How to free up disk space on your PC?

We often get asked ‘How to free up disk space on my PC?’ Let’s find out..

First and foremost: You will need to make sure you have your administrator password for this.

If you do not, then I’m sorry but this is something you cannot achieve without it.

To free up disk space on your PC, we’re going to look at the following things:

  1. Removing unwanted or unused apps & games (software) – Deleting temporary files (downloads, browser caches…)
  2. Removing unnecessary file extensions – Changing Windows 10 settings to increase performance and decrease the size of installed updates

It’s also important that we monitor how much space is left on our hard disks as they fill up. We don’t want them getting too full because this can lead to issues such as problems opening or saving files, general system slowdowns, and lack of available space for new installs. That’s always a pain.

The best way to monitor disk space is via the taskbar (Windows 10). We can also use file-compression software such as 7zip and WinRAR to compress large documents and images respectively saving us more hard drive space. Now let’s get started…

Removing Unwanted Apps & Games

In this section, we’re going to look at the different ways in which you can free up disk space on your PC by removing unwanted or unused apps & games.

First open Programs & Features from the Start Menu – if that doesn’t work then you can just search ‘programs & features’ in the search bar.

Right-click on an app & select Uninstall to remove it, although be aware that any saved files for that app will still remain on your computer unless you do some housekeeping.

Right-click on a game and choose either Uninstall or Unpin From Start Menu – this way the game won’t show up when you choose to boot up your PC with Windows 10.

If you haven’t played a game in ages then why not uninstall it instead of hiding it out of sight? Don’t forget to disable it first though otherwise, you’ll have to go through more steps later – just right-click its name in Programs & Features then select Disable.

Free up space without deleting any necessary files

Users should continue reading this article as it will show you how to free up a lot of disk space without deleting any necessary files. This is because we will be focusing on removing unnecessary junk from your computer rather than going through and manually deleting hundreds of files one by one. Note: If you have a fairly new PC with at least 4GBs of RAM – then this process shouldn’t take too long on most PCs. However, even if you have an older PC that’s low on memory, but not too low on disk space, this process should still be pretty quick.

That said, let’s get started. The first thing we need to do is download and install CCleaner by Piriform. We will use it in combination with another free program called WinDirStat to get rid of all the junk that has accumulated over time. Once we’re done we’ll end up with an ideal amount of free disk space and a much cleaner PC.

So what exactly do these two programs do? Well, the first (CCleaner) is an application that deletes unnecessary files and registry entries from your computer; while the other (WinDirStat) shows you where these unnecessary files are located on your drive(s) and what they consist of.

First things first: download and install CCleaner. Then, download and install WinDirStat. Once you have both applications installed, run WinDirStat first as it will be necessary to analyze the contents of your hard drives. Once it’s done scanning them (the scan can take some time) click on the little arrow next to the disc that represents your C:\ drive to expand all visible folders within it. You should end up with a list that looks something like this:

The dark blue bars represent unused space, while the light blue ones represent used space on a folder level. The red bars represent occupied space due to files being directly on the folder instead of within a subfolder.

The more you have, the longer it will take to find and free up space as some files may be difficult to organize into folders or delete altogether.

There are two ways one can go about doing this: by deleting individual large files, or by creating empty folders and moving similar sized media into those empty folders for easy deletion later. By default, those empty folders should be placed on your desktop and usually called “Empty Folder”

1. Once you’ve done that, click on the little arrow symbol next to any blue bar representing an occupied folder to view the contents of the said folder

2. Select all items inside said folder except for System Files if prompted

3. Click ‘Delete’

4. click ‘Yes’.

Now that you’ve got a bunch of junk out of the way, check how much space it’s freed up. Depending on what kinds of files were just deleted, it may not be as much as you wanted. Don’t worry, there is more to be done. This time we’ll create another folder and move all pictures into it so they can be easily located for deletion later. Unfortunately, music cannot easily be consolidated like this by default in Windows 7, so those will need to stay where they are unless one wants to use third-party software such as Media Player Classic or Winamp with their own music library management capability or iTunes.

Once you’ve done all this, don’t forget to empty the recycle bin so that it can start recovering its space. Now if you go look in your “Users” folder again, there should be a lot less stuff taking up space than before. However one’s user account is just a small part of Windows’ data storage footprint on your hard drive. So let’s move on to getting rid of some other junk.

It seems like programs tend to add files with their own uninstallers in order to make sure they’re completely gone even after you delete them from the Programs list in Control Panel . These are easily located in the Start Menu under All Programs and frequently take up several megabytes each, especially games and programs you haven’t used since high school. Go ahead and remove any programs you know you’ve already uninstalled, then go through the rest of your All Programs list to see if anything else jumps out at you as taking up space without adding very much functionality or that you don’t use anymore. If something does look useless, uninstall it! Alternatively, if there are things listed in this directory that aren’t on your Start Menu, just delete them entirely.

Next, let’s check where Windows keeps temporary files. Go ahead and open up Explorer and search for “Temp.” This directory is full of junk left behind by programs trying not to be too wasteful with computer resources. Open the Temp folder up in Explorer, hit Ctrl+A to select everything, then hit Delete. If you’re following along with me deleting files that are useless, don’t forget to empty the recycle bin once in a while!

Once you’ve got all of this sorted out, let’s check some other places on your hard drive where lots of unnecessary stuff accumulates over time. Type “%temp%” into an explorer search bar which will bring up another Temp folder. This folder has several subfolders inside, but the only really important one is called “Internet.” As its name implies, anything stored here is temporary internet files so it isn’t necessary for Windows 8 to keep them around. Go ahead and right-click> delete any files in there that are older than 30 days or so.


Lastly, you should check out your Downloads folder. This is another place that lots of junk files can build up over time, so it’s a good idea to clean them out every month or two. A quick way to do this is by clicking the little down arrow next to the “view” option on the explorer window and checking “clean up system files.” This will remove any temporary files from software you’ve downloaded before but no longer need, as well as .tmp and .bak windows backup files (which we’ll get into later).

It’s also important that we monitor how much space is left on our hard disks as they fill up. We don’t want them getting too full because this can lead to issues such as problems opening or creating new files and slowdowns. We also want to make sure we’ve got enough space free so we can install any software or games that require that kind of space.

It may be the case that the only storage left on your laptop is a small solid-state drive (SSD) which doesn’t have as much capacity as your old hard disk, but you’re still going to need to take care not to fill it up too much if you want everything to run smoothly. If you don’t know how much storage capacity your device has, look under its ‘about’ section in Windows 10’s Settings app for the exact number.

Installing new applications can also take up a lot of storage space, so be careful when installing new programs, especially games. Before committing to anything, check how big it is by opening its page on an application store. If you’re not sure what kind of game it is or whether enjoy it then watch some gameplay on YouTube before purchasing.

If you have a lot of images and want to edit them in Photoshop or Lightroom, then you’ll need a separate drive with enough space for your images. To free up disk space from big files like songs or videos, try compressing them with an application like WinRAR. This will shrink the files without affecting their quality. You may also be able to delete unwanted downloads from your browser if you know which ones they are!

While it’s not possible to give exact instructions for freeing up disk space on a particular computer because there are too many factors, these tips should help save some hard drive space. You need to be careful of what you delete. If you inadvertently deleted some Windows system file, you will not be able to boot up your PC and it will be stuck in an automatic repair loop.

Guide for Advanced Users

If you don’t want to uninstall an application but perhaps just free up some disk space on your PC, then you can use the steps in the below guide:

1) Boot Up Your Computer in Safe Mode

On a Windows 10 laptop or desktop, hold down Shift before selecting Restart from the Power menu. Click Troubleshoot, Advanced options, and Startup Settings . Click Restart again and when prompted to choose an option use the arrow keys then F4 for Safe mode. This is safer as it temporarily disables all third-party applications which form part of Windows 10’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) –  and also any background processes.

2) Empty the Recycle Bin

Once you’ve logged in, check the C:\$Recycle.Bin folder to make sure it’s empty. If it isn’t then right-click on its white space and choose Delete. This can be checked by going to this folder:

3) Clear Your Browser Cache

Ensure you have all windows closed when clearing the cache so no browser pops open with cached data from before you emptied the recycle bin which you may not want deleted anymore…

4) Empty Temp Files Folder In Windows, the temp files folder holds all your temporary files – this includes that leftover from un-deleting something as well as those created by programs you download and use to run certain tasks. Deleting things, especially those that were once alive and now dead, can actually slow down your computer so keeping it free of junk is a good idea.

5) Run CCleaner or WinDirStat. The standard Windows Disk Cleanup tool is alright but it doesn’t get everything – tools like Ccleaner have a lot more options and can ensure you get every last bit of space back.

windirstat 6) Delete Windows Update Files Just like any file system, the patch management system in Windows has to always be ticking along. This means that it is constantly altering its directories and updating old files with new ones. While this might seem negligible, these small saves add up over time – if you go a few months without restarting then you will find that your hard drive is full of these redundant updates! Luckily there is an easy fix – all you need to do is run through our guide from before called ‘ How To Disable Automatic Updates In Windows .’ By doing this you won’t have to worry about missing important patches – your patches will revert to manual update mode, leaving you in complete control.

Another way to free up some disk space is to clear out Windows’ logs. Log files are great for debugging and performance tuning but the only problem with them is that they never get deleted when they’re no longer in use. This means that if something goes wrong then Microsoft can track it down by sifting through these logs – plus Windows keeps multiple copies of older logs just in case! Thankfully, there is a simple fix that involves removing all unnecessary log files (for example, installing an anti-virus program might generate lots of useless virus removal logs) before deleting them permanently using this guide.

By doing either or both of these methods you should be able to free up between 100-500MB on your computer. This is not much, but it can be helpful for those with limited hard drive space.

Do you ever feel like there’s no available disk space left on your PC? Do you wish that there were a simple way to free up storage space without deleting files that you need? Luckily, this isn’t a difficult process and will only take a few minutes of your time. In fact, all you have to do is remove the unnecessary logs from Windows – which are simply copies of old logs kept in case they’re needed again. You can also delete some older log files by removing any temporary files created after installing an antivirus program or other programs if their log files have gotten too large.

If you still can’t recover space, then there is a chance that Windows is corrupted and you will need to book in for advanced computer repairs.

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...