Getting a message that your PC is running out of room can be a stressful event—or, even a genuine emergency if you're in the middle of an important project. The good news is you can probably free up a lot of space by using the following tips. But if you keep getting messages about low drive space, you might want to consider other options, including adding additional removable storage.
To get the most out of these tips, do them in order from top to bottom.
Open This PC by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering This PC in the search box, and then tapping or clicking This PC.
For the drive you want to check, note the amount of space used, space free, and total size.
If you're running low on space, the drive will be marked in red.
Leave this window open, as you can use it to check how much space is available after following the steps in each tip.
Cleaning out your PC on a regular basis frees up drive space and helps it run better. One of the easiest ways to clean up files you no longer need is by using Disk Cleanup.
To open Disk Cleanup from the desktop, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings (or if you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings), tap or click Control Panel, type Admin in the Search box, tap or click Administrative Tools, and then double-tap or double-click Disk Cleanup.
If prompted, tap or click the drive that you want to clean up, and then tap or click OK.
In the Disk Cleanup dialog box in the Description section, tap or click Clean up system files.
You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
In the Disk Cleanup dialog box, on the Disk Cleanup tab, select the check boxes for the file types that you want to delete, and then tap or click OK.
In the message that appears, tap or click Delete files.
Go back to Computer in File Explorer, tap or click the drive you cleaned up, and then tap or click Refresh. If you need to free more space (the drive is still marked red), go to the next tip.
Uninstall desktop apps you don't need anymore in Programs and Features.
Open Programs and Features by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Programs and Features in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Programs and Features.
Tap or click a program, and then tap or click Uninstall, Change, or Repair.
You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
You can also uninstall Store apps you don't want anymore.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)
Enter App sizes, and then tap or click App sizes to see how much space each app is taking on the local drive.
Once you locate an app you want to uninstall, tap or click the app, and then tap or click Uninstall.
Go back to Computer in File Explorer, tap or click the drive you cleaned up, and tap or click Refresh. If you need to free more space (the drive is still marked red), go to the next step.
If you have photos, music, videos, or other files that you want to keep but don't necessarily want on your PC, consider saving them to removable media, such as an external drive, USB drive, DVD, or cloud storage. You'll still be able to view those files as long as your PC is connected to the removable media or cloud storage, but they won't take up space on your PC. For more info, see Copy or move files and folders.
In the Search This PC box in the upper-right, enter size:huge.
Tap or click the View menu, tap or click Sort by, and then tap or click Size. The largest files display at the top.
Once you locate a file you want to delete, press and hold or right-click the file and then tap or click Delete.
Deleting files from the WinSxS folder or deleting the entire WinSxS folder might severely damage your system and make it impossible to restart or update your PC.
The WinSxS folder is located in the Windows folder on your PC (for example, C:\Windows\WinSxS). It stores the Windows Component Store files, which are used to support functions needed to customize and update Windows. You can use the Task Scheduler to reduce the size of this folder.
Enter Control Panel in the search box, and then tap or click Control Panel.
Tap or click System and Security, and then tap or click Schedule tasks under Administrative Tools.
Tap or click the arrow next to Task Scheduler Library, tap or click Microsoft, tap or click Windows, and then tap or click Servicing.
Tap or click StartComponentCleanup, and then tap or click Run under Selected item.
A longer-term strategy for expanding your PC's storage capacity is to add removable storage, including SD cards, USB flash drives, DVDs or CDs, or using cloud storage or network drives.
Removable storage options:
Secure Digital (SD) cards: There are few different types of cards, including SD (32.0x24 mm), miniSD (21.5x20 mm), and microSD (15.0x11 mm). It's important to check with your PC manufacturer to understand which types of SD cards options are available on your PC.
If you're using Surface, you can add up to 64 GB of storage with a microSD card. On Surface RT, the microSD card reader is located under the kickstand on the right side. On Surface Pro, the card reader is located on the right edge, above the power connection.
USB and external drives: Most PCs include one or more USB ports that you can plug a USB flash or external drives into. Some newer PCs include a USB 3.0 port, which includes faster transfer speeds of up to 10 times USB 2.0. While you can use a USB 2.0 flash drive in a USB 3.0 port (at USB transfer speeds), you can't use a USB 3.0 flash drive with a USB 2.0 port. Check with your PC manufacturer to understand which USB ports your PC supports.
DVDs and CDs: If your PC has a CD, DVD, or Blu‑ray Disc drive that can read and write to a blank disc, you can use the drive to store data, much like a SD or USB flash drive. Here's how: When you insert a blank disc into the PC, choose Like a USB flash drive from the list of options.
Cloud storage using SkyDrive:
Windows comes with the SkyDrive app, which helps you get to your free SkyDrive storage in the cloud, sometimes referred to as online storage. You can save files to SkyDrive and work with them in several different ways: on the website (SkyDrive.com), with the
app for SkyDrive and SkyDrive, with the desktop apps for a PC or Mac, and with apps for your mobile devices.