How do I free up disk space on Windows 10?

Running out of storage space is a common issue for Windows 10 users. Over time, your hard drive fills up with files, programs, and media that take up precious gigabytes. When your disk space is low, your PC’s performance slows down. Thankfully, Windows 10 includes tools to analyze disk usage and free up space.

Why is my C drive running out of space?

There are several reasons why your C drive may be running out of room:

  • Downloading and installing new programs
  • Saving files such as documents, photos, videos, and music
  • Windows updates which contain new system files
  • Cached temporary files from apps and web browsers
  • Restore points created by Windows Backup

Over time, all these files accumulate and occupy storage space on your main C drive. If left unchecked, you may completely run out of free space.

How can I see what’s taking up space on my C drive?

To see what’s using disk space on your C drive:

  1. Open File Explorer from the taskbar.
  2. Click on This PC from the left sidebar.
  3. Under the Devices and Drives section, right-click on your C drive.
  4. Select Properties from the pop-up menu.
  5. Switch to the General tab.

This displays a disk usage graph and breakdown of space usage by type of file. It helps identify categories to focus your cleanup efforts.

How do I uninstall programs to free up disk space?

Uninstalling unused programs is an easy way to regain several gigabytes of disk space. Here’s how to remove programs in Windows 10:

  1. Open Settings and go to Apps > Apps & features.
  2. Scroll through the list of installed programs.
  3. Click on any apps you no longer use.
  4. Select Uninstall and confirm removal.
  5. Repeat for other programs that are no longer needed.

Some useful tips when uninstalling programs:

  • Sort programs by size to identify space hogs.
  • Check if an app has related bundled software to remove.
  • Consult Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel for older installed apps.

How do I delete temporary files?

Temporary files are created by apps and web browsers during everyday usage. Here’s how to delete temp files:

  1. Open Storage Sense in Settings app > System > Storage.
  2. Click on Temporary files option.
  3. Click Remove files button to clear all temp files.
  4. Enable Storage Sense to automatically delete temp files periodically.

You can also manually delete temp files:

  • Clear browser caches from settings in Chrome, Firefox, Edge.
  • Go to C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp folder and delete all contents.
  • Search for *.tmp and *.temp files on your drive and delete.

How can I remove Windows update files?

Windows Update downloads and installs system updates, patches, and fixes to your PC. But it leaves behind many gigabytes of outdated update installation files. To remove them:

  1. Go to Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Click on ‘Free up space now’ below the drive graph.
  3. Toggle ‘Windows Update cleanup’ to On.
  4. Click Remove files button to clear update installer files.

This will clear update files your PC no longer needs while retaining the most recent updates. Repeat periodically to regain space.

What disk cleanup tools are included in Windows?

Windows 10 provides built-in disk cleanup utilities to free up space:

  • Disk Cleanup – deletes temporary files, empties Recycle Bin, cleans up system files.
  • Storage Sense – automatically frees up space by deleting temporary files and files in Recycle Bin based on your settings.
  • Windows Update Cleanup – removes outdated Windows Update installation files.

Run Disk Cleanup manually or enable Storage Sense for automatic cleanup. Also use Windows Update Cleanup periodically.

How do I use Disk Cleanup?

To use Disk Cleanup to delete unnecessary files:

  1. Search for Disk Cleanup from the Start Menu and launch it.
  2. Select the drive you want to clean up (typically C:).
  3. Disk Cleanup scans the drive.
  4. Check boxes to select file types to delete.
  5. Click OK and then Delete Files button to remove selected items.

Be sure to select temporary files, Recycle Bin files, system files, and other file types suggested by Disk Cleanup. Repeat every few months.

Can I move files to another drive to free up space?

If your C drive is running out of room, you can transfer files to another drive with free space like an external USB drive or SD card. Some files that can be moved include:

  • Documents, photos, music, and other personal files.
  • Videos and large programs if installed on another drive.
  • Pagefile.sys and Hibernation file (hiberfil.sys) if not system managed.

Use File Explorer to select, cut and paste files to the new drive. Adjust Save locations in Settings for files like Documents and Pictures to save them directly to the new drive.

Should I disable Hibernation and Sleep to free up space?

Windows uses some space on your main drive for the Hibernation file (hiberfil.sys) and Sleep file (pagefile.sys). To disable Hibernation and Sleep:

  1. Open Command Prompt as Administrator.
  2. Enter powercfg -h off to disable Hibernation.
  3. Go to Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings.
  4. Under Performance, click Settings.
  5. Go to Advanced tab and disable automatically managing page file size.
  6. Set both Initial and Maximum size to ‘No paging file’ and click Set. Reboot PC.

This will remove the space reserved for Hibernation and Sleep, but your PC will no longer Hibernate. Only disable if you don’t need these features.

Can System Restore free up space?

Windows creates restore points before installing updates or drivers. These contain copies of system files and can consume many GBs over time. To adjust System Restore space:

  1. Right-click This PC > Properties > System protection.
  2. Select drive and click Configure.
  3. Lower Max Usage to 1-5% or disable System Restore completely.

Disabling System Restore will delete all restore points and free up space. But you will no longer be able to restore your PC to previous state.

How can I delete Windows.old folder?

When you upgrade from an older Windows version, the installation files are saved in a Windows.old folder. This contains your old user files and system files from the previous OS. To remove:

  1. Go to This PC > Local Disk C: > Windows.old.
  2. Select all files and folders inside and delete.

Make sure you no longer need to restore back to the previous Windows version before deleting this sizable folder.

Should I remove Recovery Partition?

Some PCs come with a Recovery Partition or Recovery Drive which contains system image files to reset your PC to factory default state. To reclaim this space:

  1. Go to Control Panel > Recovery > Configure System Restore.
  2. Select recovery drive and click Configure.
  3. Disable system protection on recovery drive to delete files.

However, disabling the Recovery Partition will remove your capability to easily perform a factory reset of your PC. Only disable if you have created recovery media separately.

How can I uninstall OneDrive?

OneDrive cloud storage integrates with Windows and sets aside space on your PC. To remove:

  1. Right-click OneDrive icon in system tray and select Settings.
  2. Click Uninstall from Account tab.
  3. Select Remove folders section and click Uninstall.
  4. Restart your computer.

This will uninstall OneDrive and delete the sync folders freeing up reserved space. Make sure to backup your cloud files first.

How do I delete restore points in System Protection?

Windows automatically creates restore points before major system changes in case you need to roll back. To delete old restore points:

  1. Go to Control Panel > System Protection.
  2. Click Configure under System Protection tab.
  3. Select the drive and click Configure.
  4. Click Delete button to remove old restore points.

It’s generally safe to delete restore points that are weeks or months old to regain several gigabytes of space.

Can I move the Users folder to another drive?

The Users folder contains the user profile and files for each account on your PC. To move it:

  1. Create a new Users folder on your secondary drive.
  2. Go to Settings > System > Storage and enable Show hidden files.
  3. Open File Explorer and go to This PC > Local Disk C: > Users.
  4. Select all folders except Public and cut.
  5. Paste them into the new Users folder on the second drive.

Moving the Users folder provides more room for apps and files on the C drive. But it can slow down loading your user profile at login.

Should I shrink or expand my partitions?

Using the Disk Management utility, you can resize partitions to give your C drive more space:

  1. Search for Create and format hard disk partitions.
  2. Right-click the partition you want to shrink and select Shrink Volume.
  3. Enter amount of space to shrink and click Shrink.
  4. Right-click unallocated space and select Extend Volume.
  5. Choose C drive partition and click Extend to add the free space.

Shrinking another partition and extending the C drive lets you redistribute disk space without losing files. Backup before resizing partitions.

How can I delete old system restore points in Command Prompt?

You can use the Windows vssadmin command to delete old system restore points from the command line:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Run vssadmin list shadowstorage to list restore points.
  3. Then run vssadmin delete shadows /for={drive} /oldest to remove oldest restore point.
  4. Repeat the delete command to remove additional old restore points.

This allows you to batch delete restore points and reclaim space without using the GUI. Be sure not to remove recent restore points you may need.

What third party tools can cleanup disk space?

Some good third party tools to free up disk space on Windows 10 include:

  • Wise Disk Cleaner – Cleans temporary files, system files, browser caches, old Windows updates, and unwanted apps.
  • CCleaner – Removes junk files, unused registry entries, browser caches, and traces of online activities.
  • IObit Advanced SystemCare – Comprehensive cleanup utility for temp files, broken shortcuts, old updates, and clutters.
  • BleachBit – Open source disk space cleaner that frees up space from temporary files, caches, and unused memory.

Be cautious when using third party cleanup tools and back up important files first. Review what the tools will delete before applying changes.

How can I find and delete large files?

You can use Windows File Explorer tools to find and remove large files that are taking up excessive drive space:

  1. Open File Explorer and go to This PC.
  2. Click on the View tab and enable ‘Item check boxes’.
  3. Click the View button and enable ‘Details pane’.
  4. Click the Size column header to sort files by descending size.
  5. Browse folders and subfolders to locate huge files.
  6. Select unwanted large files and hit Delete to remove.

Repeat this process to drill down and eliminate the biggest space hog files on your drives.

What command line tools can free disk space?

You can use the following command line utilities in Command Prompt to analyze disk space usage and clean up unwanted files:

  • DIR – Displays files sizes to see large files using dir /s /o:-s.
  • TreeSize – Scans and lists folder sizes to identity large folders.
  • Robocopy – Copies files to another drive with /MOVE option to move instead.
  • DEL and Erase – Removes specific files and folders.
  • DiskPart – Allows resizing, creating and deleting partitions.

Run Command Prompt as Administrator. Be cautious when deleting files with these powerful commands.


Running low on disk space can really slow down your Windows 10 PC. Thankfully there are many ways to analyze disk usage and clean out unnecessary clutter hogging your precious gigabytes. Use Windows’ own storage management tools like Disk Cleanup regularly. Uninstall unused programs, delete temporary files, move data to another drive, shrink partitions and disable hibernate file. With a good disk space maintenance routine, you can reclaim lost storage capacity and keep your PC running smoothly.