What's Taking Up Space on My Hard Drive in Windows 10? Here are 14 Fixes!
What is taking up space on my hard drive in Windows 10? Learn about the answer in this article and master 14 ways to free up disk space. Keep reading for more detailed information.
User Case: how to know what is taking up disk space in Windows 10
"I have a long-used Windows 10 computer and it has been running properly. But two weeks ago, I suddenly found that I only have 100MB left on my originally 500GB sized hard drive, the result is that the computer has become very slow and I can't even open folders properly anymore. I am now wondering why this has become so and what is taking up my hard drive space in Windows 10? I hope someone can answer this question and preferably tell me how to fix it."
As described in the case above, having a full hard drive is definitely a problem that should be taken seriously. In addition to slowing down your computer, it can also lead to the inability to download files. Windows system updates fail. The computer keeps restarting. Files and applications opening slower. Frequent pop-up messages from applications that don't work properly, and other problems. So, how can we fix a situation where the hard disk space is full? First of all, we need to determine the actual situation of the occupied hard disk space.
How can I see what's taking up space on my hard drive in Windows 10?
How do I know what is taking up disk space on Windows 10? You need to let the hidden files in your hard drive show up first, and then check the space usage of the selected drive.
Show hidden files
Use Windows + E to open Windows Explorer, select the disk you want to show hidden files on, switch to the View tab at the top, then check the Hidden items checkbox.
See how much space is actually taken up on your hard drive in Windows 10
Use Windows + I to open Windows Settings, tap System, and select Storage in the left panel to view the storage space usage of all hard disks in your computer. Select the disk with the least space left on it to see how much space is occupied by different types of content on that disk. What is using my disk space? You can also use the above method to view it.
14 Ways to Free Up Disk Space on Windows 10
You can follow these 14 ways to fix low disk space in Windows 10 to free up more storage space.
- Emptying the Recycle Bin
- Performing Windows Disk Cleanup
- Uninstall unwanted applications
- Clear browsing data
- Clean up files with Storage Space Aware
- Free up space with the OneDrive Files on Demand feature
- Transfer local files to an external drive or to the cloud
- Use NTFS to compress file cases to free up space
- Disable hibernation
- Compressing Windows 10 usage space with Compact OS
- Rebuilding the search index
- Remove users who are no longer sharing devices
- Disable Reserved Storage on Windows 10
- Synchronize files to another disk - AOMEI Backupper Standard
Method 1. emptying the Recycle Bin
The files you delete are temporarily stored in the Recycle Bin, which is a great setting that allows you to easily retrieve mistakenly deleted files. However, these files temporarily stored in the Recycle Bin still take up space on your computer, so when you want to free up space on your computer's hard drive, the first thing you need to do is empty the Recycle Bin.
- Find and open Recycle Bin on your desktop and use Ctrl + A to select all files and folders.
- Right-click on any of these files or folders and select Delete in the expanded menu.
- Tap Yes in the pop-up window to confirm the permanent deletion.
Method 2. Perform Windows Disk Cleanup
Disk Cleanup is a tool in Windows 10 that is mainly used to clean up temporary files and other unimportant data in a specific disk to help you free up disk space. Here we take the local disk (C:) as an example and introduce the detailed steps to do it.
- Use Windows+E to open Windows Explorer and select the disk you want to clean up.
- Right-click it and select Properties in the expanded menu.
- Switch to the General tab and tap on the Disk Cleanup button.
- In the Disk Cleanup window, select the files you want to delete, such as Download Program Files, Windows error reports and feedback, DirectX Shader Cach, etc and tap the OK button at the bottom.
Note: You can also clean up more system files by tapping the Clean up system files button at the bottom left.
Method 3. Uninstall unwanted applications
A great way to free up disk space is to uninstall applications that are rarely used or no longer needed, including previously downloaded games, etc.
- Use Windows + I to open Windows Settings, find and tap Apps.
- In the Apps & features list, check the apps you no longer need or rarely use, tap the Uninstall button, and tap the Uninstall button again in the confirmation pop-up.
Note: If you want to free up further storage space on your computer, you can uninstall unwanted language packs in Time & Language, uninstall offline maps in Applications, and uninstall optional features in Applications & Features.
Method 4. Clear browsing data
Whether you are using the built-in Windows Edge browser or the popular Google Chrome, you are bound to accumulate browsing data after a long period of use, causing the browser to take up more and more storage space. Therefore, you need to open each of these popular browsers and clear the browsing data in them. The next steps are based on Google Chrome for example.
- Find and open Google Chrome and tap the ⋮ icon in the upper right corner.
- In the expanded menu, select Settings.
- Select Privacy and security from the menu on the left.
- Under Privacy and security, find and tap Clear browsing data.
- Set the Time range to All time, check the Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, Cached images and files checkbox, and then click the Clear data button in the bottom right corner.
Method 5. Clean up files using Storage Space
Storage Space Aware is a feature in Windows 10 that helps you quickly clean your computer of junk files, which include installation files and temporary files from Windows upgrades. Turning on Storage Space Aware helps to free up computer storage space for installing additional applications.
- Use Windows + I to open Windows Settings, find and tap System.
- Switch to the Storage tab in the left panel and tap on the Configure Storage Sense or run it now button in the right panel.
- Turn on Storage Sense and select the most appropriate option from the Run Storage Sense drop-down menu, including Every day, Every week, Every month and During low free disk space.
When your computer is running low on storage space, you can find Free up space now at the bottom and tap Clean now.
Note: You can also set how long you want to keep temporary files and set how long OneDrive is accessible online in the Set or Execute Now Storage Space Sense window.
Method 6. Use the OneDrive File On Demand feature
OneDrive is an application built into Windows 10 that allows you to store files to the cloud to save computer storage space. You can turn on the OneDrive Files on Demand feature to free up computer storage space, in addition to converting locally available files on your computer for online use to further save storage space.
Turn on the document-on-demand feature
1. find the OneDrive icon in the notification area on the right side of the taskbar, click to open it, and
2. Tap Help and Settings and select Settings from the expanded menu.
3. At the top of the Microsoft OneDrive window, switch to the Settings tab.
Under Files On Demand, check the Save space and download files as you use them checkbox, and then click the OK button.
Convert local files to be available online
- Use Windows + E to open Windows Explorer and tap on OneDrive in the left panel.
- Locate and check the locally available files. This can be determined by the icon in the status bar table, where the blue cloud means the file is available online only, and the green tick means the file is available locally.
- Select Free up space in the expanded menu.
Method 7. transferring local files to an external hard drive or the cloud
If you have an external hard drive, you can choose to save computer storage space by transferring some of your computer's files to the external drive. In addition, you can also choose to save some of your local files to the cloud (OneDrive), again saving computer storage space.
Transferring to an external drive
- Insert the external drive and make sure the computer recognizes it correctly.
- Use Windows + E to open Windows Explorer and open the disk you want to free up space on.
- Select the local file you want to transfer, right-click on it, and select Copy from the expanded menu.
- Navigate to the external drive, right-click on a blank area, select Paste in the expanded menu, and wait for this process to complete.
Moving to the cloud (OneDrive)
Open the disk you want to free up space on and select the local files you want to transfer, then transfer the files to OneDrive by copying and pasting them as described above, and then set those transferred files to be available online.
Method 8: Use NTFS to compress the file
The New Technology File System (NTFS) is one of the main file systems of Windows, which effectively reduces the size of space occupied by files and ensures that they are properly accessible. In addition, this feature can be used to compress file cases. folder or the entire disk.
Note: Using the NTFS compressed file case will dynamically compress and decompress data, which may negatively affect system performance, and it is recommended that you use this feature when you have powerful computer hardware.
- Open Windows Explorer and find the folder you want to compress.
- Right-click it and select Properties in the expanded menu.
- Switch to the General tab and tap the Advanced button.
- In the Compress or Encrypt attributes section, check the Compress contents to save disk space checkbox, and then click the OK button.
Method 9. disable hibernation
Hibernation is a feature in Windows that saves the current computer state to a specific folder so that when the computer is woken up, it can continue from where it was last interrupted. This feature is convenient, but it can also cause specific hiberfil.sys files to take up more space if used for a long time. For this reason, you can disable the hibernate feature to free up storage space when your computer is running low on space.
- Use Windows+S to open the search box, type cmd and select Run as administrator.
- In the Command Prompt window, type powercfg /hibernate off and press Enter to execute this command.
Method 10. Use Compact OS to compress the space used by Windows 10
Compact OS is a tool in Windows 10 that effectively compresses the space used by Windows 10 to help save space on your computer.
Note: Any modification of system files is risky and may cause irreversible damage to your computer if done improperly. Therefore, before starting this method, it is recommended to perform a system backup.
1. Use Windows+S to open the search box, type cmd and select Run as administrator.
2. In the Command Prompt window, type compact.exe /compactOS:always and press Enter to execute this command, and wait for the process to complete.
Note: When you no longer need this feature, you can open the Command Prompt window as described above and type compact.exe /compactOS:never and press Enter to execute this command.
Method 11: Rebuilding the search index
Sometimes Windows search also has problems and causes the Windows search database to take up more space. For this reason, you need to rebuild the search index and save your computer storage space.
- Use Windows+I to open Windows Settings, find and tap the Search button.
- Switch to the Searching Windows tab in the left panel, find the More Search Indexer Settings section, and tap the Advanced Search Indexer Settings button.
- In the Indexing Options window, tap the Advanced button.
- In the Index Settings tab, find the Troubleshooting section, tap the Rebuild button, and tap OK in the confirmation pop-up.
Note: In addition, you can also minimize database space usage by preventing Windows from searching for specific locations in the index by clicking on the Modify button in the Indexing Options window, which also serves the purpose of saving computer storage space.
Method 12: Remove users who are no longer sharing devices
When you no longer need to share your device with other users, you can delete the previous users to save computer storage space.
- Open Windows Settings, find and tap Accounts.
- Switch to Other users in the left panel, select the account you no longer use in the right panel, and tap the Remove button.
- Tap the Delete account and data button in the pop-up window.
Method 13. Disable reserved storage on Windows 10
Windows has a reserved storage feature that automatically cleans up storage when new Windows updates are available to ensure that Windows systems are updated properly. Although this feature has some utility, it usually takes up several GB size of space. For this reason, you need to disable it.
Note: Disabling this feature may result in increased risk when updating Windows, so choose carefully.
- Right-click the Start button and select the Windows PowerShell (Run as administrator) option from the expanded menu.
- Type Get-WindowsReservedStorageState and press Enter to verify that the feature is enabled.
- If you confirm that it is enabled, enter Set-WindowsReservedStorageState -State disabled again and press Enter to disable the feature.
Method 14. Sync files to another disk - AOMEI Backupper Standard
In addition to the 13 methods mentioned above, you can use AOMEI Backupper Standard to solve the problem of having too many files on your disk. The basic synchronization feature in this software allows you to synchronize files to another disk in order to free up space on the source disk.
AOMEI Backupper Standard can provide you free and professional file synchronization service to synchronize files or folders on Windows 11/10/8.1/8/8/7/Vista/XP etc. to other disks in just a few simple steps to save space on a specific disk. Besides, you can also sync these files or folders to external hard drives. USB flash drive . NAS and other storage devices or on the cloud such as OneDrive. First, you need to download and install AOMEI Backupper Standard. If you are a Windows Server user, you can choose AOMEI Backupper Server.
Step 1. Open this freeware and click Sync > Basic Sync.
This software also provides other 3 sync features to meet your different needs. You can upgrade to the professional version or higher versions to enjoy You can upgrade to the professional version or higher versions to enjoy them if you need.
- Mirror Sync: It will keep the destination directory the same as the source directory and any additional files in the target folder will be deleted.
- Two-Way Sync: It will sync the changes in the source directory to the destination directory and vice versa.
- Real-Time Sync: As soon as the folder in the computer is changed it will immediately be synced to the destination.
Step 2. Click Add Folder to select the folders you want to sync. To add multiple folders, click the + icon repeatedly and add all the folders that need to be synced.
Step 3. Click the inverted triangle at the right edge of the second bar and choose a destination.
Step 4. Confirm your operations and click Start Sync.
- Options: You can write comments for your synced files to distinguish them or set up email notifications to tell you when the sync task has been completed.
- Schedule: It allows you to automatically sync your files, and you can set the fixed frequencies such as Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Event trigger/USB plug in. The last two are available in the professional version.
💛A safer way to transfer files:
If you don't want other people to change your files, you can choose to backup files to AOMEI Cloud with its Cloud Backup feature, which compress all the data into an image file. So no one can access it before restoring files from backup.
Besides, you can enjoy 1TB of free cloud storage in 15 days after you register an AOMEI account. And you don't need to install the cloud drive desktop application for file backup.
If you don't know what takes up my hard drive space in Windows 10, then you can learn how to check your hard drive space through this article and use the 18 methods mentioned above in order to save computer storage space. If you can accept third-party software, we recommend using AOMEI Backupper Standard for file syncing to sync excess files to other hard drives, which can also serve to save hard drive space.
Whether you are using Windows 10 or other Windows versions, you can easily synchronize files with AOMEI Backupper Standard. Besides, the software can also meet your needs for Disk Clone, Partition Clone, System Backup, Disk Backup, etc. You can download this software to explore more functions.