How to Free Up Space on Windows 10 (with Photos)

Windows 10 logo on a laptop screen

How to Free Up Space on Windows 10 (with Photos)

Having sufficient free disk space is important to ensure your computer runs properly. But, critical space quickly gets eaten up by downloads and unnecessary files.

Fortunately, it is very easy to free up space on Windows 10. With the steps below, you can quickly delete unnecessary files and reclaim your computer’s memory.

Not only is it frustrating to run out of drive space, but it can also put your computer at risk of getting viruses as well as slowing it down. Running out of disk space means that your computer will not be able to complete updates which are critical for its continued operation. Plus, the more memory that is taken up, the slower your computer will run.

Let’s get right into the super simple steps to free up space on Windows 10.

Step 1: Go to the Start Menu.

The first step to freeing up space on Windows 10 is to click on the Windows icon to open the Start menu.

free up space windows 10
Click on the Windows icon to open the Start menu.

Step 2: Select Settings.

Once the Start menu is open, you need to click on the gear icon, which is on the left side. The Settings menu will open in a new window.

free up space windows 10
Click the gear icon to open the Settings menu.

Step 3: Select System.

Now that the Settings menu is open, click System, which should be the first option on the top left.

free up space windows 10
Select System, and look for the Storage option on the panel to the left (this is step 4).

Step 4: Select Storage.

The next page will typically default to display settings, but you need to find the Storage option in the column on the left.

Step 5: Enable Storage Sense.

Once on the storage page, you can select to enable Storage Sense by switching the toggle switch to On. You can also find more information about how you are using your storage on this page.

You can also search for Storage Sense by clicking the link under the toggle switch. There is a Run Now button on the next page that will manually start the cleanup process.

free up space windows 10
From Storage, toggle Storage Sense to On.

Check out the video below which walks you through the process of enabling Storage Sense.

Manually Uninstall Apps

While Storage Sense does a good job of clearing away unused data and temporary files, it will not get rid of applications that you no longer use. Applications and software are a major problem for computer storage because they take up a lot of space, especially when compared to documents or most files.

The easiest way to uninstall apps manually is it go to the search bar on Windows 10 and type in Add or Remove Programs. A choice with that name will appear, which you must click on. A settings menu will open that should display all the currently installed applications on your computer.

There are multiple ways to navigate through this list if it feels overwhelmingly long. The easiest way is to sort the list based on the installation date or file size. However, if you know what you would like to delete, you may also choose to sort the list by alphabetizing it or use the search option found in the middle of the page.

Once you find a program to uninstall, simply click on it, and the option to uninstall or modify it will appear below. Next, click the Uninstall button, and it will run the program’s uninstaller. Do this for as many programs as you would like or until you have enough space available for your needs.

Using this method to manually delete programs is the easiest and most effective way to remove all the files associated with the software. Although, some files, such as saved data, may remain on the computer. To delete those files, you will have to find their location to remove them. However, it could be very time-consuming if you intend to delete a lot of programs.

Relocate or Remove Files

Uninstalling unused applications is a great way to free up space on Windows 10. But, another massive use of space can be with everyday files. Files downloaded from the internet, documents, pictures, and especially videos can eat up large amounts of space on your computer without you even realizing it.

Fortunately, deleting these is much quicker and easier than deleting applications. You can also relocate them to another storage device, such as a flash drive or external hard drive, in case you need them later. Another option is to use cloud storage such as Microsoft OneDrive to store your files off of your computer.

Whether you plan to remove your files or safely relocate them to access later, the process is essentially the same.

The first thing you need to do is to locate the files. To do this, open Windows File Explorer, which is the folder icon on the taskbar. From there, navigate to the appropriate folder where the files you wish to move are at.

You can easily click and drag files and folders to another storage device or highlight them and press the Delete button to permanently remove them from your computer. Some files may be harder to find, but you should consider targeting the largest ones first to free up the most space.

The largest files tend to be video files, so you should check your video folder. Another section to check is the downloads folder which holds onto all of your downloaded files until you move or delete them. If there are programs that you’ve already installed in the download folder, go ahead and delete them since the files are no longer in use.

Once you are done relocating and deleting files, there’s one more step to take. Deleted files and folders from your computer do not automatically go away. Instead, you must go to the recycle bin and empty it. To empty the recycle bin, right-click on its icon on your desktop and select Empty Recycle Bin.


No matter how much space your computer has, it always seems to fill up. This is partly because things are always getting added to it, such as operating system updates, which take up additional space. Therefore, it is a good idea to occasionally clean out your computer by deleting old files and removing unused applications.

Another great way to manage your computer’s memory usage is to keep Smart Storage enabled. It will automatically delete temporary files such as cache and operating system updates. You can also balance your computer’s storage use by connecting an external storage device such as a portable hard drive or a flash drive.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much space do I need on Windows 10?

Once the operating system is installed, you should keep 15 to 25 GB available at all times to prevent any problems. You can get away with significantly less space in most cases, but this will give you ample room to download or move files around when needed.

Can I delete everything on my computer?

It is possible to delete everything from your computer by completing a factory restore and choose to remove everything or just keep your files.

Should I get another computer if I run out of space?

No, unless your computer is old and not functioning properly, you should consider upgrading your hard drive or using external storage before replacing the computer.

Can I add another storage device to my computer?

Some computers allow you to add an extra hard drive. Even some large laptops have room for a secondary drive. If your computer doesn’t have room, you can always use an external device such as a flash drive.

Should I upgrade my hard drive?

Upgrading a hard drive on an older computer is actually a good idea because you can add a larger one for more memory and also a faster one, like a solid-state drive.

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