Backing Up Your Files
When it comes to backing up your most important files, you cant have too many copies of them: Remember that cloud copies are still susceptible to data loss or corruption, and that external hard drives may not survive if youre unlucky enough to have a fire, flood, or burglary at home. Two copies is good, three copies is better.
Your first options are the backup utilities built into Windows and macOS, which use external drives connected to your computer. With Windows youve got File History, which you can find via Update & Security and Backup in Settings , and on macOS theres Time Machine, available via Time Machine in System Preferences .
If youve bought an external disk drive then it may well come with some backup software of its own, and there are a plethora of third-party tools on the market as wellfrom the free and comprehensive Cobain Backup , to the $50 Acronis True Image 2020 , which is packed with advanced features. Some programs, like Carbon Copy Cloner , are able to create backup drives you can boot from to recover your data.
You dont have to rely on any software package, if you dont want toyou can just copy your important files and folders over to an external drive manually, if you prefer, but you will have to remember to do this on a regular basis to stay protected.
Best Ways To Free Up Hard Drive Space On Windows 10
Windows 10 includes several options to free up space when the hard drive on your device fills up. Although drives with multiple terabytes are common on laptops and desktop computers, it does not take a long time to stuff them up with documents, pictures, videos, apps, and games. And then, without warning, you will start noticing slow performance, problems saving files and many other issues.
If your device is running low on space, Windows 10 offers several tools to delete junk and temporary files, apps, and games to optimize the device storage. Using these tools will help you reclaim additional space, but it will improve the overall performance and problems during updates.
Free Up Space Emptying Recycle Bin On Windows 10
On Windows 10, when deleting files, the system does not erase them from the hard drive. Instead, they are placed inside the Recycle Bin in case you need them back. However, depending on how the feature is configured, over time, the Recycle Bin can take a lot of space, which means that emptying the bin is one of the first actions you should take to regain valuable storage space.
To empty the Recycle Bin to free up space on Windows 10, use these steps:
Search for Recycle Bin and click the top result to open the app.
Quick tip: If the app does not appear in the result, you can open File Explorer , and then type Recycle Bin and press Enter in the address bar.
Click the Empty Recycle Bin button.
Once you complete the steps, the system will free up around ten percent of the drive capacity .
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What To Delete From Disk Cleanup
This isn’t a full guide to the Disk Cleanup tool, so we’re not going to look at every option it offers. However, the following several options are low-hanging fruit :
- Windows Update Cleanup: This erases old copies of Windows Update files. These are safe to delete in most cases, but you should keep them for troubleshooting if you run into update-related issues.
- Windows upgrade log files: Similarly, these are data files that Windows Update keeps to help you dig into problems around upgrades or installations. You can erase these if you haven’t had errors related to upgrading Windows to a new version.
- Language resource files: If you’ve previously downloaded another language or keyboard layout that you don’t use, this will let you easily erase it.
- Recycle Bin: While you can empty the Recycle Bin through its own window, you can also do it easily here. Just make sure there’s nothing inside it that you need.
- Temporary files: As their name suggests, temporary files aren’t used for anything in the long-term, so you can erase them without worry.
Now, let’s look at what you can delete from Windows 10 safely.
Delete Temp Files By Disk Cleanup
While working on your Windows system for a while, chances are that you might end up accumulating a lot of temporary data. Although temp files are used to store certain vital details and make the overall experience smoother, they can also consume a lot of space. The best way to clear the C drive is by cleaning its temporary data at regular intervals by using the Disk Cleanup Utility.
1. There are multiple ways to access the Disk Cleanup app. One of the easiest ways is to look for it from the start menu.
2. Once the Disk Cleanup application is launched, you need to select the drive you wish to clean. In this case, it will be the C drive.
3. Wait for a while as the application would calculate the data that it can clean from the drive.
4. In the end, it will display a dedicated prompt with details of the data you can delete. From here, select the Temporary Files option and click on the Ok button to clean C drive.
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How To Free Up Space On Your Hp Laptop
The best way to free up your computers drive space is to delete unnecessary files in Windows 10. Open the Storage settings by searching for them. The Temporary files window can be found on the Storage window. Click the Remove files button after selecting the temporary files you would like to delete.
Fix #: Delete Unnecessary Files
Here are two approaches for you to do this. The first one is to select and delete some files you no longer use manually. The second one is to make use of Storage Sense. Storage Sense was introduced in Windows 10 version 1703 to get rid of temporary files and stuff in your Recycle Bin. If you have Storage Sense turned on in Settings, Windows can automatically free disk space by removing files you don’t need.
If your Storage Sense is still OFF, you can now make it work.
Step 1. Go to Start menu -> Settings -> System -> Storage. Toggle the option for “Storage Sense” ON and click the option “Change how we free up space“.
Step 2. In the next window, check what kind of temporary files to delete. You can also press “Clean now” to free up disk space Windows 10 now.
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Adjusting System Restore Settings To Free Up Disk Space
System Restore is a feature of Windows that can revert system software and settings back to a particular date. System Restore does this by saving the changes made to system files in a restore point. Restore points use a lot of hard drive space. Adjusting the System Restore settings can free up hard drive space.
Search for and open Control Panel.
In the Control Panel Search field, type system
On the System home screen, select System protection.
On the System Protection tab, click Configure.
To reduce the amount of hard drive space the system reserves for system restores, slide the Max Usage slider bar to a lower percentage. You can choose more or less depending on how many restore points you want and the capacity of your hard drive.
If the issue persists, confirm that enough hard drive space is available.
Free Up Space Using Ntfs Compression
Alternatively, you can also use the built-in lightweight feature part of the NT File System to reduce the storage usage of current files maintaining normal access without the need to zip your files. The feature is available to compress files, folders, or the entire drive.
Important: Using data compression can negatively impact system performance because it has to compress and decompress data on the fly. You should use this option only if you do not have another option or have capable hardware.
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How To Use The Disk Cleanup Utility Via Command Prompt
Disk Cleanup is a built-in Windows utility to help you free up space on your computers hard drive. It can clean up downloads, temporary internet files, recycle bin, and even system files.
You can use the Command Prompt to launch Disk Cleanup and perform some automated cleanup tasks directly. Here is how to use the tool and command-line switches supported.
Removing Unwanted Files With Storage Sense
Using Storage Sense frees up space on your computer. When configured properly, Storage Sense can automatically delete unwanted files, such as temporary files, old items in the recycle bin, and files in the Downloads folder that have not been recently accessed or used, including old versions of Windows.
Search for and open Storage settings.
On the Storage window, select Temporary files.
Select the temporary files you want to delete, and then click Remove files.
HP recommends that you do not select the Downloads option. Doing so might delete personal files.
Return to the Storage window, select On beneath the information about Storage Sense, and then select Configure Storage Sense or run it.
On the Configure Storage Sense or run it now window, select how often Storage Sense runs, deletes temporary files, and empties the recycle bin and Downloads folder.
Scroll down to Free up space now, and then click Clean now to run Storage Sense immediately using the settings previously selected.
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Uninstall Unused Bloatware Software
Many PCs come with multiple pre-installed programs you don’t want or need, which are in large size and cause your computer in low disk space. To free up space on your hard drive and make your Windows 10 run faster, you can uninstall the bloatware.
Right-click the Start menu, choose “Control Panel” > “Programs” > click “Uninstall a program”. Select the programs you no longer need and click “Uninstall” at the top of the list.
Use Windows Tools To Free Up Disk Space
A great place to start freeing up space is by using the Storage Sense tool thats pre-installed on the more recent versions of Windows 10. If you dont have Storage Sense yet, you may need to update your computer to the latest version. Open the Start menu, type Storage into the search box and click on Storage settings. Under the option free up space now, youll find out how much space problematic and hidden files are taking up. You can then take action and delete the files that are causing you problems. Beware, though, these files will be deleted permanently there will be no second chances.
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Configure And Run Storage Sense
If you want to better configure the Storage Sense feature, click the Configure Storage Sense or run it now link. You can then determine how often the tool will run and when temporary files and downloads will automatically be deleted.
Open the Run Storage Sense drop-down menu to determine how frequently the feature should runEvery day, Every week, Every month, or During low free disk space. Unless you’re constantly running low on space, running it monthly should be a good place to start.
Under the Temporary Files header, check the box next to Delete temporary files that my apps aren’t using to automatically remove unneeded temporary files on a regular basis. You can also tell Storage Sense to automatically purge files in the Recycle Bin and Downloads folder dailyevery 14, 30, or 60 days, or never.
Storage Sense must be switched on in order for your scheduled maintenance to take place. However, if you’re running low on space, you can take action right away. Click Clean now to make Windows scan for unnecessary files that can be deleted. After the work is done, Windows tells you how much space has been freed.
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Save New Personal Files To Another Drive
Saving new files to another drive will help prevent low space problems on that drive in the future, so you wont have to move your files to another drive repeatedly. Instead of saving all your new files to the default drive, you can save some of them to a different drive that has more free space.
Select Start > Settings > System > Storage > Advanced storage settings> Where new content is saved.
For each content type, select a drive from the drop-down menu. If the drive you want to use isn’t listed there, make sure it’s connected to your PC.
Free Up Drive Space In Windows
If your PC is running low on free space, you might not be able to install important Windows updates, and your PCs performance may be affected. Here are some ways to free up space so you can keep your PC up to date and running smoothly. These suggestions are listed in order, so start with the first one, see if that helps, and then continue to the next one if it doesn’t.
To check the total disk space left on your Windows 11 device, select File Explorer from the taskbar, and then select This PC on the left. The available space on your drive will appear under Devices and drives.
Note: If you follow the steps below and continue to have trouble updating Windows because of low disk space, resetting or reinstalling Windows might help. For more info, see Reinstall Windows.
How To Free Up Space On Your Laptop
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A cluttered hard drive is a cluttered mind. If you’re constantly fighting against a “Low disk space” warning, it may be time for a little spring cleaning. Here’s how to find out what’s taking up space on your PC or Macand what to do with the files you just can’t let go of.
Before you start deleting things willy-nilly, you should step back and look for the big wins. Deleting a bunch of 50-MB files here and there isn’t going to make nearly as big a difference as cleaning out an 80-GB folder of old TV shows or uninstalling a few games.
If you’re on a Windows 10 machine, open up Settings > System > Storage to see a breakdown of your drive and which folders are taking up the most space. You can click on any category to see more information, especially in the “Other” category, which will show you individual folders with large files in them. Find stuff you don’t need anymore, and get rid of itit’s not always easy, but this is the best thing you can do to free up space.
If you’re on a Mac, you can analyze your drive for large files by clicking the Apple menu in the top-left corner and going to About This Mac > Storage. Click the Manage button and you’ll see different categories in the sidebar that you can select for a list of large files. Right-click files to delete them, and empty the Trash when you’re finished.
Saving Files To A New Location On A Secondary Drive
To save files to a new location on a secondary or external hard drive, change the location of the folders to the new destination to avoid confusion when saving files.
If you are using a removable storage device, such as a thumb drive, make sure to insert the device into the computer each time you save to it.
Open File Explorer, and then navigate to This PC.
Right-click the Documents folder, and then select Properties.
On the Document Properties window, select the Location tab, and then click Find Target.
Browse to the location of the new document folder, click the address bar, and then copy the new address.
Clear the field on the Document Properties window, paste the new address in the field, and then click Apply.
In the Move Folder box, click Yes to move your files and content from the old location to the new location.
You can repeat this procedure to change the location folders to avoid confusion when saving files.
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Why Does The Amount Of Space Required To Update Windows Vary So Much
The space required to complete a feature update depends on two factors: which update path is followed and the size of optional content and other updates that apply to your PC when the feature update is installed.
Note: For devices with reserved storage, an update will first use the reserved storage space before using other disk space. For more info, see How reserved storage works in Windows.
Windows follows three different feature update paths, depending on the amount of disk space currently available.
1. For PCs with plenty of free disk space
Windows automatically tries to complete more of the update process in the background while you use your PC. This significantly reduces the time your PC will be offline during the update, although it might temporarily use more disk space to complete the update. Learn more about our efforts to reduce offline time during updates .
2. For PCs with limited free space but still enough to complete the update automatically
Windows will automatically optimize for reducing the amount of free disk space required to install the update. This will result in a longer offline install time.
3. For PCs that don’t have enough space to automatically install the update
Windows will prompt you to free up disk space or use external storage to temporarily extend the storage on your PC. If you use an external storage device, Windows wont need as much free space on the system drive as it temporarily uses your external storage.