7 Ways To Free Up Hard Disk Space On Windows.
If you use your system long enough, you will eventually run out of space. This is especially true if you are using a smaller 60GB or 120GB SSD as your system drive. Obviously, when there is no more space on the boot disk, you cannot install any new software or add files. To make matters worse, your system can become slow. So, if you’ve ever received an out-of-memory warning, here are some tips for freeing up disk space on Windows.
How do you analyze disk space?
Before you do anything, it’s important to analyze your disk space. This will help you determine which folders or files are taking up the most space on your hard drive. You can use the free WinDirStat program to analyze disk space.
So download the app and install it. Once installed, open the application by searching in the Start menu. Now WinDirStat will ask which drives to scan. Just select the drive you want to scan and click the “OK” button. In my case, I am just scanning my bootable SSD.
Scanning may take some time depending on the size and speed of the disc. So sit down and relax. And once the scan is complete, the app will show you which folders are taking up all the space. By expanding folders, you can pinpoint the space pigs.
Free up hard drive space on Windows
1. Clean up the trash
More often than not, most of us regularly delete files and folders for various reasons by pressing the “Delete” button on the keyboard. This action will instantly move all these files to the trash. Now, the more files you put in the Recycle Bin, the more disk space it will use on your boot disk. Therefore, the first thing you should always do is to empty the trash can to reclaim lost space.
Emptying the trash is easy, you can do it in a couple of clicks. Just right-click the trash can and select the “Empty Trash” option and you’re done.
Since the above action will permanently delete files, make sure there are no files in the trash that you want to recover. Also, in the future, if you want to permanently delete files on Windows (without putting them in the trash), just select the file and folder and press Shift + Delete.
Related: How to Get Back Permanently Deleted Files from Computer
2. Use the included Disk Cleanup tool
Windows stores a lot of files like temporary files, cache, old Windows installation files, etc. in hidden locations. These files can sometimes take up a lot of space. To reclaim this location, type “Disk Cleanup” in the Start Menu and open it.
Now select your system drive and click OK.
Windows will start scanning. After scanning, check all the boxes and click the “OK” button. This action will delete all unnecessary files to free up space.
3. Uninstall unused apps
The more programs you install, the more disk space will be used to support that software. This is especially true for large applications like Photoshop, Office, etc. Thus, from time to time you need to check all your applications and uninstall those that you don’t need or that you use frequently.
Fortunately, uninstalling the program in Windows is very easy. To get started, find “Programs and Features” in the “Start” menu and open it.
The above action will open the Programs and Features window. Here, right click on the application you want to uninstall and select the “Uninstall” option. Now follow the instructions of the uninstall wizard and you should be fine.
If you want to uninstall the application without any trace, use a dedicated third-party uninstaller. If there are apps you don’t use as often, try to find a portable version so you don’t have to install it on your system.
4. Manage your games via Steam
If you’re a gamer, it’s a good idea to manage all your games through Steam. Even if you bought games outside of Steam, you can still link them to your Steam account. The reason I say this is Steam makes it easy to manage your games. What’s more, when using Steam, you don’t need to install all of your games on the C drive.
Steam simplifies this process with a simple feature called library folders. In fact, I am using the same function to reduce the use of space on my boot disk.
It is very easy to create a new library folder. First, start Steam and go to Steam Settings.
In the preferences window, navigate to Download and then click the Steam Library Folders button.
To add a new library, click the Add Library Folder button.
In the browse window, navigate to the location where you want to install all your games, and then click the Select button and the library will be added.
If you have multiple libraries, Steam will ask you to select a library when installing the game.
5. Reduce system restore space
System Restore in Windows is very useful and allows you to restore your system in case of any crashes. However, System Restore can take up a significant portion of your disk space. Thus, reducing or managing the system recovery function is important.
To do this, find “Advanced System Settings” in the “Start” menu and open it.
Here go to the “System Protection” tab. Now select your boot drive and click the Configure button.
This will open the System Restore Settings window. Here, slide the slider to indicate how much space you want to reserve for system recovery. The more space you can allocate, the more restore points Windows can save. Typically, 10 to 15 percent of the C disk space will be sufficient.
Related: 5 Best Free Backup Software for Windows
6. Disable hibernation
Hibernation is a very useful feature. Typically, most laptops have hibernation enabled. However, this will take up a lot of space. So, if you are not using this feature, it is best to disable it to free up unused space. Turning hibernation on or off in Windows is pretty simple.
First, press “Win + X” and select the “Command line (administrator)” option. This action will open a command prompt with administrator rights.
To disable hibernation, just run the command below and you’re done. powercfg.exe / hibernation disabled
In the future, if you ever want to enable hibernation, use the following command. powercfg.exe / hibernation enabled
7. Find and remove duplicate files and folders
This doesn’t happen very often, but there will be times when your system space gets eaten up by duplicate files and folders. For example, you might have downloaded movies, copied them to another drive, and forgot to delete the original files. In such situations, it is best to find and remove duplicate files and folders.
To remove duplicate files, you can use CCleaner. So, download and install the application. Now open it, go to Tools and select Find Duplicates. Leave the default values here and click the Search button.
Once the scan is complete, CCleaner will list all duplicate files. Carefully select the files you want to delete and then select the “Delete Selected” option. If you are not sure which file to delete, do not make any changes.
Hope this helps, and leave a comment below to share your thoughts and experiences on using the tips above to free up space on Windows.
Also Read: 10 Tips to Speed Up a Slow Windows 10 PC