How much space does Windows 10 take up?


I often get asked ‘How much space does Windows 10 take up?’ I would say about 11 – 15 GB for Windows 10 64-bit.

So why does Windows 10 take this much space? Let’s find out…

What is Windows 10?

Windows 10 is a personal computer operating system developed and released by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It was released on July 29, 2015. This new version incorporates additional features that were later added to the current “mainstream” build of Windows 10, including the Xbox app and windowed store apps which brings back the start menu from previous versions of windows.

Difference from Windows 7

In terms of storage space, Windows 10 can take up as much as almost twice as much as its predecessor, Windows 7. This is because a lot more features have been added to the new build of windows 10 that were not included in the original version of Windows 7. While this operating system takes up more memory space, it will actually perform faster and smoother than previous versions.

Many people are planning to upgrade their Windows 7 laptops and desktops to the latest version of Microsoft‘s OS, Windows 10. But due to the small storage space on entry-level machines, many users might feel worried about whether or not they can afford another gigabyte of space for this new operating system.

Talking about Windows 10 and its storage footprint, we should mention that the OS has seen a lot of size optimization ever since it was first revealed to public as “Windows Technical Preview”. Microsoft representatives have released some reports since then involving private builds’ sizes, claiming that the operating system’s installation image is as much as 35% smaller than before. This seems like a great progress but it does not answer our question – how much space will Windows 10 need once you install it anyway?

To help those who are worried about the storage capacity needed for a computer upgrade, we took upon ourselves to test which different editions of Windows 10 would fit on a 32 GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB SSD. Our tests showed that 128GB was definitely the sweet spot between performance and usability.


On your C drive you will see two partitions with drive letters; one is labelled System Reserved (100mb) and another one with normally no label visible (the actual disk space taken). So if you require more than 20GB storage then we recommend upgrading to a larger hard drive. If you would like more information on how much space does windows 10 take up please contact us below.

What if you decide not to update your storage?

There are two ways you could react when you bought a laptop with 32 GB of storage capacity: either taking advantage of some cloud services like Dropbox or Box, or simply getting rid of unnecessary files on your computer. If you decide to take the second approach, then this article is here to help you.

The installation process

According to Microsoft’s official site, this version of Windows needs 16 GB of free space for its installation. This includes both the OS itself and some other pre-installed apps like Solitaire Collection, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot install any other program on your PC after uninstalling them.

This means that if you have a 32 GB hard drive, we ask you to reconsider installing Windows 10 as only half of the stated capacity will be available for your use. However, if you are willing to do some compromising, there are several things you can do to make everything work smoothly.

Steps to recover some space for your Windows 10 install

1. The first thing is to delete all files from your computer before starting the installation process.

Windows 10 Setup might take up around 3 GB off your disk right after entering product key, but after the installation is done and you start using it, Windows 10 will get bloated with all kinds of updates and temporary files. Delete everything that can be deleted before starting the installation process.

2. If there are any programs that you don’t use, uninstall them as well

This includes games which usually take up more than 1 GB space on your hard drive. This way you’ll make some free space for installing Windows 10 and some more for your personal data (assuming of course that you like everything to stay where it belongs).

3. Install Windows 10 from scratch.

After uninstalling everything from your computer, when only a few hundred megabytes are left on your disk, install Windows 10 from scratch. Turn off automatic updates in Settings or at least disable the “Update & security” feature. This way you will avoid downloading gigs of updates, which can’t fit on your computer due to lack of space.

4. Close all open applications and reboot the device.

Windows 10 should start up much faster now that there are less things running in the background. The installation process itself also takes significantly less time than it would with a bunch of programs still installed on your PC.

5. Leave enough space

Always make sure you leave enough free space during Windows 10 installation so that it doesn’t run out at some point forcing you to restart the process again from scratch (the installer usually asks for 16 or 20 GB). After turning off automatic updates, don’t forget to re-enable them because they are important for keeping your PC secure!

6. Remove preinstalled programs

After installing Windows 10, you can also remove a lot of preinstalled programs from the Control Panel. Then you will be left with about 15 GB of free space, which is still more than enough to have a couple of games and a few other apps installed.

7. Reclaim disk space

Right click on your C: drive -> Properties -> Disk Cleanup -> Select unwanted items -> Click on ‘Cleanup System Files’



Some helpful hints:

When it comes to storage, Windows 10 doesn’t take as much space as other operating systems such as Ubuntu Linux or Mac OS . If you are planning on formatting your hard drive and installing Windows 10 from scratch then you will end up saving a considerable amount of disk space that should be good for storing larger files such as videos, games etc. In addition to this, note that Windows 10 takes less time to boot up compared to previous versions because there are fewer services running in the background, meaning it provides better performance.

In a nutshell

Windows 10 needs a minimum of 20GB disk space for installation and if you have an additional 4GB space in C drive then it would be recommended . It also requires a processor with 1GHz speed or faster along with a RAM requirement of at least 1GB for the 32-bit version and 2GB for the 64-bit version. Note that, if your computer’s specifications do not meet these requirements then you may have performance issues when using certain features.

If you’re still in need of more space and have an SSD, Computer Technician has an article on what programs you should put on a solid state drive. This should save you some time and money – at least for the time being!

Those who have used a previous version of Windows on their computer can upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

Is going from 32 bit to 64 bit worth the upgrade?

If you are considering upgrading your computer or laptop from a 32-bit operating system such as Windows XP or even Windows Vista, then switching over to a 64-bit operating system like windows 10 would be worth it for sure. 64 bit Windows is known to take up lesser space than it’s 32 counterpart.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...