There’s nothing worse than running out of storage space on your device. If you’re running Windows 10 as your operating system, the installation will chew up 20 GB alone. Unfortunately, the size of storage has been steadily shrinking while our capacity demands have been increasing. With solid state drives still commanding high prices, upgrading isn’t always an option. Fortunately, the April 2018 update to Windows 10 introduces a brand new tool to help users reclaim precious disk space.
What Does the Tool Do?
The new storage reclamation tool is similar to the old Disk Cleanup Utility found in older versions of Windows. It automatically finds files that are taking up space on a PC that the average user doesn’t need, allowing users to delete the data and reclaim disk space without worrying about deleting something important.
Free Up Space Now
To get started, open up the Settings by clicking on the Start button and then Cog icon. In the Settings menu click on “System.” Next, click on “Storage” in the column on the left. Notice the heading that reads “Storage Sense.” Underneath that you’ll see “Free up space now” in blue text. Go ahead and click on that.
Windows will now scan your machine for any and all unnecessary data. This includes user-generated data (e.g. stuff in your Recycling Bin) and useless system data like temporary files and logs. The tool will present you with a list containing all of the different types of data that you can remove. The list will give a brief overview of what each file is, as well as identifying how much space you’ll reclaim by deleting it.
Simply check the boxes next to the types of data you want to remove. As we mentioned earlier, this tool only identifies non-essential files that the average user would never need. Therefore, if your PC is running smoothly without any issues, then it’s safe to delete everything. However, if your PC is experiencing issues, you’ll want to think twice about deleting some of the items on the list.
For example, “Previous Windows installation(s)” often takes up quite a bit of space. Naturally, you’ll be tempted to get rid of this gargantuan file. However, if you’re experiencing problems after the April update (or any future updates), you can use this file to “roll back” to your previous version of Windows. The same applies to files like error reports and system logs. These files could have important information that can help you or a technician in troubleshooting.
Once you’ve selected which files you want to kick to the curb, you’ll see how much disk space you stand to reclaim at the top of the screen. When you’re ready to pull the trigger, click on the button labelled “Remove Files.” How long this process takes will depend on how much data needs to be scrubbed.
With the new April update, reclaiming your disk space in Windows is as simple as a few clicks. Furthermore, even the most tech-illiterate users can be confident they won’t be doing irreparable harm to their computer by trashing these junk files.
In addition to Free Up Space Now, there is another tool called “Storage Sense.” The Storage Sense tool aims to automate the deletion of things like temp files and other “useless” files. The “Free Space Up Now” tool will also wrangle the same files for deletion; however, the advantage of Storage Sense is the fact that you can set it and forget it.
That being said, the “Free Space Up Now” tool is much more comprehensive and identifies files overlooked by Storage Sense. To put it in layman’s terms, think of Storage Sense as tidying up, whereas the Free Up Space Now tool is a deep clean.
To enable Storage Sense, hit the Start button and click on the Cog icon. In the Settings menu click on “System.” Next, click on “Storage” in the column on the left. Underneath your hard drive breakdown, you’ll see the Storage Sense option. Simply switch the toggle to enable the Storage Sense tool.
If you click on “Change how we free up space,” you’ll be taken to a screen where you can dictate which files Storage Sense mops up and how often. Both Storage Sense and the brand new “Free Up Space Now” tool are easy ways to reclaim disk space by deleting useless files. We recommend using both tools, as Storage Sense will automatically delete temporary files, and the Free Up Space Now tool can be used to find data lurking in the depths of your PC.
Do you use either of these tools? Or do you use third-party software to identify and delete junk files? Do you have any other tips on how to reclaim hard drive space? Let us know in the comments!
Image credit: Miniature maids or cleaning women on an open computer hard drive by Amy Walters/Shutterstock