click System and then Storage.
- Turn on “Vault Control”.
Once Storage Sense is activated, you can configure it to automatically delete temporary files and dehydrate OneDrive files. Dehydrated Microsoft OneDrive files are those files that have not been used for a certain period. The default is 30 days.
Windows removes local copies and replaces them with placeholders. When you click the icon, you navigate to the file in the cloud, which can free up more hard drive space.
By default, Storage Sense only uses this process when your system is low on disk space.
To enable storage control:
- Click Change how space is automatically reclaimed.
- Set Storage Control to when free disk space is low.
- Scroll down to the Locally Available Cloud Content section.
Find the drop-down menu in OneDrive and choose how often you want to dehydrate your files. Choose from:
- 1 day
- 14 days
- 30 days
- 60 days
Click Clean Now to let Windows 10 free up more hard drive space by clearing out the clutter.
Use Cloud Storage
If you use cloud storage to save your photos and files and store copies of them on your hard drive, you save twice. You might not want to keep copies of everything you have on your computer and in the cloud.
Instead, you can choose which folders you want to download and save to your computer anytime you need access.
To save space with OneDrive:
- Right-click the cloud icon and select Settings.
- Select folders to sync on the Account tab.
- Select the folders you want to save to your computer.
- Uncheck any files or folders that you want to keep only in the cloud and not upload.
- When done, click OK.
- All files and folders that you did not check will be removed from your hard drive and free up space for you.
- You can access these folders anytime online from your OneDrive account. provided that you have Internet access.
Windows Disk Cleanup is a built-in utility that helps you remove unnecessary data such as temporary files. The instructions below describe how you use Disk Cleanup:
- Type “Disk Cleanup” in the search bar.
- Check the box next to the drive you want to clean up and click OK.
Windows scans your computer and tells you how much space you can save if you run Disk Cleanup.
See screenshot above which says: Total disk space obtained: 336 MB. Scroll down to the “Files to remove” line and check the box next to the file types you want to remove. Then click OK.
Windows 10 has a hibernation feature that you can use when you leave your computer. It will save the session you are working on when you shut down so you can pick up where you left off when you’re ready.
However, this process writes the data that is currently in memory to your hard drive and takes up space. It’s a handy tool, but if you’re running low on space, you can disable hibernation by doing the following:
- by typing command prompt in the search bar.
- Click “Run as administrator”.
- Type the command below to disable hibernation and press Enter.
powercfg / hibernation off
If Hibernation is disabled, you can no longer put your computer into Hibernation, but you can add more memory.
You can come back at any time by entering the following at the command prompt as administrator:
powercfg / hibernate by command
Delete temporary files
Windows uses the TEMP folder to store folders and files created by some third-party Windows programs and services. Temporary files take up a lot of space on your computer. If you run Disk Cleanup, the temporary files will be deleted.
- To manually delete them, enter% temp% in the search bar and click on the file folder.
- Select all temporary files, right-click and choose “Delete”.
Use one of the suggested methods above to clean up your hard drive and free up space on it. From deleting temporary files to using cloud storage, you can keep your system running smoothly and save more space for programs and processes.