10 Ways to Expand Your PC’s Storage without Deleting Anything

When “low disk” warnings begin to pop up on your computer, it can only mean one thing: you’re critically low on disk space. You have to delete something to free up room, but you can’t delete any software, files, or folders. In fact, you can’t get rid of anything at all! There’s only one thing you can do – expand the current space you have to fit everything in. But how do you do it?

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can expand your storage size.

1. USB Stick

Price: Cheap

Typical Storage Space : 8 – 128GB

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USB sticks are one of the more trustworthy ways of storing items from the computer. Simply plug one into a USB port, open it on your computer, then drag files onto the stick itself. It’s easy to carry with you, stores quite a lot of data, and can be plugged into any computer with a USB port (which is most!).

2. SD Card

Price: Cheap

Typical Storage Space: 2 – 128GB

SD cards are in a similar vein to USB sticks but are a little more conditional of whether you can put them into a PC or not. Unlike USB drives, an SD card slot isn’t a guarantee on most machines; it’s usually something a laptop will have rather than a PC. As such, if you’re using an SD card purely on one device, it will do the job well; porting data to another machine, however, might be tricky.

3. USB Hard Drive

Price: Moderate

Typical Storage Space: 1 – 4TB

Did you know that you can plug in a second hard drive through the USB ports? It’s possible! Definitely one of the more convenient ways to expand your storage by a large amount, USB hard drives are a fantastic choice for holding media files and games. Even better, you can carry them with you and plug them into other PCs to export the data. If all you have is a hard drive from another PC, all you need is to get an HDD enclosure, and you can turn that hard drive into a USB hard drive.

4. DVD

Price: Cheap

Typical Storage Space: 4.7GB

Once a staple of data storage, the DVD storage method has fallen out of favour over the past few years. These days it’s not unusual to see a computer or laptop ship without a DVD drive whatsoever. Still, if you have one yourself and would like to store data on a DVD, there’s nothing stopping you.

You also have the choice between “R” or “RW” disks to suit you. “R” (“Read”) allows a one-time burn before locking the files to prevent editing, while “RW” (“Read-Write”) allows files to be rewritten once stored on the DVD.

5. Cloud Services

Price: Free, with a paid premium service

Typical Storage Space: 2 – 15GB

Everything is moving toward the cloud these days, and your data can join in! There are plenty of different cloud storage servers out there, but the main leaders are Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. Using one is simple – make an account, then upload your files to the online cloud. You can then delete the files off of your hard drive and make room without completely losing your files. In fact, they’ll be accessible on all of your devices that can access the cloud! Try not to upload anything too sensitive, though, as it also makes files more easily accessible to hackers.

6. New Hard Drive

Price: Moderate

Typical Storage Space: 1 – 4TB

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If your current hard drive is too small, you can always do the obvious and buy a larger one! This is quite tricky to do, as you’ll need knowledge on how to install a hard drive and how to transfer data from one to the other. Otherwise, you’ll need some technical assistance from a professional to do this.

7. Secondary Hard Drive/Solid State Drive

Price: Moderate (HDD), Expensive (SSD)

Typical Storage Space: 1 – 4TB (HDD), 128 – 512GB (SSD)

If you have the spare space on your motherboard, you can forgo having to transfer data, and simply get a second drive to store things. A second HDD can act as a “mule” drive, storing huge files such as movies and recordings. Getting an SSD to work in tandem with an HDD works well, too; simply put all the software you want to load quickly onto the SSD and enjoy faster loading times.

8. Wi-Fi Hard Drive

Price: Moderate

Typical Storage Space: 1 – 4TB

USB hard drives are great, but sometimes you want to keep those USB ports free. Wi-Fi hard drives are often marketed as “home clouds” and connect to other devices over a Wi-Fi connection via a router. This has the added bonus of being accessible by everyone who connects to the router, meaning you can set one up for your family or workplace. Some even allow you to access the hard drive via a web interface!

9. RAID Array

Price: Very Expensive

Typical Storage Space: 16 – 60TB

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If one hard drive doesn’t cut it, and two still doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can try RAID array. This is, in very basic terms, around four to eight hard drives working in tandem with one another. They definitely don’t come cheap, but if you’re really chugging through the gigabytes and need something that can keep up, a RAID will fit your needs perfectly.

10. Personal File Server

Price: Monthly fee that scales with space

Typical Storage Space: As much as you can afford!

Don’t trust cloud storage services? Make one yourself! You can either buy and set up your own server or rent one from a server farm. You can use it to store all your files without worrying about what the companies are doing with your data. When you start to run out of room, you can ask your host for more space at a higher cost.

If you can’t delete your files to make room, don’t worry about it! There are plenty of ways you can make extra room depending on what you’re trying to store.

Do you have a preferred method? Let us know below.

Image credit: zoomed in front of server, Day 12

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