How to free up space on your drive on Windows 10

Don’t you just love to see the space on your drive fill up randomly? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Today, we’re going to show you how to use Disk Cleanup on your Windows 10 device which will hopefully free up space on your device. 

Table of Contents

Use Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is Windows’ built-in system application that helps reduce unused and unnecessary files on your Windows device. It’s also super easy to navigate and use and can be done whenever you feel like it. This was brought in not to only free up space on your PC, but also to allow for files that are no longer needed to be removed.

  1. Open your Windows 10 Search bar and search for ‘Disk Clean-up’.
  2. Once in this, it may ask you what disk you want to clean up. This is the drive letter of the device you want to clean up, for us, it’s the “C:” drive we want to reduce storage on. 
  3. Once you click okay on your specified drive,  you should get a small list of items that can be ‘cleaned up’ on your device. Most of these can be ticked to get rid of, however, in some cases, you may not want to remove these. Here are what each one means.
Downloaded Program Files – Downloaded program files are files that are downloaded from programs on your system. Usually, these will be empty but can be removed due to not having anything that can’t be re-downloaded from an application.
Temporary Internet Files – Temporary internet files are files that your internet browser will download small files onto your machine which will take up a very small amount on your device. These are just like temporary files and can be deleted without any problems, and is a good way to free up space. 
Windows Error Reports – Windows Error Reports and Feedback diagnostics are files generated within Windows for errors. Usually, if you’re not having any major problems with your PC, these can be removed but they can help diagnose any problems with your machine. If you have no intent to review these, then these should be okay to remove.

DirectX Shader Cache – DirectX Shader Cache are files created by the graphics system which can speed up application load time and improve responsiveness. They will be re-generated as needed if deleted. 

Delivery Optimization Files – Delivery optimization files are files that were previously downloaded to your computer and can be deleted if currently unused by the Delivery optimization service. 
Downloads – The downloads section are files within your ‘Downloads’ file path. This is usually the default place for downloads and therefore everything you download offline will most likely be stored here. It’s always good to take a look through this before removing, but most are probably not needed.
Recycle Bin – When you delete an item, the chances are it will go into your Recycle bin, so if you’ve been deleting files but your device storage isn’t going down, it’s most likely stuck in the recycle bin. Again, it’s good to take a look through before deleting but it should be okay to go. In most cases, this is one of the main causes of high-disk storage usage and is good to remove to free up space. 
Temporary Files – Temporary files (or temp / tmp files) are files that Windows and some applications will make to function properly. Usually, these are deleted when the application allows it to, however in some cases will remain in the temporary files location until removed manually. Most of the time, this can be removed regardless as they shouldn’t serve any purpose to anything on your system once made. 
Thumbnails – Windows keeps a copy of all your pictures, videos, and document thumbnails so they can be displayed quickly when you open a folder. If you delete these, they will be automatically re-created when needed. 
  1. Once this has been done, you can click the button ‘Clean up System Files’. This will again ask for you to select the drive and then continue to scan. Once finished, the same window will open however some more options may pop up. These may include;

Windows Update Clean-Up – Windows keeps copies of all installed updates from Windows update, even after installing newer versions of updates. Windows Update clean-up deletes or compresses older versions of updates that are no longer needed and taking up space. A PC restart is suggested both prior and after running the disk cleanup. 

Windows Defender Antivirus – These are non-critical files created and used by Windows Defender, the default antivirus on Windows 10 machines.

Windows Upgrade Log Files – Windows upgrade log files contain information that can help identify and troubleshoot problems that occur during Windows installation, upgrade or service. Deleting these files can make it difficult to troubleshoot installation issues. 

Device Driver Packages – Windows keeps copies of all previously installed device driver packages from Windows Update and other sources, even after installing newer versions of the driver. This task will remove older versions of drivers that are no longer needed. The most current versions of each driver package will be kept. 

Language Resource Files – This removes unused language resources files, including keyboards and speech inputs among others. 

Once ‘OK’ is pressed, this will now proceed to remove files that you’ve ticked. This can take anywhere from 30 seconds up to an hour but may take longer depending on how many files there are and how large the files you’re removing. As you can see from our PC, this can help quite a lot!

Let us know if this has helped you and your storage needs, and hopefully, this has helped free up space that you never knew you had!