For most people, the most important “C” drive is the core of the PC. Your operating system is installed on this drive and all important system files are stored in it. Due to endless Windows updates, downloaded files you forgot, and everything saved to drive “C” by default, this is inevitably the drive that is the easiest to fill up.
The following describes how to clean up the disk, reclaim some space, and then make it work quickly and normally again.
Delete Temporary Files Manually
Next, we will show you some tips to automatically erase various temporary files, but these methods (such as Storage Sense and Disk Cleanup) cannot completely erase temporary files, and the largest temporary files on the hard drive are most likely on your Keep it in the Temp folder for a longer time. (The automatic method will wait for the files to reach a certain age, usually a week, before deleting them.)
Note: Make sure nothing is running when you manually delete temporary files. If you delete temporary files related to the application you are currently running, you may crash and lose everything you were working on at the time.
To find your main temporary files folder, the default directory is “C:\Users\Rob\AppData\Local\Temp” (or you can hit Win + R, then enter
To see how much space the Temp folder takes up, use Ctrl + A to select everything it contains, then right-click any file and click “Properties.” If you are willing to continue deleting, make sure to use Ctrl + A to select everything, right-click, and click Delete.
Use Storage Sense
Windows 10 has a convenient feature called Storage Sense, which can monitor the storage space on your PC and then jump in and clean up when you run out of storage space. It performs basic operations such as cleaning the recycle bin, deleting old files in the “download” folder, and deleting temporary files on the PC.
To turn this feature on, go to “Settings -> System,” then click “Storage” in the pane on the left.
Click “Configure Storage Sense or Run Now”, and then click the slider under “Storage Sense” in the new window to turn it on. You can then use the drop-down menu below to choose whether you want it to run daily, weekly, or monthly when there is insufficient space.
In Storage Sense, you will also see that you can let it automatically delete files that have been in the recycle bin for a period of time, or even files in the download folder (in my experience, this is definitely an unused place The documents tend to stay longer than the received documents).
Scan for Large Files on Your Hard Drive
Using Windows Explorer, you can scan the entire hard drive for files based on file size. The number of times I have encountered many redundant files over the years is incredible.
To perform this search, open a Windows Explorer window, select the “C” drive, and click the “Find (C:)” search box in the upper right corner of the window.
Type “size:” and you will get a bunch of auto-completion options, showing different file sizes to filter. You can use one of these presets, or if you want to be more specific about the size of the file you are looking for, you can type “size:> 1gb” to search for files larger than 1GB, etc.
You can delete files directly from the results, or you can right-click and select “Sort By> Size” to sort by size to quickly see which ones need to be deleted. Just by trying this, I found an old Android 7.1 virtual machine, I really don’t need it anymore. Don’t delete anything that seems important. (For example, the contents of the “C: Windows folder” or game files which are usually very large).
Uninstall Windows Shovelware and Space-Hungry Apps
In the “Applications and Features” window (you can find it by right-clicking the “Start” button), you can sort the list by “Size” to see which applications need the most HDDhungry. You may be surprised by the results and want to remove the application accordingly. Consider if you really need all these space apps and remove them accordingly.
Another thing that might surprise you is that you are the proud owner of games like Bubble Witch 3 Saga and Minecraft, and you didn’t want to own these games in the first place! However, just uninstalling them from the “Applications and Features” list is not enough, you need to use Powershell to remove them.
Use Disk Clean-Up Utility
You may know Windows’ built-in Disk Cleanup utility, but you have never used it. This is the first place to find free space. To start using it, start Windows Explorer, right-click the C drive, and select “Properties” from the list.
After opening the “Properties” window, click “Disk Cleanup” to open the utility. In the “Files to be deleted” box, select all check boxes, such as system crash dump files, recycle bins, configuration log files, etc.
After selecting all the required check boxes, click “OK” to release the disk space occupied by the above files. The amount of space you free up depends on how much you ignore the “C” drive. As you can see below, I didn’t take care of the C drive at all. I am ashamed.
Hibernation is a useful feature, you can use it to easily turn off the computer, while saving its current state, so that you can continue to work when you turn on the computer. That being said, it can take up a lot of disk space because the amount of space it reserves on your hard drive is equal to the amount of content stored in RAM. (So maybe the more RAM you have, the more disk space it uses.)
To disable hibernation, press Win + X and select “Control Panel” from the list to open the Windows Control Panel. After opening the control panel, select “Power Options”.
2. Click on the “choose what the power buttons do” link in the pane on the left. This action will take you to the system settings window.
3. Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable.” This action will enable all the disabled options.
4. Scroll down and un-check the “Hibernate” checkbox to disable hibernation in Windows 10.
Delete Browser Cache and Cookies
Temporary Internet files like the browser cache and cookies take up a little bit of your C drive space, so clearing those temporary files will grant you some free space.
In Chrome, go to “Settings -> Advanced -> Privacy and security,” then “Clear browsing data.”
In Firefox, go to “Options -> Privacy & Security,” then under “History,” select “clear your recent history.”
In Microsoft Edge, go to “Settings -> Clear browsing data -> Choose what to clear,” and make sure to select the “Cached data” and “Cookies” options.
Remove Old Windows Update Files, Previous Installations
Windows has a tendency to hold onto old (and mostly redundant) system files. For the most part you can delete these files, particularly if you installed your current version of Windows over a previous version. To do this:
1. Open Windows Explorer, right-click the C drive and select “Properties.”
2. Click “Disk CleanUp,” then in the new window click “Clean up system files” to open the advanced disk cleanup window.
4. Select the “Windows upgrade log files” checkbox and, if you have anything there, the “Previous Windows installation(s)” checkbox. Unbeknownst to me, my secondhand laptop still has the “Windows.old” folder from the previous user, using up a whopping 31.5GB of hard drive real estate.
There are other checkboxes here, but for the most part they don’t use up a ton of space and can be left alone. When you’re ready, click “OK” to clean up your hard drive.
It’s good to go through this routine every now and then, but it’s advisable to make sure it doesn’t fill up in the first place.