Do you keep a bunch of large files, photos, and videos on your computer? If yes, then there’s a good chance you can run low of storage space. When this happens, normal processing will start to slow down, causing your computer to run painfully slow. While there are of course a lot of other reasons why your computer might be sluggish, low disk space is certainly one of the most common causes. In this entry, we will talk about how you can free up more disk space in your hard drive for faster boot and performance.
You may be thinking of the easy solution, which is to delete files or moving them into external hard drive or USB sticks. But before you do that, we suggest that you free up the space taken by useless temporary files, installed service packs, and old system files. These are the common big space “hogs” in Windows computers, and they’re set by default to do so.
Use Storage Sense To Delete Junk Files
Storage Sense is a feature that provides quick and easy way to delete junk files from your hard drive, such as temporary files, to free up some precious space and store more important content and improve system performance.
To use Storage Sense:
1. Open Settings
2. Click System
3. Click Storage
4. And under “Storage Sense” click the link Change how we free up space automatically.
5. Then, check the option Delete Temporary Files that my apps aren’t using.
6. Click on the drop-down menu and choose how to delete recycle bin files and files you’re storing in Downloads folder. Available options include:
Tip: To delete the most number of files, choose 1 day in the drop-down menu.
7. (This is optional) under the option “Free up space now”, choose the option to delete the previous installation of Windows 10. This option however, is available only for the first ten days after installation of a new feature update.
8. Then click Clean Now button.
After completing these steps, your Windows 10 computer will immediately run the maintenance tool to free up space from your hard drive.
Configure Storage Sense
Though you can use this feature manually any time, it’s actually recommended to enable the option to automatically run maintenance. When you see that you’re running low on space, do the following:
As soon as you complete these steps, Storage sense will automatically run, depending on how you configured it.
Using Disk Cleanup to Remove Temporary Files
Disk Cleanup is a tool designed to provide users a more granulated control on deleting unnecessary files from their hard drive, and starting with Windows 10 version (from April 2018) update, you can now remove the same items from Control Panel and Settings app.
Using Settings To Remove Temporary Files
5. Check each item that you want to get rid off from the options, such as:
Note: This option varies. For example, if Windows 10 has already deleted the previous version, then you will not find the “Previous Windows installation(s) option.”
6. Click Remove Files button
After completing the steps, Storage Sense
will delete the files you have chosen, freeing up space for more important
Using Control Panel to Remove Temp Files
As said earlier, you can also get rid of unnecessary files from your device using the Disk Cleanup Tool through Control Panel.
Deleting System Files
1. Open File Explore
2. Right click the “This PC” that is running out of space, and then choose Properties.
3. Click Disk Cleanup button
4. Click Cleanup System files button
5. Choose the files you want to delete:
6. Click OK
7. Click Delete Files button
After completing these steps, temporary files will be removed from your device.
Deleting System Restore and Shadow Copies
If you have enabled System Restore and you use Shadow Copies (volume snapshot that allows to backup files even when they're open), you can absolutely get rid of these junk files and reclaim the storage space.
After completing these steps, your computer will have hundreds of free megabytes of space.
Uninstall Apps and Games You Don’t Use and Need
Getting rid of apps that comes preinstalled when you purchased your computer is a great space-saver. Also, modern games that downloaded into your PC can quickly take up huge space on your hard drive. The idea is to keep the number of installed games to your computer at minimum, not just to reclaim space, but more importantly, to improve your computer’s performance.
To uninstall apps and games:
5. Choose the app that you want to remove, then click Uninstall button
6. Then click Uninstall once again
o the same instructions for the others apps and games.
Use the Cloud
Cloud storage lets you store everything from your computer to a secured place on the internet. This means you have all your documents, files, photos, videos, etc., stored, saved, and accessible through your computer, without actually occupying a single space on your computer. The best thing about Cloud storage is that, you can access your stored files anywhere, anytime, on any computer. All you need is a computer and your login details.
There are lots of third-party Cloud products out there, both paid and free. If you don’t want to use third-party products, you can make use of Microsoft’s OneDrive Cloud Storage Drive, which lets you save local storage using the Files On-Demand Feature.
OneDrive Files On-Demand is a feature that lets you access your files using your computer’s very own File Explorer, but without having to sync them, or use significant amount of storage. You can also download your files to your PC only when you need them.
To enable this feature:
3. On the Settings tab, under Files on Demand, click the box to check Save space and download files as you use them to enable this feature.
4. Then, click OK button
Once you have completed this process, you can now start using the On-Demand feature to move files from your computer to your OneDrive folder, and make them available only online to free up some needed space on your computer.
How to Free up Space Using OneDrive On-Demand Feature
To move existing documents on your computer to OneDrive:
You can also take this to the next level by syncing all documents and files saved on your computer, and other folders without manually having to move them.
Of course, you need an Internet connection to access everything you have saved to OneDrive.
OneDrive comes into free or paid versions. Free storage space is up to 5GB, while subscription accounts can have as much as 100GB of cloud space.
Disable Hibernation (for Windows 10)
For Windows 10 computers, Hibernation is a feature that saves memory data to the hard drive, allowing you to power off your device without completely losing your work. When your computer comes back, you can then pick up where you left off.
Sounds like a neat feature, but this requires a lot of memory space to keep data loaded in memory to the hiberfil.sys file.
Thus, if you’re running on storage space, every gigabyte counts, and disabling this feature can definitely help you free up some space. To disable hibernation:
Obviously, disbaling this feature means you’re no longer able to use it. Anytime you want to use the feature again, just go through the same steps, this time, type in powercfg /hibernate on step 3.
Compress Windows 10
Compact OS is a command lined tool that allows computer users to compress the installation and application files to reduce their overall footprint of Windows 10, giving some storage space for more valuable files.
This feature is usually reserved for low-end devices with limited storage space out-of-the-box. Now, anyone can use it and get noticeable performance boost, and still undo the changes.
A word of advice though, modifying system files can be risky, and can cause damage to your installation if done wrong. Thus, it’s always recommended to have a full back-up of your PC before proceeding.
After completing these steps, Windows 10 installations and built-in apps will be compressed, freeing up your computer for up to 2GB storage space on average. The whole process takes 10 to 20 minutes, without having to restart your computer.
If you no longer need the feature, you can undo the process and revert the changes you made using the same instructions above. Simply replace step 3 with: compact.exe /compactOS:never.
Though this feature can be used by anyone, it should be treated as last resort.
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