Home » 10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

Whenever we think we have enough space on our hard drive, we somehow find enough stuff to load it with and run out of space real soon. And all we know at the end of the story is that we desperately need more space on the drive because we already have a ton of more pictures, videos, and apps. So, if you need to make space on your drive, here are a few ways that you can use to clean up your hard disk and optimize your space utilization to make room for new stuff and save yourself from having to buy another drive already.

10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows

What is actually taking up your hard disk space?

Now, before you clean up some space on your drive, you probably need to figure out which files are actually eating up all your disk space. This crucial information is made available to you by Windows itself which provides a disk analyzer tool to find which files you need to get rid of. To analyze your disk space,

1. Click on the Start icon on the taskbar.

Go to Start then click Settings or press Windows Key + I keys to open Settings

2. Click on the gear icon to open Settings and then click on ‘System’.

Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on System | 10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

3. Select ‘Storage’ from the left pane and under ‘Local Storage’, select the drive you need to check the space.

4. Wait for the storage usage to load. Once loaded, you will see which type of files use what amount of disk space.

Under Local Storage and select the drive you need to check the space

5. Furthermore, clicking on a particular type will give you even more detailed storage usage information. For instance, the ‘Apps & Games’ section will give you the details of how much space each app occupies on your disk.

Clicking on a particular type will give you even more detailed storage usage information

Additionally, you can find out the space occupied by different programs on your computer from Control Panel.

1. Press Windows key + R then type control and hit Enter to open ‘Control Panel’.

Press Windows Key + R then type control

2. Now, click on ‘Programs’ and then ‘Programs and features’.

Click on Programs and then Programs and features | 10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

3. You now have the entire list of programs on your computer and how much space each of them occupies.

List of programs on your computer and how much space each of them occupies

Apart from the Windows built-in analyzer, many third-party disk space analyzer apps like WinDirStat can help you find out how much disk space different files use with a more detailed view. Now that you know exactly what is taking up most of your disk space, you can easily decide what you want to remove or delete. To free up space on your hard disk, use the given methods:

10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

Make sure to create a restore point just in case something goes wrong.

Method 1: Delete Junk Windows Files using Storage Sense

As the first step, let us delete the temporary files saved on our computers which are useless for us, using Storage Sense built-in Windows feature.

1. Click on the Start icon on the taskbar.

2. Click on the gear icon to open Settings and go to ‘System’.

3. Select ‘Storage’ from the left pane and scroll down to ‘Storage Sense’.

Select Storage from the left pane and scroll down to Storage Sense

4. Under ‘Storage Sense’, click on ‘Change how we free up space automatically’.

5. Make sure that ‘Delete temporary files that my apps aren’t using’ option is checked.

Make sure that Delete temporary files that my apps aren’t using option is checked

6. Decide how frequently you want to delete the files in the recycle bin and downloads folder and select the relevant option from the drop-down menu. You can select between the options: Never, 1 day, 14 days, 30 days and 60 days.

Select between the options Never and one day and so on | 10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

7. To instantly free up disk space used by temporary files by clicking on ‘Clean now’ button under ‘Free up space now’.

8. If you want to set up automatic clean-up process once every particular number of days, you can set it up by turning on ‘Storage Sense’ on the top of the page.

You can also set up automatic clean-up process once every particular number of days

9. You can decide when the storage maintenance is carried by choosing between Every day, Every week, Every month and When Windows decides.

You can decide when the storage maintenance is carried to free up disk space on Windows

Method 2: Delete Temporary Files using Disk Cleanup

Disk cleanup is a built-in tool on Windows that will let you delete the required unnecessary and temporary files depending upon your need. To run disk cleanup,

1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on System icon.

Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on System

2. Select ‘Storage’ from the left pane and scroll down to ‘Storage sense’.

Select Storage from the left pane and scroll down to Storage Sense

3. Click on ‘Free up space now’. Then wait for scanning to complete.

4. From the list, select the files you would like to delete, such as downloads, thumbnails, temporary files, recycling bin, etc.

5. Click on ‘Remove files’ button to free up the total selected space.

Select the files which you want to delete then click on Remove files button

Alternatively, to run disk cleanup for any particular drive using the given steps:

1. Press Windows Key + E to open Files Explorer.

2. Under ‘This PC’ right-click on the drive you need to run disk cleanup and select Properties.

Right-click on the drive that you need to run disk cleanup for & select Properties

3. Under the ‘General’ tab, click on ‘Disk cleanup’.

Under the General tab, click on Disk cleanup | 10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

4. Select the files that you want to delete from the list like windows update cleanup, download program files, recycle bin, temporary internet files, etc. and click on OK.

Select the files that you want to delete from the list then click OK

5. Click on ‘Delete files’ to confirm the deletion of the selected files.

6. Next, click on ‘Clean up system files’.

click Clean up system files in the bottom under Description

7. Unnecessary files from that particular drive will be removed, freeing up space on your disk.

For those who use System Restore which uses Shadow copies, you can delete its junk files to free up more space on your drive.

1. Press Windows Key + E to open Files Explorer.

2. Under ‘This PC’ right-click on the drive you need to run disk cleanup and select Properties.

Right-click on the drive that you need to run disk cleanup for & select Properties

3. Under the ‘General’ tab, click on ‘Disk Cleanup’.

Under the General tab, click on Disk cleanup

4. Now click on ‘Clean up system files’.

click Clean up system files in the bottom under Description

5. Switch to the ‘More Options’ tab.

Switch to More Options tab under Disk Cleanup

6. Under ‘System Restore and Shadow Copies’ section, click on ‘Clean up…’.

7. Click on ‘Delete’ to confirm the deletion.

Click on ‘Delete’ to confirm the deletion | 10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

8. All junk files will be deleted.

Method 3: Delete Temporary Files used by Programs using CCleaner

The above two methods that we used to free up space occupied by the temporary files actually includes only those temporary files which are not used by other programs. For example, the browser cache files that your browser uses to speed up website access time will not be deleted. These files may actually take up a huge space on your disk. To free up such temporary files, you need to download a third-party app like CCleaner. CCleaner can be used to delete all temporary files, including those left out in the disk cleanup process like Temporary Internet Files, History, Cookies, Index.dat files, Recent Documents, Search Autocomplete, other Explore MRUs, etc. This program will efficiently free up quite some space on your disk.

Delete Temporary Files used by Programs using CCleaner

Method 4: Uninstall Unused Apps and Programs to Free Up Hard Disk Space 

We are all guilty of having tens of apps and games on our computer that we don’t even use anymore. Having these unused apps takes up a lot of space on your disk that could otherwise be used for more important files and apps. You should uninstall and get rid of these unused apps and games to free up a whole lot of space on your disk. To uninstall apps,

1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on ‘Apps’.

Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click Apps

2. Click on ‘Apps and features’ from the left pane.

Click on Apps and features from the left pane

3. Here, you can sort the list of apps using their size to determine which apps occupy most of the space. To do this, click on ‘Sort by:’ then from the drop-down menu and select ‘Size’.

Click on Sort by then from the drop-down select Size

4. Click on the app that you want to uninstall and click on ‘Uninstall’.

Click on the app that you want to uninstall and click on Uninstall

5. Click on ‘Uninstall’ again to confirm.

6. Using the same steps, you can uninstall all unnecessary apps on your computer.

Note that you can also uninstall apps using Control Panel.

1. Type control panel in the search field located on your taskbar and click on it to open ‘Control Panel’.

Type Control Panel in the search bar and press enter

2. Click on ‘Programs’.

3. Under ‘Programs and Features’, click on ‘Uninstall a program’.

From Control Panel click on Uninstall a Program.  |10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

4. Here, you can sort the apps according to their size by clicking on ‘Size’ attribute heading.

Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows using Control Panel

5. Also, you can filter out the small, medium, large, huge and gigantic sized apps. For this, click on the down arrow besideSize’ and select the relevant option.

You can filter out the small, medium, large, huge and gigantic sized apps

6. Right-click on the app and click on ‘Uninstall’ to uninstall any app and click on ‘Yes’ in the User Account Control window.

Right-click on the app and click on ‘Uninstall’ to uninstall any app

Method 5: Delete Duplicate Files to Free Up Hard Disk Space

While copying and pasting different files on your computer, you might actually land up with multiple copies of the same file, located at different places on your computer. Deleting these duplicate files can also free up space on your disk. Now, finding different copies of a file on your computer manually is nearly impossible, so there are a few third-party apps that you can use to do this. Some of them are Duplicate Cleaner Pro, CCleaner, Auslogics Duplicate File Finder, etc.

Method 6: Store Files on the Cloud

Using Microsoft’s OneDrive to save files can save you some space on your local disk. The ‘Files On-Demand’ feature of OneDrive available on Windows 10 which is a really cool feature that lets you access even those files which are actually stored on the cloud from your File Explorer. These files will not be stored on your local disk and can be downloaded directly from your File Explorer whenever needed, without having to sync them. Hence, you can store your files on the cloud if you are running out of space. To enable OneDrive Files On-Demand,

1. Click on the cloud icon in the notification area of your taskbar to open OneDrive.

2. Then click on ‘More’ and select ‘Settings’.

Click on More and select Settings under One Drive

3. Switch to Settings tab and checkmarkSave space and download files as you see them’ box under the Files On-Demand section.

Checkmark Save space and download files as you see them under the Files On-Demand section

4. Click on OK, and Files On-Demand will be enabled.

To save space on your computer,

1. Open the File Explorer and select ‘OneDrive’ from the left pane.

2. Right-click on the file you want to move to OneDrive and select ‘Free up space’.

Right-click on the file you want to move to OneDrive & select Free up space

3. You use these steps to move all the required files to OneDrive, and you can still access these files from your File Explorer.

Method 7: Disable Hibernation on Windows 10

The hibernation feature on Windows 10 allows you to power off your computer without losing your work so that whenever it’s switched on again, you can start from where you left. Now, this feature comes to life by saving the data on your memory to the hard disk. If you immediately need some more space on your disk, you can disable this feature to Free Up Hard Disk Space on Windows. For this,

1. In the search field on your taskbar, type command prompt.

2. Right-click on Command Prompt shortcut and select ‘Run as administrator’.

Right-click on the ‘Command Prompt’ app and choose the run as administrator option

3. Run the following command:

powercfg /hibernate off

Disable Hibernation to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows  | 10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

4. If you need to enable hibernate again in the future, run the command:

powercfg /hibernate off

Method 8: Reduce the disk space utilized by System Restore

This is another feature that you can trade-off for disk space. System Restore uses a lot of disk space for saving system restore points. You can reduce the amount of space System Restore occupies on your disk if you can survive with fewer system restore points to restore your system. To do this,

1. Right-click on ‘This PC’ and select ‘Properties’.

Right-click on This PC and select Properties

2. Click on ‘System Protection’ from the left pane.

Click on System Protection in the left-hand menu

3. Now switch to System Protection tab and click on ‘Configure’.

system protection configure system restore

4. Adjust to the desired configuration and click on OK.

turn on system protection

5. You can also click on ‘Delete’ to delete all restore points if you don’t need them.

Method 9: Compress Windows 10 Installation to Free Up Disk Space 

In case you still need more space and have no other option left, use this method.

1. Make a backup of your PC as modifying system files may be risky.

2. In the search field on your taskbar, type command prompt.

3. Right-click on Command Prompt shortcut and select ‘Run as administrator’.

4. Run the following command:

compact.exe /compactOS:always

Compress Windows 10 Installation

5. To revert the changes in the future, run the following command:

compact.exe /compactOS:never

Method 10: Move files and apps to External Hard Drive

If you need even more space on your computer, you can use an external hard drive. You can move your files and apps to an external drive to free up hard disk space on Windows 10. While moving files and apps to an external drive is easy, you can also configure it to save the new content to the new location automatically.

1. Navigate to Settings > System > Storage.

2. Click on ‘Change where new content is saved’ under ‘More storage settings’.

Click on ‘Change where new content is saved’ under More storage settings

3. Select the desired location from the list and click on ‘Apply’.

Select the desired location from the list and click on Apply | 10 Ways to Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10

So these were a few ways in which you can free up space on your hard disk.

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I hope this article was helpful and you can now easily Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows 10, but if you still have any questions regarding this guide then feel free to ask them in the comment’s section.

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Aditya Farrad

Aditya is a self-motivated information technology professional and has been a technology writer for the last 7 years. He covers Internet services, mobile, Windows, software, and How-to guides.

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