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Running out of storage? Try these tips to free up space on Windows 10


2. Free up space deleting junk files using Storage Sense on Windows 10

On Windows 10, Storage Sense is a feature that allows you to quickly delete junk files (including previous installation files after an upgrade and temporary files) to free up space on the primary and secondary drives to make room to store other files and improve drive efficiency.

Enable Storage Sense

Although you can use Storage Sense manually, you can also enable the feature to run maintenance automatically to prevent running out of space quickly.

To set up Storage Sense to run automatically, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Under the “Storage” section, click the Configure Storage Sense or run it now option.

    Windows 10 Storage Sense configure option

    Source: Windows Central
  5. Turn on the Storage Sense toggle switch.
  6. Use the “Run Storage Sense” drop-down menu and select the best option for your situation:

    • Every day.
    • Every week.
    • Every month.
    • During low free disk space (recommended).

    Storage Sense enable option

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, Storage Sense will run automatically at the schedule you specified.

The option to enable the feature is also available on the Storage page, but using this option only activates the default settings. Using the Storage Sense settings page allows you to configure how the feature should remove unnecessary content.

Delete unnecessary files using Storage Sense

To free up space using Storage Sense, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Under the “Storage” section, click the Configure Storage Sense or run it now option.

    Windows 10 Storage Sense configure option

    Source: Windows Central
  5. Under the “Temporary Files” section, check the Delete temporary files that my apps aren’t using option.
  6. Use the Recycle Bin drop-down menu to specify how to clear already deleted files you do not need.
  7. Use the Downloads drop-down menu to specify how to clean up files you downloaded from the internet.

    Quick tip: If you need to delete the most files, use the 1 day option. The Downloads folder may contain valuable files you may have downloaded from the internet, which means that it is recommended to backup those files manually before running Storage Sense.

  8. Under the “Locally available cloud content” section, use the drop-down menu to specify how long OneDrive content synced to the device becomes online-only.

    Storage Sense advanced settings

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: This option is part of OneDrive Files On-Demand that allows you to access your documents, pictures, videos, and other files using File Explorer, without the need to sync them to reduce the space usage on your device. When your computer is low on space, you can use it to make files only available in the cloud. You will still see your files, but their content will only download when you need them.

  9. Under the “Free up space now” section, check the Delete previous versions of Windows option (if applicable).

    Storage sense delete previous version of Windows 10

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: If this option is available, you may be able to free up close to 20GB of space.

  10. Click the Clean now button.

Storage Sense will run and delete unnecessary files from the computer to reclaim more space after you complete the steps.

Delete temporary files with Storage Sense

Storage Sense also allows you to delete temporary system and apps files to reclaim several gigabytes of space.

To delete temporary files with the Settings app, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Under the “Local Disk (C:)” section, click the Temporary files item. (If the item is not available, click the Show more categories option.)

    Storage Sense Temporary files item

    Source: Windows Central
  5. Check all the items you want to remove to optimize the space. For example:

    • Downloads.
    • Windows Update Cleanup.
    • Recycle Bin.
    • Delivery Optimization Files.
    • Thumbnails.
    • Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
    • Temporary Internet Files.
    • Temporary files.
    • Windows error reports and feedback diagnostics.
    • DirectX Shader Cache.
    • Previous Windows installation(s).
    • Temporary Windows installation files.

    Quick tip: The available items may vary in your installation. If you want to select the Downloads item, before clearing these files, make sure to understand that this option will erase everything in the “Downloads” folder.

  6. Click the Remove files button.

    Windows 10 delete temporary files

    Source: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the files you selected will be deleted permanently, freeing up space for more important files.

View storage usage on Windows 10

While you are probably aware that your device is running low on space, Storage Sense can also help you understand which contents are using the most space to know the files you want to clean up.

To view the storage usage on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Under the “Local Disk C:” section, click the Show more categories option.

    Storage Sense show more categories option

    Source: Windows Central
  5. See how the storage is being utilized.

    Windows 10 hard drive usage view

    Source: Windows Central
  6. Select each category to see even more details and actions you can take to free up space on Windows 10.

Once you complete the steps, you will better understand the storage usage and the areas of focus to free up space.

For instance, by clicking the System & reserved category, you will see how much space the installation is using, and how much space virtual memory, hibernation files, system restore, and the amount of space the system is reserving for updates.





This post was written by Mauro Huculak and was first posted to WindowsCentral



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