Are you bothered about how to free up space on Windows 10, but not sure how to go about it? Here’s a simple and concise guide on how you to clear disk space on Windows 10 PC without having to perform a disk format.
If you’ve been around long enough to be a part of the 90s era when the internet and home computers really took off, then you probably appreciate the current generation computer tech more than the Gen Z young folk. We’ve been through the caveman era of dial-up internet and computers that came packed with a single HDD (hard disk drive), and just a decade ago, 250GB capacity was considered plentiful by most standards.
In the modern era, we have 4K UHD content, large file capacity software, and games such as Grand Theft Auto V, which can take up 60GB+ data. Even with 1TB HDDs becoming a common sight and SSD (Solid State Drive) becoming faster and cheaper, it’s not enough. You might be hitting the ceiling when it comes to the storage capacity on your PC and laptop, ending up with the need to free up space on your PC hard drive.
How to Free Up Space on Windows 10 PC
When it comes to reclaiming the lost gigabytes of data on your PC’s hard disk, there’s more than one way. Apart from some no-brainer’s that even a layman user could figure out, to the more complication processes, here’s a list of ways to clean the Windows hard drive for some additional disk space.
1. Clear the Recycle Bin
Unless you’re a hoarder who prefers keeping every bit of data on their PC, you’re probably deleting plenty of files. The problem lies with the fact that, as an essential safety measure, Windows Recycle Bin allows you to restore the files you’ve deleted. Since the content in the Recycle Bin is stored on your primary C: Drive, it takes up essential disk space.
- Open the Recycle Bin icon on the home screen of your computer.
- Check and confirm that you no longer need any of the files inside the Recycle Bin.
- Press the Recycle Bin tools on the toolbar and then select Empty the Recycle Bin button from the drop-down menu.
The files from the Recycle Bin will now be permanently deleted, and the space taken up by them will be reclaimed by the disk drive.
2. Use Storage Sense to clean up the disk drive
Since emptying the PC for disk space is a common requirement, Microsoft makes it easier with a dedicated Storage menu. There’s a feature called Storage Sense built into Windows 10 that is designed to automatically remove unimportant files from the storage. The feature does so in lieu of optimizing the performance of the computer for the best user experience at all times.
- Using Windows search, head to the Storage settings menu of the computer.
- Look for the Storage Sense option at the top and enable the toggle.
- Press the Configure Storage Sense option and select the duration for when you want to delete the Temporary Files.
You can also use the Clean Now button to immediately clear out non-essential data files and free up disk space on your PC.
3. Save new files on a different hard drive
Most computers and even laptops these days come with multiple hard drive slots – one for the system files, and the additional one for personal data storage. The only time you would want to free up space on your PC is when the system partition is being clogged up by content. Deciding what content is saved where on the computer can ensure that the primary drive does not end up with the bulk of the downloaded data.
- Go over to the Settings – System – Storage on your Windows 10 computer.
- Under the More storage settings option, find the option to Change where new content is saved.
- Here, you can handpick which drives the newly downloaded apps, music, movies, and TV shows that are saved.
4. Uninstall space-hogging apps to clean drive
Unlike smartphones where the app icon is always in the line of sight, Windows apps can be lost in the mix. A majority share of space on the hard drive will be taken up by apps that you might not even use very often, so clearing them out is a sound way of retrieving the lost disk space on your PC.
- Using the Windows search bar, look for the Add or remove programs
- From the list of the apps installed use the Sort by feature to look them up by Size.
- Select the app icon you wish to remove and press the Uninstall
5. Migrate to the Cloud to clear up space
Most old-timers still prefer keeping all of those data offline, but there is no denying the benefits of cloud storage. Microsoft OneDrive is seamlessly integrated into Windows 10, but you can always install third-party services such as iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
The biggest benefit of having extended cloud storage is not just freeing up PC storage, but also have access to crucial documents and media files on the go. OneDrive is available with 5GB of free storage, built right into the File Explorer.
6. Perform Disk Cleanup on Windows drive
Before smart features such as Storage Sense came along, there was Disk Cleanup to help you weed it all out. The legacy tool helps you manually select a disk drive, and cherry-pick the space-hungry elements that are stored on it.
- In the Windows search bar, look up Disk Cleanup and open the app.
- Under the Drives drop-down menu, select the one you wish to clean up.
- The pop-up window will display the Files to delete – Temporary Internet Files, Downloaded Program Files, Delivery Optimization Files, and others.
- Furthermore, you can use the Clean up system files option to flush out update files that are no longer useful.
- Press OK to confirm and wait as the Disk Cleanup does its magic.
7. Relocate apps and data to clear disk space
Unless you’re planning a hardware upgrade, there are only so many temporary files you can delete to keep the primary disk drive humming smoothly. If you have multiple disk drives on your computer, but ended up hoarding everything on the primary one where the Windows 10 system files are installed, the first step is moving large files from the C: Drive to the secondary drives, leaving enough room for system files to operate optimally to free up space on Windows 10. Speaking of the apps installed, you can move apps to the secondary drive without uninstalling and reinstalling them.
- Using the Windows search bar, look for the Add or remove programs
- Select the app icon you wish to move and press the Move
- Pick the drive from the drop-down menu and press the Move
8. Disable Hibernation to free storage space
Windows 10 comes with a feature called Hibernation, which allows you to shut down the computer without ending the session. Although Hibernation is a nifty tool to have, it does take up a significant number of gigabytes to function, which you may not have to spare. When running low on space without much use for it, you can disable Hibernation from the command prompt menu.
- Open the Start menu, access Command Prompt under Run as administrator.
- Enter the following command and hit the Enter: powercfg /hibernate off
- The Hibernation feature will now be disabled, and the available storage space will be saved.
- If you wish to enable Hibernation again, type in the following command: powercfg /hibernate on
We recommend that when you’re looking to free up space on Windows 10 PC, the Storage section is the best place to start. Apart from giving you a breakdown of the Apps, Files, Temporary Files, and Media stored on the PC, there are additional options such as Storage Sense, features to optimize drives, manage storage spaces, and backup options as well. Finally, if the increasing file size is leaving out space-hungry too often, an external HDD or a hardware upgrade might be in order.
For more tips and tricks related to Windows, make sure to check out our Windows tutorials.
Were you able to reclaim some much-needed storage space on your Windows computer with the tips listed above? We’d love to know your thoughts, so do reach out in the comments section down below.