Hard drive full? Here’s how to save space in Windows 10

Instead of the large-but-slow mechanical hard disk drives of yesteryear, many laptop users have solid state drives (SSDs) and internal eMMC storage units that often cap out at 256GB and can go as low as 32GB. With those kinds of space constraints, it’s easy to boot up one day and find out that your C drive is completely (or very nearly) full.  Fortunately, if you have Windows 10, there are several steps you can take to clear out unnecessary files and free up much-needed disk space.

Search for large, unnecessary files

You may have files hiding in the depths of your storage drive that you don’t need, but which are taking up huge amounts of space. These could be log files, temporary files or installation apps for programs you’ve already installed. Here’s how to find your largest files.

1. Open File Explorer (aka Windows Explorer).

2. Select “This PC” in the left pane so you can search your whole computer. If you only want to look at your C drive, select the C drive instead.

3. Type “size: ” into the search box and select Gigantic.

You may have to wait a few minutes for File Explorer to search your whole drive. Wait until the green status bar finishes filling the top.

4. Select “details” from the View tab.

5. Click the Size column to sort by largest to smallest.

6. Look through your list of files and delete those you no longer need. If you’re in doubt about what a file does, leave it be or look it up. The last thing you want to do is break a program or erase important data. ISO files, Program installers and temp files are often things you can get rid of.

7. Navigate to the Downloads folder. It’s usually in your Quick Access toolbar.

8. Delete any downloads you no longer need. 

Use the Disk Cleanup app

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