How to Free Up Disk Space

You’re at your computer getting ready to copy your vacation photos or download the latest game off Steam, and the dreaded Disk Space too Low error pops up. What can you do to free up some space? What can you safely delete and what should be left alone? Follow our simple guide, so you spend less time cleaning, and more time using your computer.

CCleaner

CCleaner is the most trusted programs for junk file removal and freeing up space on your hard drive. It’s been actively developed for over 15 years and has over 2.5 Billion downloads. For Personal use, it’s completely free!

It can be downloaded from https://www.ccleaner.com/

Download and run the installer.

On the cleaner tab, check the options under Advanced to save as much space as possible. Then click Analyze to see what files CCleaner will delete. Finally, click Run Cleaner.

ccleaner

Click Continue on the confirmation pop-up.

continue confirmation

Another great tool offered by CCleaner is the Disk Analyzer. Go to the Tools menu then Disk Analyzer. Select the categories you want to look for and click Analyze.

tools menu

CCleaner will then look through all the files on your hard drive. This is a fast way to locate large files that may be taking up space on your computer.

disk analyzer

Windows Storage Sense

Microsoft includes a new tool to remove temporary files in Windows 10 1709 and higher. Open the modern Settings app then go to System and then Storage. In the storage, menu click Free up space now.

storage menu

Windows will then find temporary files to remove. This will get rid of files that were downloaded due to Windows update. After checking the boxes on the file types, you want to click Remove files.

remove files

Disk Cleanup Wizard

Microsoft’s classic tool for removing old files has always been the Disk Cleanup wizard. It may be removed in a future version of Windows 10 though.

Open the start menu and scroll down to Windows Administrative Tools, right-click Disk Cleanup, select More, and then click Run as administrator. Click OK for the drive you want to clean.

disk analyzer run as administrator

If you don’t click Run as administrator, Disk Cleanup will not be able to remove many system level files. In this example on the same computer running as administrator found 20 Gb more files to remove. Click OK after checking the file types you want to clean up.

disk analyzer not and run as administrator

WinDirStat

WinDirStat is a powerful tool that can be used to visualize all the files on your computer hard drive. This is the most complete way to see what file types or folders are taking up the most room on your computer. But beware, it can be easy to delete important system files or break programs if you delete files without knowing what they do.

WinDirStat can be downloaded from links on their official website https://windirstat.net. After downloading and installing it, when you run WinDirStat it asks which drive to scan. Select your drive and click OK. Give it some time as it analyzes every file on your computer.

When it’s done, you will be presented with a screen like the one below. Use the visual guide to find large files and folders taking up space on your hard drive. Or use the file type or folder breakdown to locate what is taking most of your room.

Since it doesn’t differentiate between system and user files, it’s easy to see just how large your photos or download folders are.

WinDirStat

Upgrade Your Storage

If you’ve followed our guide and still can’t free up enough space, don’t fret! It’s never been easier or cheaper to upgrade your computer hard drive with one that has more room. Many consumer SSD brands will come with free software that can be used to move everything to your new hard drive.

If upgrading your internal hard drive isn’t an option, external hard drives are another excellent option to store music, videos, and pictures. This will save space on your faster internal drive for programs and games.