If you’re running low on disk space on your Windows 10 PC, there are a few ways to free up some real estate.
Is your Windows 10 hard drive showing signs that it’s close to empty? You barely have enough room for your current applications and files, let alone new ones. Sure, hard drives are cheap, so you can always clone your existing one. But let’s say you want to first try to get more mileage out of your current drive. There are a few ways you can do this. Let’s give it a shot.
The first and most obvious task is to delete files you no longer use. Granted, this chore will likely take awhile since you may bump into hundreds or thousands of files you no longer need. To do this, open File Explorer, jump to the folders that contain your documents and other personal files, sort your files by modified date with the oldest ones appearing first, and then simply scrap the old and unneeded ones.
Here’s another method to put the kibosh on unneeded files in Windows 10. Click on the Start button and then select Settings > System > Storage. Click on your main hard drive at the top of the window. Windows 10 calclulates the types of files on your drive and how much space they take up. Click on a particular file type such as Documents, Pictures, or Music.
Then click on the button to view those specific types of files.
Browse through the list to see which ones you can delete.
Next, you may want to uninstall applications you no longer use. This includes Windows apps as well as full-blown desktop programs. Click the Start button and select Settings > System > Apps & features. Sort your applications by size, and see if you can rid yourself of some of the heavy hitters. If you’re not sure about a particular program, it’s best to keep it alive.
Did you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1? Then here’s another trick. As part of the upgrade, Windows left behind a copy of the older version, which you no longer need as long as you plan to stick with Windows 10. Fire up File Explorer and open your C drive. Look for a folder called Windows.old and delete it. If you can’t find it, don’t worry—Windows deletes the folder automatically a month after you upgrade.
Here’s one we usually forget—empty your Recycle Bin. By default, any file you delete remains on your hard drive via the Recycle Bin so you can recover it if necessary. But at some point, the bin will get big, so you’ll want to prune it. You can double-click on the Recycle Bin to view and delete any individual files you no longer need, or you can right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and click on the Empty Recyle Bin command to purge all the files within.
Do you use Microsoft OneDrive to sync your documents and other files in the cloud? By default, your OneDrive files are saved on your PC and your OneDrive storage site. But you can tweak the settings so the files are stored only online and not on your hard drive. Here’s how: Right-click the OneDrive icon in the Windows system tray. Select Settings > Choose folders. Uncheck the checkboxes for the folders you don’t want to save on your PC and then select OK.
Finally, here’s an oldie but a goodie to catch anything still left to delete. The Windows Disk Cleanup tool can get rid of a whole mess of files in one shot. Click on the Start button and scroll down the Apps list, open the Windows Administrative Tools folder, and then select Disk Cleanup. The Disk Cleanup tool displays a series of file categories and determines how much space you can free up per category. Click on each category to view a description. In some cases, you can also view the files in that category. Click on the checkmarks next to the categories you feel comfortable deleting and then click the OK button.