Windows 11 includes a new feature called Storage Sense that periodically scans your drives and attempts to fix any errors it finds. This can help improve performance and reliability. However, some users find the periodic scans annoying or unnecessary.
What is Storage Sense in Windows 11?
Storage Sense is a disk optimization feature in Windows 11. It runs in the background and does two main things:
- Scans your drives for errors and attempts to fix them.
- Removes temporary files and other unnecessary data to free up disk space.
By default, Storage Sense runs every week on Sundays at 1 AM. But you can customize when and how often it runs.
Why does Storage Sense scan and repair drives?
The scan and repair functions aim to:
- Proactively detect disk errors and fix them before they cause bigger problems.
- Optimize performance by fixing file system inconsistencies.
- Improve reliability by addressing early signs of disk failure.
In theory, letting Storage Sense run its weekly scans can help avoid issues caused by disk corruption or deterioration. But not everyone wants or needs this active disk management.
Should I turn off Storage Sense scans and repairs?
Here are some reasons you may want to disable Storage Sense:
- You have an SSD or high quality drive that doesn’t need proactive error scanning.
- You run your own disk maintenance with third-party tools.
- You don’t want background processes slowing down your computer.
- You find the scans annoying or too intrusive.
On the other hand, here are some reasons to keep it enabled:
- You have older HDDs that could develop errors.
- You don’t run any other disk maintenance.
- You want to be proactive against disk problems before they get worse.
- You don’t notice any meaningful performance impact from the scans.
In general, Storage Sense is more beneficial for systems with traditional hard disk drives. For high-quality SSDs, the benefits are less significant.
How to stop Storage Sense from scanning drives
If you want to turn off Storage Sense’s drive scans, here are a few options:
Disable the whole Storage Sense feature
The simplest way is to disable the entire Storage Sense feature:
- Open Settings > System > Storage.
- Under “Storage Sense,” toggle “Run Storage Sense” to Off.
This turns off drive scanning completely. But it also disables the other parts of Storage Sense like removing temporary files and Downloads folder cleanup.
Exclude specific drives from being scanned
If you only want to stop certain drives from being scanned, while keeping Storage Sense enabled:
- Go to Settings > System > Storage.
- Under “More storage settings,” select “Change how we free up space.”
- Expand the drive you want to exclude.
- Toggle “Storage Sense” to Off for that drive.
Repeat this for each drive you want to exclude from scans.
Delay Storage Sense scan timings
Another option is to keep Storage Sense enabled but delay when it runs:
- Go to Settings > System > Storage.
- Under “More storage settings,” select “Change how we free up space automatically.”
- Adjust the time and frequency that scans run. For example, change to once a month.
This keeps the feature on but reduces how often it scans your drives.
Use Group Policy Editor to disable Storage Sense
On Professional and Enterprise editions of Windows 11, you can use Group Policy Editor to turn off Storage Sense:
- Open the Start menu and search for “gpedit.msc.”
- Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Storage Sense.
- Double click “Run Storage Sense” and select “Disabled.”
- Click Apply and OK.
This completely disables Storage Sense using Group Policy.
Other ways to manage disk health
If you disable Storage Sense, consider using other utilities to periodically check disk health:
- Disk Check – The built-in Disk Check tool (chkdsk) scans drives and repairs errors.
- Third-party tools – Such as SpinRite, HD Tune, SeaTools, etc. Offer disk diagnostic and repair features.
- SMART monitoring – Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology monitors drive health attributes.
- Backup your data – Regular backups help protect against data loss from disk issues.
While not required, proactively checking disk health can help avoid problems down the road.
Storage Sense aims to improve system health by scanning for disk errors weekly. But some users may want to disable or delay these scans.
To stop Storage Sense from scanning drives you can:
- Fully disable the Storage Sense feature.
- Exclude specific drives from being scanned.
- Adjust the scan frequency to be less often.
- Use Group Policy Editor to turn off Storage Sense.
Consider periodically checking disk health through other means if you disable the scans. But for systems with quality SSDs, the Storage Sense scans are generally unnecessary.