Free up space on your hard drive via Windows 10 Settings

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To free up space on your Windows 10 hard disk, you can follow these updated steps:

1. Using External Storage Devices

External storage devices provide an easy way to free up space on your computer’s hard disk. Follow these steps to move files to an external device:

  1. Connect the Device: Plug in your USB drive or SD card to your PC.
  2. Open File Explorer: Click on the File Explorer icon on the taskbar.
  3. Select Files: Navigate to the folder containing the files you wish to move.
  4. Transfer Files:
    1. Select the files you want to move.
    2. Right-click and choose ‘Cut’ from the context menu.
    3. Navigate to your external device in File Explorer.
    4. Right-click and select ‘Paste’ to move the files.
  5. Verify Transfer: Ensure all files have been successfully transferred to the external device.

2. Changing Default Save Locations

To prevent your primary drive from filling up, you can set new files to automatically save to another drive with more free space:

  1. Access Storage Settings: Click on Start, then go to Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Advanced Storage Settings: Select ‘Advanced storage settings’ and then ‘Where new content is saved’.
  3. Set New Locations: For each type of content (apps, documents, music, photos, etc.), choose a different drive from the drop-down menu.
  4. Confirm Changes: Make sure the changes are saved correctly.

3. Enabling OneDrive Files On-Demand

OneDrive Files On-Demand helps save space on your hard disk by keeping smaller placeholder files on your PC and storing the full-size files in the cloud:

  1. Open OneDrive Settings: Right-click on the OneDrive icon in the system tray and select ‘Settings’.
  2. Enable Files On-Demand: In the Settings tab, check the box next to ‘Save space and download files as you use them’ under the Files On-Demand section.
  3. Apply Changes: Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.
  4. Access Files: Your files will appear in File Explorer and can be accessed anytime, even though they are not fully downloaded to your device.

4. Running Antivirus Software

Viruses and malware can use up significant hard disk space. Regularly running antivirus software can help identify and remove such unwanted files:

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  1. Open Antivirus Software: Launch your antivirus program. If you don’t have one, Windows Security is a built-in option.
  2. Run a Scan: Select the option to perform a full system scan to check for viruses and malware.
  3. Review and Clean: After the scan, review the findings and clean or quarantine any detected threats.
  4. Regular Checks: Set up regular scans in the antivirus software settings to ensure ongoing protection.

5. Using Storage Sense

Storage Sense is a feature in Windows 10 that automatically frees up disk space:

  1. Activate Storage Sense: Go to Start > Settings > System > Storage. Toggle on ‘Storage Sense’.
  2. Configure Settings: Click on ‘Configure Storage Sense or run it now’.
  3. Choose Automatic Cleanup Options: Set preferences for how often to clean temporary files and unused content.
  4. Manual Cleanup: For immediate cleanup, scroll down to ‘Free up space now’ and select ‘Clean now’.

6. Uninstalling Unused Apps

Removing applications that you no longer use can free up a significant amount of space:

  1. Access Apps Settings: Open Start, then go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features.
  2. Identify Unnecessary Apps: Sort the apps by size to see which ones are taking up the most space.
  3. Select and Uninstall:
    1. Find an app you want to remove.
    2. Click on the app to reveal the ‘Uninstall’ button.
    3. Click ‘Uninstall’ and follow any additional prompts to complete the process.
  4. Confirm Removal: Ensure that the apps have been completely removed from the system.

7. Regularly Emptying the Recycle Bin

Deleted files are not completely removed from your hard disk until the Recycle Bin is emptied:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin: Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop.
  2. Review Files: Look through the files to ensure there’s nothing you want to keep.
  3. Empty the Recycle Bin: Right-click within the Recycle Bin window and choose ‘Empty Recycle Bin’.
  4. Confirm Deletion: Click ‘Yes’ to confirm that you want to permanently delete the files.

8. Managing Windows Updates

Windows updates can require additional disk space. Managing these updates efficiently can help in freeing up space:

  1. Check for Updates: Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
  2. View Update Requirements: Examine the disk space requirements for any pending updates.
  3. Free up Space for Updates: If necessary, use the previously mentioned methods to make space for updates.
  4. Optional Features and Languages:
    1. Remove unneeded optional features by going to Start > Settings > Apps > Optional features.
    2. Uninstall languages you don’t use via Start > Settings > Time & language > Language & region.
  5. Perform the Update: Follow the prompts to download and install updates.
  6. Post-Update Cleanup: After updating, use Storage Sense to remove old versions and temporary files.


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