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 expand your PC storage?
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can expand the storage size of your PC.
1. Extend your Hard Drive Partition
Before spending your money on new hardware and hard drives, it’s worth visiting the hard drive and partition you want to expand to see if you can create some more space for it.
First, let’s go to Windows disk management. Simply type “disk management” into the Start menu search and click “Create and format hard-disk partitions.”
In the new window, check the “File System” for the hard drive partition you want to extend.
If it’s NTFS, and if you have a partition of “Unallocated” space, then you can extend your hard drive partition. You can even use unallocated space from multiple hard drives on your PC toward your hard drive of choice.
If you have unallocated space, right-click the partition you want to extend and click “Extend Volume.”
In the next window, pick the volumes you want to extend, “add” them to your selected partition, then click next and follow the instructions.
2. USB Stick
Typical Storage Space : 8 – 128GB
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!).
3. SD Card
Typical Storage Space: 2 – 128GB
SD cards are in a similar vein to USB sticks but are a little more conditional regarding 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, may be tricky.
4. USB Hard Drive
Typical Storage Space: 1 – 4TB
Did you know that you can plug in a second hard drive through the USB ports? You have to make use of a hard disk enclosure though, but it is definitely one of the easiest 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.
5. Cloud Storage Services
Typical Storage Space: 2 – 1TB
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 popular ones are Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. pCloud is another good solid option too.
It is easy to start using cloud storage – 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! If you have confidential data, there are cloud storage, like pCloud, that provides extra encryption to prevent others from accessing your data.
6. Secondary Hard Drive/Solid State Drive
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.
7. Wi-Fi Hard Drive / Network-Attached Storage
Typical Storage Space: 1 – 4TB
USB hard drives are great, but sometimes you want to keep those USB ports free. Wi-Fi hard drives, and sometime network-attached storage (NAS) are often marketed as “home clouds” and connect to other devices over a Wi-Fi connection. 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!
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 and expand your PC storage, depending on what you’re trying to store.