Best ways to free up storage on Windows

Be it a solid-state drive (SSD) or a large mechanical hard drive, they always seem filled up
A person using a laptop along with other devices. — Pixabay
A person using a laptop along with other devices. — Pixabay

As hard drives continue to increase in size, whether you have a solid-state drive (SSD) or a large mechanical hard drive, they always seem to fill up. The following tips will assist you in freeing up space on the internal storage of your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC.

Tips to free up space

1. Run disk cleanup

Windows provides a built-in tool that deletes temporary files and other insignificant data on your internal storage drive. To access it, right-click on one of your drives in the This PC window and select "Properties." Alternatively, you can search for "Disk Cleanup" in the Start Menu. In the disk properties window, click the "Disk Cleanup" button. 

Choose the types of files you want to delete, such as temporary files, log files, files in the Recycle Bin, and other unimportant files. You can also clean up system files by clicking the "Clean up system files" button. If needed, you can click the "More Options" button and use the "Clean Up" button under System Restore and Shadow Copies to delete system restore data.

2. Uninstall space-hungry applications

Free up space on your SSD or hard drive by uninstalling old and unused programs. Open the Settings app from the Start Menu, then go to System > Apps & Features to uninstall programs on Windows 10. You can sort your programs by size, installation drive, and other criteria. 

Another option is to open the legacy Uninstall Programs in the Control Panel by searching for "Control Panel" in the Start Menu and heading to "Uninstall A Program." From the Programs and Features control panel, you can click the Size column to see the space used by each program.

3. Analyse disk space

Utilise a disk analysis program to identify which files and folders are consuming the most space on your drive. These applications scan your drive and provide a detailed breakdown of the storage usage. WinDirStat is a recommended tool for this purpose.

4. Clean temporary files

While the built-in Windows Disk Cleanup tool can delete some temporary files, it may not clear temporary files used by other programs, such as browser caches. Clearing temporary files within each program is typically the best approach. However, if you prefer a more automated solution, you can use CCleaner, which cleans junk files from various third-party programs and Windows files.

5. Find duplicate files

Duplicate files are unnecessary and take up valuable space on your hard drive. Use a duplicate-file-finder application to scan your drive and locate duplicate files that can be safely deleted. Duplicate Cleaner Pro is a recommended option with additional features to help you find and delete duplicates.

6. Reduce system restore space

If System Restore is using a significant amount of hard drive space, you can reduce the allocated space for restore points. Keep in mind that this will result in fewer restore points and previous file versions being available.

7. Enable storage sense

Storage Sense is a built-in utility in Windows 10 and Windows 11 that automates several space-saving actions. It can automatically clear the Recycle Bin, delete old downloads, remove local copies of files backed up to the cloud, and delete temporary files. Access the Settings app, navigate to System > Storage, click "Configure Storage Sense or Run it Now," set the desired options, and enable Storage Sense.