No matter how much storage space we have in our Windows 10 PCs, at some point it simply… runs out.
Buying another hard drive or upgrading to a bigger drive is one way to solve this problem, but it’s expensive and inconvenient. There are better ways for you to free up those valuable gigabytes, which we’ll share with you here.
Do a disk cleanup
Windows 10 has a built-in utility that examines the files on your hard drive, and offers suggestions on what you can delete to free up space. It’s called the Disk Cleanup utility, and you’ll find it by right-clicking on any of your hard drives in Explorer, going to Properties, clicking the Disk Clean-up button.
After a brief wait, Windows will present a list of files that you could safely do away with; these are temporary files, downloads, thumbnails, and other unnecessary files. Browse through these, choose the ones you’re happy to kiss goodbye, and click OK.
Clear out old system files
If you’ve recently upgraded to Windows 10, this next tip will net you many new gigabytes of reclaimed storage.
Also under Disk Cleanup, you’ll see a button named Clean up System Files. If you click this, Windows will delete old Windows files from your previous installation that the system doesn’t need anymore.
The only thing to keep in mind is that by deleting these, you won’t be able to go back to your previous Windows installation.
Activate Storage Sense
Windows has a neat feature called Storage Sense, which automatically deletes unused temporary files, recycle bin files, as well as downloads older than 60 days.
Perhaps its best feature is its ability to move files that you haven’t opened in a while off of your local PC and into the cloud via OneDrive. This frees up local storage space while ensuring your files are safely backed up in the cloud.
Simply press Windows + I to open Settings, and type Storage into the Search box. Turn On Storage Sense will come up; click on it, then click Configure Storage Sense or run it now and specify what you’d like automatically cleaned up. Storage Sense will do the rest.
Choose where to save files
When you have multiple hard drives, it can save a lot of storage space to save new content to a drive that isn’t your operating system drive.
To do this, open Settings (Windows + I) and go to System, then Storage. Look for a link at the bottom of the page that says “Change where new content is saved”.
Now you’ll see a list of the default locations that new content is saved to. To change any one of them, simply click the drop down box and choose a different hard drive.
This won’t free up hard drive space right away, but it will definitely lead to gigabytes saved in the future as new content is saved on another drive in your newly-specific location.
Disable the Hibernate function
This one isn’t highly recommended as hibernating is very useful, but it can free up quite a bit of space.
Hibernation is a state that remembers what the computer was doing when you put it to sleep and lets it resume from sleep really quickly. It’s very handy, but saving all of that hibernation data takes up valuable gigabytes. By disabling Hibernate altogether, you can recoup that space.
You can do this from a command prompt. Run it as the administrator, then type “powercfg /hibernate off” and press Enter. This will delete hiberfil.sys, the file that contains all of your hibernation data.
If you miss resuming quickly from sleep, you can re-enable hibernation by typing “powercfg /hibernate command” into an admin-run command prompt.
Happy gig hunting!
There are other ways to free up storage space (you could always simply uninstall unused applications, for example), but these five are a great place to start.