Is your computer sluggish and taking forever to respond to a simple query? Did you run your antivirus software to make sure your computer was malware free? In this case, your hard drive may be full of underutilized programs and years of files, consuming space, and slowing Windows 10 performance without contributing.
Read on to learn more about how you can use the Windows 10 Storage Menu and Storage Sense to reduce the weight of your hard drive and improve system efficiency.
What is the Windows 10 storage menu?
The Windows 10 storage menu was designed as a hub that connects all of your data management functions. It has many features to quickly review and change files, as well as programs to organize and free up additional space. While this feature is extremely useful, it also means that it is very easy to mess up or lose your data if you don't know what you are doing. Learn more about Windows 10 storage first (don't worry, it's easier than it looks). We'll start with the most basic steps namely where to find memory in Windows 10.
Cortana and the search menu are happy to help and take you right there if you search for "storage". If you prefer a more traditional method, go to Settings> System> Storage.
When you first look at Storage, it seems like a basic description of your drives, how much data they are using in GB, and how much free space is left. We're all used to seeing this part – but the real magic comes when you choose one of your drives and it opens up a whole host of new options, including the ability to dive deeper into what is taking up your space and erasing all of them Erase data Decide that you don't need it.
How to configure and run Storage Sense
Storage Sense is a great Windows tool that automatically deletes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and downloads folders. If this is your first time using this option, select Configure Storage Sense or run it now from the top of the Storage menu.
Daniel Martin / screenshot
In the next menu, you can choose when Storage Sense runs, when and if Recycle Bin files and downloads are deleted, or you can select Clean Now to perform a cleanup based on the current menu settings. Note that the default setting for your Downloads folder is never and should stay that way unless you are sure you don't need anything before deleting everything.
Here's how to manage your hard drives manually
The Storage menu has a usage window that lets you see where most of the data is stored on your computer. Note that there are several sections here, including Apps and Features, Documents, Pictures, Temporary Files, and others. Select one of these options to view a detailed list of the locations on your hard drive and location. Apps and features usually contain the lion's share of its own weight. This is a good starting point if you want to clear disk space.
Daniel Martin / screenshot
Make sure you don't need any apps that you remove. However, older games or software that you no longer use can save significant space if you delete them. You can search the list of apps and features, search for specific apps by name, or sort them by size and location, or by name, size, and installation date.
When you want to remove an app, click it to bring up an instant uninstall button that works for all apps on your computer, not just those downloaded from the Windows Store. Also notice the button at the top of the window. Optional Features – These are extensions and plugins that are used in software across your computer and may not be needed. However, if you delete them, you won't save much space so they are better off left alone.
Other tricks in memory
- Find out what is important / unnecessary: Remember a few paragraphs when we talked about sorting options for your apps? You can do this with any section of the drive in storage. This is very useful for seeing at a glance which software is taking up most of your storage space – and if you need it. Also note that once you've deleted something, you can update any drive to see how your action will affect the current space.
- Automated storage decisions: At the very bottom of the first save menu, find the Change button where new content will be saved. Here you can control exactly where new apps, documents, music, pictures and videos are saved. This allows for extensive future control over how your data is partitioned for easier memory clearing and better data management.
Third-party option: CCleaner
If you'd rather not bother with the Windows 10 options for managing the space on your hard drive, CCleaner is a great freemium option for the average PC owner. CCleaner analyzes both internal and external hard drives and provides users with a breakdown of the largest folders and files that are taking up space. This list can also be exported to your PC so that you can take it into account before making any changes. Other features include the ability to delete files from CCleaner and organize data by file type to see which extensions are bloating your hard drive. New software updates are also released frequently.