8 unconventional ways to free up space on Windows

To free up space on Windows, there are several methods. Here are a few, untraditional, that you may not have known.

There are some things in life that you can never get enough of. Time and money are probably the ones that are easiest to think about. In our life with electronics, storage space could easily come in third place. So often we experience that we have to make room. Windows has a number of dedicated features, but sometimes it’s not enough. So what can we do?

There are a number of more or less conventional actions that you can perform to free up storage space on your computer. Here is a small list.

Use the original Disk Cleanup tool

This good old Windows 10 and Windows 11 Disk Cleanup tool is very useful. It allows you to quickly clean multiple types of files and data.

Go to Start> Disk Cleanup> Clean up system files. Here you will see a list of data that can be deleted. This tool can help you remove Windows Update files, non-vital Windows Defender files, logs, downloaded program files, temporary Internet files, system error files, previous Windows installations, and more.

Most of this data is safe to delete, except for “Windows ESD installation files”. These files are used to reset the machine to its factory configuration. If you delete this data, you will need to go through an external disk to reset the machine if necessary.

Delete OneDrive data you do not need

If you use Microsoft 365 with its 1 TB storage plan, you may have many files in OneDrive and also on your PC, but you probably do not use all of these files on your PC all the time. In File Explorer> OneDrive, identify the files you do not need and delete them from your machine.

OneDrive also has a feature called Files On-Demand. When enabled, files are only downloaded when you open them. To turn it on, click the OneDrive icon on the taskbar, and then tap Help and Settings> Settings> Save space and download files as you use them. OneDrive will no longer store everything locally, but you will still be able to access certain files whenever you want. To do this, right-click on a file or folder and select the “Always keep this device” option.

Configure automatic deletion of temporary files and the Recycle Bin

Storage Sense for Windows helps you delete temporary files, but it’s possible to automate the whole process, allowing regular cleaning of temporary files and the Recycle Bin, all in the background.

Go to Settings> System> Storage and enable “Automatic cleaning of user content”. There, select the range that best suits you in the “Launch Storage Sense”, “Monthly” or “Weekly” feature.

Then you can choose when you want to delete the files from your Recycle Bin. At the top, make sure the “Temporary Files Cleanup” feature is enabled.

Move files, apps, and games to another drive

If you cannot free up space on your installation disk, you can move them to another disk. Just drag and drop into File Explorer. You can also use the “Move to” function after selecting your files and / or folders.

To change the location of an app or game, go to Settings> Apps> Apps and features and select the app or game you want to move. Then click the “Move” button and use the list to select the disc. Finally, click Move.

If you do not see the “Move” option, or if it is dimmed, it means that Windows does not allow you the action. In this case, you need a third-party tool, such as Steam Mover, which is designed and engineered for Steam games but works with any app.

Change the default download and installation folder to another disk

There is a Windows option that allows you to change the default location for downloading new files and installing apps. You can select another disk, external or not, to save space. In Settings> System> Storage> Advanced storage settings> Find new content. Select the new location and click Apply.

Disable sleep mode

Hibernation is convenient for Windows computers, which back up current data to the system disk before shutting it down. This preserves the session mode for the next Windows startup. This is a very convenient feature, but it takes up a lot of space. If you do not use it, you can turn it off.

To do this, click the Start button and then find the command prompt. Right-click on it and select “Run as administrator. There, type the command” powercfg / hibernate off “and press Enter. Hibernation is now disabled. To reactivate it, type” powercfg / hibernate on “.

Upgrade to Windows Compact OS

Windows has a Compact OS feature that reduces the footprint of the system and apps on the disk. This feature is just thought and designed for users with limited storage space, but you can use it to save a few gigabytes when you really need it. However, make a full backup first to avoid problems later.

To do this, click the Start button and then find the command prompt. Right-click on it and select “Run as administrator. There you have to type the command” compact.exe / compactOS: always “and press Enter. Follow the steps and you will save about 2 GB. To return to normal Windows you need to type” compact.exe / compactOS: never “.

Rebuild the search index

The Windows Search database can sometimes grow to enormous size and even slow down your entire PC. Try rebuilding it to see if you can save space.

In Settings> Privacy & Security> Windows Search> Advanced Search Index Settings. Click the “Advanced” button, then click “Rebuild” and “OK” in the Diagnostics section to confirm.

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