How to Free Up Hard Drive Space in Windows 10 - dummies

How to Free Up Hard Drive Space in Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

If programs begin whining about running out of room on your hard drive and you’re running Windows 10, the following solution grants you a short reprieve:

  1. Right-click your Start button and choose Control Panel.

  2. Click the Control Panel’s System and Security category. When a long list of categories appears, click Free Up Disk Space in the Administrative Tools section.


    If your PC has more than one disk drive, Windows asks which drive to clean up. Select your C: drive.

  3. Select your (C:) drive, if necessary, and click OK.

    The Disk Cleanup program calculates how much disk space you can save and presents the Disk Cleanup dialog box shown here. (The amount of disk space you can save is shown at the top of the dialog box.)

    Make sure that all the check boxes are selected.
    Make sure that all the check boxes are selected.

    If you’re really pressed for space, click the window’s Clean Up System Files button. Windows takes a second, deeper look and often presents checklists for even more files that can be deleted.

  4. Select the check boxes for all the items and then click OK.

    As you select a check box, the Description section explains what’s being deleted. When you click the OK button, Windows asks whether you’re sure you want to delete the files.

  5. Click the Delete Files button to erase the unneeded files.

    Windows proceeds to empty your Recycle Bin, destroy leftovers from old websites, and remove other hard drive clutter.

If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10, your old Windows version usually remains on your hard drive in a folder called “Windows.Old.” That folder consumes lots of space, and you can delete it by choosing the Clean Up System Files button in Step 3, and selecting the check box labeled Previous Windows Installation. Deleting it, of course, means your computer won’t be able to return to that older Windows version.