A storage device that is full is significantly slower compared to one with free disk space. Furthermore, if the storage device containing the operating system is full, the entire system can become laggy. To avoid this, it’s best that you free up disk space regularly.
Your system may contain numerous applications and files. The initial step is to review and delete unnecessary items. If you have already performed this task and the disk space is still unavailable, you need to check if temporary OS files, the page file, and the restore points are causing the issue.
Table of Contents
Review and Delete Installed Application
Let’s first start with the easiest one—deleting unnecessary applications. Here’re the steps to uninstall the unused applications.
- Press the Windows + R key.
- In the Run window, type
appwiz.cpland press Enter.
- Here, check the application name and its size. If you see any application that you do not need that is taking up huge storage space, click on it and press Uninstall.
- Now, follow the application removal steps.
Sometimes, Programs and features may not display all the applications installed on your PC. So, I recommend that you double-check the application installed using Windows Settings.
- Press Windows + I key.
- Once the Setting window opens, navigate to Apps > Installed Apps.
- Again, check if you have missed any unnecessary applications.
- If you missed any application, click on the three-dotted horizontal icons and click on Uninstall.
- Now, follow the prompts.
Delete Unnecessary Files
Besides the application, unused files and folders may also take up huge storage space. So deleting them is the best course of action.
However, simply reviewing and deleting them can be quite tedious as you need to view each folder size and delete them. Instead of that, you can use a free and open-source application named WinDirStat.
WinDirStat displays a visual representation of the size of each file stored on your PC. Using this, you can review your storage space and delete unnecessary files.
- First, download WinDirStat.
- Install and Run the application as Administrator.
- Select All Local Drives, click OK, and wait for the application to read the file sizes.
- You should see a visual representation of all the files and their sizes. Each color represents a folder.
- A larger rectangle means that its respective file is taking up a huge space.
- Click on a large rectangle.
- Above, you should see the file representing this rectangle.
- Right-click and select Copy path.
- Paste the path in file explorer to review these files.
- If the file is unnecessary, it is best that you delete them.
Clean Temporary Files
Small chunks of temporary files, after a certain time, will start to accumulate and hog a lot of storage space. If you are using WinDirStat to locate and delete files, these files may go unnoticed. But, deleting these files could free up a large amount of storage space.
To delete these files, you can perform a Disk Cleanup.
- Press Windows + R.
- In the Run dialog box, type
cleanmgrand press Enter.
- Once the Disk Cleanup window opens, select the drive and click on OK.
- Here, check Downloaded program files, Temporary Internet Files, Delivery Optimization Files, Recycle Bin, Temporary files, and Thumbnails.
- Click on OK and select Delete files.
- Again, open Disk Cleanup and select the drive.
- Click on Cleanup system files.
- Again, select the drive and click OK.
- Once the scanning process completes, check all the options except the System Recovery log files.
- Click on OK, then select Delete files.
Once you have performed Disk Cleanup, you can also delete temporary system files from the C drive.
- Open Run, type
temp, and press Enter.
- Press Ctrl + A and press Shift + Delete to permanently delete temporary files.
- Click Yes when it asks for confirmation.
- Check Do this for all current items and click on Continue.
- If the message pops up that says a file is open in an application, check Do this for all current items and click on Skip.
- Again open Run, type
%temp%, and press Enter.
- Again, permanently delete all files here as well.
These temp folders will again fill up, taking up huge disk space. So, I recommend that you clean up your Temp files every couple of months.
By compressing a file, the actual file size will decrease. If deleting a file/folder is not a viable option for you, you can try compressing the files to free disk space.
To compress a file/folder, follow these steps.
- Right-click on the folder.
- Select Compress to ZIP files.
- The selected file will now compress in the same folder location. The archive process may take longer if the folder is large.
Disable/Lower Page File
If you are low on storage space, it is possible that the page file is taking up a significant amount of storage space. I do not recommend disabling page files if your system constantly runs out of physical memory.
To disable the Page file,
- Open Run, type
sysdm.cpl, and press Enter.
- Once the System Properties Window pops up, click on the Advanced tab.
- Under Performance, click on Settings.
- Again click on Advanced and click on Change.
- Select the drive and check the No Paging file option.
- Click on Set.
- Similarly, disable the paging file for all your drives.
- Click on OK.
- Again, in the Performance Options dialog box, click on OK.
If disabling the page file is not an option, you can try lowering its size. When lowering, you need to make sure that the page file size is at least 1.5 times the physical memory on your PC. Setting a low page file can even make the system malfunction and crash.
Lower System Restore Disk Space
A restore point can take up a lot of primary hard drive space. And if you have a disk with a lower storage capacity, even a small percentage can take up a huge amount of storage.
To lower your system restore disk space, follow these steps.
- Open System Properties.
- Go to the System Protection tab.
- Click on Configure.
- Under Disk Space Usage, set the Max Usage percentage such that it allocates 3-4GB for restore point.
- If the restore point already takes up huge storage space and you don’t need any, you can delete all your restore points.
- Once you delete, make sure that you create one restore point in case the system runs into any error.
Optimize Your Disk
Once you have cleaned your disk and have a good amount of free storage available, I recommend that you optimize/defragment the disk. When you defragment a disk, the OS reorganizes the files so that it can access them much more efficiently.
As optimizing is only intended for Hard Disk Drives, it is best that you do not defrag your SSD.
SSD has limited re-write capacity, and defragmenting a disk involves rewriting files to a new position. This will lower the SSD’s lifespan.
To defrag an HDD,
- Press Windows + E to open Windows Explorer.
- Click on This PC and right-click on the drive that you want to optimize.
- Click on Properties.
- Go to the Tools tab and click on Optimize.
- Make sure that the selected drive is Hard Disk Drive (HDD).
- Click on Optimize.