Has your hard drive felt a little crowded lately? Having more free space on your hard drive can improve speed. By removing files and moving data to other devices, you can quickly clean up your hard drive in Windows 10. Here are the easiest ways to quickly free up PC space.
Empty the trash
Ah, the beloved old wastebasket. It's nice to know that some things about Windows haven't changed in a long time. Windows 10 continues to use the Recycle Bin to hide any files you want to throw away, and emptying can come in handy to free up extra space.
You can right-click the trash can icon to empty it directly. If you can't find the icon, go to the Start menu, go to Settings, select System and then Storage. Under This PC you can select the local storage. Browse for and click temporary files. This will show all of the temporary file locations, including the Recycle Bin. Check the box next to "Trash", select the "Remove Files" option at the top of the screen, and confirm your decision. That is all it takes!
It should be noted that emptying the trash can only help clean your Windows 10 hard drive if there are many things in that trash. If you're downloading Windows 10 for the first time – and long after, depending on your desktop habits – emptying may not have a big impact on your hard drive. If you're not sure, take a look at your trash and see how full it is first. Data worth a few GB can still make a difference.
How to delete temporary files and downloads
Do you remember how emptying the trash led you through the Temporary Files section? If you want to expand your hard disk cleaning activities, you can delete all temporary files.
What exactly are you getting rid of here? Well, Windows temporary files manage document editing, some application processes, various printing tasks, etc.
These files are usually deleted automatically, but sometimes get stuck. Remove them all by checking the box next to each file type and then clicking the Remove Files option at the top of the screen.
Another time when files are created automatically is when you download something from the Internet. These files are displayed in your downloads and are usually retained. This means that if you download a lot of content to your Windows 10 desktop, they can stack up quickly.
Go to your download folder via File Explorer> This PC> Downloads and delete any files you no longer need by marking them in groups or individually. This method is a great way to manually wipe space without accidentally deleting something you will need later.
How to uninstall apps
Too many apps can slow things down or leave too little space for other content, especially on some of the smaller, lighter Windows devices (you'll see Surface tablets). Some apps can take up a lot of space – the trick is to find out which pig has the most space on your hard drive and which one you can do without.
Go to Settings in the Start menu, select Apps and then Apps & Features. Here you can see all downloaded apps. With Windows 10, you can arrange them according to various statistics. If you have a long list, sort them by the amount of disk space they occupy.
See which apps store the most data and delete those you don't use. Make sure that the app doesn't contain anything too valuable, select it and choose "Uninstall".
How to change the use of OneDrive
OneDrive is a cloud service for Windows. So you would think that any cloud data used would help free up disk space, not occupy it. This is with the exception of a certain OneDrive feature – the ability to save files offline that you may not even know you are using.
Sometimes that's practical. If you are working with confidential files or large projects with tight deadlines, it is a good idea to make a backup. However, if you're using OneDrive and automatically save offline for every file and document at work, school, or at home, you're likely wasting disk space.
The OneDrive icon should be on the right side of your taskbar (it may be lurking under the Show Hidden Icons arrow). Click on the cloud icon and select Settings (the three dots in the top right corner). Then select the Settings option. This will take you to all the types of files that OneDrive saves offline and the space that each file takes up.
Deactivate all unnecessary OneDrive folders. Keep in mind that you can still access all of these files online at OneDrive.com so you don't lose anything.
Use your Xbox One
Microsoft platforms are increasingly interconnected, and the convergence is very clear in Windows 10, which is more freely connectable to other Microsoft devices like the Xbox One game console. If you have an Xbox One, you can save space by sharing selected apps and data. With just a few steps you can stream content from Xbox to your Windows 10 PC.
This service allows you to save data to the game console and free up space on your PC if you have content that you only use at home. Remember to delete the data from your PC after transferring it to Xbox.
Use an external drive
One of the easiest ways to clean up your hard drive in Windows 10 is to move additional data from USB drives to full external hard drives outside of your computer.
First connect a hard drive and make sure it is properly formatted and ready for upload. Dragging and dropping a file onto the new drive using File Explorer creates a copy of the file that you can use to delete the original.
However, you can also move large parts of files at the same time. Open your file explorer in the task bar and select all files that you want to transfer outside of your PC hard drive. Once they're selected, go to the Start menu at the top of the screen, choose Move To, and then choose Location. Select your external drive from the list to delete all files at that destination. After that, you don't even have to delete anything.
Use a cloud storage service
Instead of buying an external hard drive or USB, you can simply copy your files to free or paid cloud storage services and delete the copy on your PC. For those unfamiliar, the benefits of cloud storage include the ability to copy and restore your files and operating system to new devices as needed, rather than relying on physical storage such as USBs and external hard drives.
Most smartphones automatically save files such as photos to the cloud as a backup in the event of physical damage or electronic breakdowns. PC users can either drag and drop data to cloud storage or upload it with little difficulty. However, be sure to note how much storage space your service offers. Common examples include iDrive (our favorite), Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, iCloud and more.