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How to Free Up Disk Space In Windows

By November 20, 2016Tutorials


Hello everybody. In this video I’ll be showing you how to clear up hard drive space. So we’ve all been in this situation, we accumulate too many files and we need to clear up some space so we’re able to install whatever, install a game, install some software. I’ll be showing what I typically do to clear up space. Now the most basic thing you can do is if you’re aware of where the largest files are on your drive you just manually go to them and delete them using Windows Explorer. But let’s assume you don’t know that.

There’s a few things you can do. Even though I’m using Windows 10, most versions of Windows that are fairly recent have this particular feature. If you right click on a drive and go to Properties, you’ll notice that there’s a disk cleanup button… right here. So what this button does is it has this automated process that’s gonna figure out how much space you can free on that drive. And it has a number of techniques for that. So if you look right here, Setup Log Files, Downloaded Program Files, and it tells you what the worth is of each of those. What the weight is of each of those. Right now I’m seeing nothing substantial, but if I wanted to use this, I’d have to check the relevant boxes and click OK. It’s that simple.

Another trick as of Windows 10 is the Storage feature, so if you go to the start menu here and type storage and press enter, you’ll see this nifty little tool. And if you click on the drive that’s concerning you at the moment, it’s gonna start calculating stuff, now, this is definitely a step up from previous versions of Windows. It’s not perfect, though, and I’ll be showing you a tool that’s way better than this, but at least for now this is a pretty cool spot to go and figure out what the main offenders are. At the moment, you can see it’s calculating, but when it’s done calculating, as you can see, it gives you an idea… okay, so green is apps & games, alright, which means that they’re taking up that much space. And red is … other people. So files that are owned by other people. So you can actually explore this particular tool and learn more about what’s taking up space on your computer. Here’s an example, but I won’t go through this right now. Also, notice you can sort by size… very useful. So that’s another thing you can do. But, let me show you a way to visualize all the space on your computer, whether it’s in a folder, or in the drive as a whole. It’s a very very nifty tool, check it out.

This tool is called WinDirStat. Win D I R Stat. I’m gonna put a link in the description of course. So when it first pops up you can choose what it is you want to actually analyze, in this case I care about the C drive as a whole. Click OK, and it’s gonna start working – see the little PacMan doing some stuff up there? You gotta get this tool just work endlessly and at a certain point it’s gonna have tons of data for you to analyze.

Alright, we’re back guys. So if you look here there’s a certain amount of data that’s shown here. I’m just gonna maximize so you see the most possible. Alright. Now, what is this? Now this is the beauty of WinDirStat… these huge squares everywhere. Now here’s the concept. The square size is relative to the size of the file, so the larger the square, the bigger the file. So if you wanna go target the things that are wasting the most space on your drive, you click on the big squares. The only thing to keep in mind is that there are… like, this shows you everything, including system files. You don’t want to be deleting stuff wrecklessly, so you have to use a certain amount of thought, and I would recommend googling pretty much everything before you delete it. But I can tell you for example, if you look at this green square right here, this is, and if you look above, you’ll see the file that’s highlighted, that means that it’s the file that I selected in the squares. So it’s selecting hiberfil.sys. That’s the hibernation file used by Windows, you don’t want to delete that. Same thing with pagefil.sys. Now a good hint of this is if you go and check out the top right, it says system files are green. Okay. So that means the green ones you can kinda just ignore them, because Windows needs stuff to run, and you don’t want to wreck the way works. Now, another big tip is if you actually click on the Windows folder, you see over here, top right? Windows folder. So if I click it, notice that there’s a white outline around this entire group of squares. What this means is that entire folder is Windows, I don’t want to touch that. If I delete anything in there I might mess up my Windows, so I’m not touching that. So my goal is now, you know, my task has now been simplified. All this, forget it. Page files, forget it.

So let’s start analyzing a little bit here. Okay, what is big? This. What’s this? Replay.pbf… okay. So if I zoom up here, we see that Matt, another user on this computer has DiRT 3 installed. Replay.pbf. Now, I am Matt in real life so I can tell you that I don’t have DiRT installed, so something is up there. So this is a hint for me to either uninstall DiRT 3 properly, or clean up the files on my hard drive. That’s gonna save me 1.9 gigs, it’s visible right there. Ok? So I won’t delete it from here, because if I can trigger an installer, I will, that’s always the cleanest way. But at least now I have this info to exploit.

Now there’s more squares, so we click here, hm, ok. Top left, you can see Nvidia corporation, you can also see it at the bottom, I should mention. You see at the bottom there? Hold on I’ll show you right now. CplSetupInt… my mouse is not working but anyway you see what I mean. In the status bar in the window, there it is, bottom left. You can also see when you’re hovering on files, it shows you that.

So the idea is, NVIDIA corporation downloader, why do I have so many? And each of them are 370, suggests to me that perhaps the old updates for my video drivers have been sticking around for no reason, so I can probably delete those. I would of course double-check the version of my video drivers and validate that the ones in that folder are old and that I can delete them properly.

And you see where this is going. This is really helping you visualize, and to a certain extent, that’s what the storage tool did when we checked it out earlier. I’ll pop it up again, see if it remembers. Yeah, it remembers, see it’s helping! You know, and it’s not as a good as WinDirStat if you ask me, but it’s a definitely a nice step. So I really appreciate that in Windows 10.

So if you keep going, you’ll keep targeting squares, and you’ll see hmm, here’s a 7zip file for Chrome, well, I wouldn’t want to mess with Chrome, I wouldn’t want to screw up Chrome. But before you delete anything, you typically want to Google and figure out what the names of these files are, and see, can I delete this file, online? Google that. Can I delete file named this? You know? And you always play on the side of caution.

So, that’s a nice little trick to free up some space. And you can use this to free up space not only on the entire drive, but a specific folder, which is particularly useful for things like Google Drive and Dropbox. If you’re running out of space, you just point it in those folder, at those folders, and it will analyze and it will show you all the squares. And you know there’s no Windows in there, so everything you’re seeing is in fact taking up space in your Dropbox or Google Drive folder. So definitely a very useful trick for clearing up space.

Anyway, so that’s it guys, those are some tips for you. Some other basic things are, you know, usual suspects are the Downloads folder, when you download stuff via a browser, typically it ends up in the Downloads folder. Let me see if I can show you that real quick. So, the Downloads folder is here, yeah, there you go. ZoomIT and Audacity. So, you typically download files, if it’s programs, you download them, you install them, but you don’t necessarily remember to delete these files. So a good place to delete these files is in the download folder.

And that’s it guys, I hope you find this tool useful – check in the description, you’ll find the link for the program.

Have a good one!

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