How do I Free up drive space in Windows 10?

4/22/2020
Categories: Windows

If your PC is running low on free space, you might not be able to install important Windows updates, and your PC’s performance may be affected. Here are some ways to free up space so you can keep your PC up-to-date and running smoothly.

If you're getting a Low Disk Space error because of a full Temp folder

If you used Disk Cleanup to free up space on your device and then see a Low Disk Space error, it’s possible that your Temp folder is quickly filling up with application (.appx) files that are used by Microsoft Store. For more info, see Low Disk Space error due to a full Temp folder.

FREE UP SPACE WITH STORAGE SENSE

You can use Storage sense to delete unnecessary or temporary files from your device. (Can't find Storage sense on your device using the steps below? See the "Free up space with Disk Cleanup" section below instead.)

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > System  > Storage .
  2. Under Storage sense, select Free up space now.
  3. Windows will take a few moments to determine what files and apps are taking up the most space on your PC.
  4. Select all the items you want to delete, and then select Remove files.

If you turn on Storage sense, Windows will automatically free up space by getting rid of files you don't need, like temporary files and items in the Recycle Bin. 

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > System  > Storage .
  2. Turn on Storage sense.  
  3. To choose which files you want Storage sense to delete automatically, select Change how we free up space automatically, then select or clear the check boxes for options under Temporary Files, Locally available cloud content, and select Free up space now.

Free up space with Disk Cleanup

If your system doesn't have Storage sense, you can use the Disk Cleanup tool to delete temporary files and system files from your device.

  1. Select the Start  button, type disk cleanup, then select Disk Cleanup from the list of results.
  2. Select the check box next to the type of files you want to delete. (To view a description of each type of file, select the name.) By default, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, and Thumbnails are selected. 
  3. To free up even more space, select Clean up system files, and then select the type of system files you want to delete.
  4. After you’ve selected the types of files you want to delete, select OK, and then select Delete files in the confirmation window to start the cleanup.

Delete personal files or move them to an external storage device

Personal files such as videos, music, photos, and documents can take up a lot of space on your device. To see which files are using the most space:

  1. Open File Explorer  from the taskbar and find the files you want to move. 
  2. Under This PC in the menu on the left, select a folder to see what files are saved in it. The Videos, Music, Pictures, and Downloads folders usually contain the largest files that you’ve saved to your device.
  3. To see the size of the files in a folder, select View > Details. Right-click in the open space and then select Sort by > Size to show the largest files at the top of the list.
  4. If there are files you no longer need on your device, you can either delete them or move them to an external storage device like a USB drive or an SD card.

To move photos, music, videos, or other files that you want to keep but don't use very often, consider saving them to an external storage device like a USB drive or an SD card. You'll still be able to use them when the drive is connected, but they won't take up space on your PC.

  1. Connect an external storage device like a USB drive or SD card to your PC.
  2. Open File Explorer from the taskbar and go to the folder that contains the files you want to move.
  3. Select the files, select Home tab, and then select Move to > Choose location.
  4. Select the external storage device you connected in the location list, and then select Move.

Get additional help

If you’ve followed the instructions here but still need help freeing up space on your device, you can contact DKDouglas Consulting support to chat with a support agent. This is also recommended if your attempts to free up drive space trigger particular error codes that you need help resolving.