It’s hard to imagine our lives without computers, since they make our everyday life easier thanks to those countless ways they can be used for both work and personal purposes. However, there’s one problem that affects all of them: lack of space. The urge to clean some space to store more data is not only a hard and tricky task to perform, but it’s also one that we have to undertake far too often. But what can users do to save valuable space without compromising their PCs?
Fortunately, Windows 10 is intelligent enough to bring some features designed precisely for this purpose: in fact, you’ll only need to do two or three things in order to get rid of unnecessary files safely and automatically. However, users can resort to other cleaning solutions by third parties, too, making it easier to free up valuable storage space.
Using Windows-Provided Tools
For those who have computers completely filled with junk the best way to regain some space is by using the native tools provided by Windows 10.
The first option is pretty self-explanatory, since the only thing you need to do is to go to your system’s settings and find out what’s taking up so much space. In order to do so, perform the following: Start menu -> Settings gear -> System -> Storage -> This PC (C:)
Once the system’s current state is evaluated, it’s time to start the cleanup process by emptying the recycle bin, deleting temporary and downloaded files or turning on storage sense. To get rid of temporary files, go to Settings -> System -> Storage -> This PC -> Temporary files, tick the relevant box and simply delete the accumulated junk. And to activate Storage sense, visit Settings -> System -> Storage and enable this feature.
This feature is suitable for various purposes and it will definitely take care of most files hogging your computer’s storage space. It’s also a safe way to remove the unnecessary files without accidentally deleting something that is vital for the PC to work correctly.
To launch Disk Cleanup just type in the name of the tool in the Start menu or in the magnifying glass next to it and hit enter. Depending on the number and formatting of the hard drives you may need to select which part of your computer should be inspected. But once the ‘patient’ is selected, the app starts scanning the chosen area automatically displaying just how much space can be saved using the program.
But at the bottom of the same window there’s the option to clean up system files, where more GBs of space can be recovered. This is where you can delete the Windows.old folder or reduce the size of the WynSxS one, for instance.
Removing Old Configurations
The Windows.old folder only appears for those users who upgraded to Windows 10 from previous versions. This folder holds a copy of previous configuration files used before the upgrade, occupying several GBs of storage space. In other words, they can be erased for good, especially once the upgrade turns irreversible. To do so, just search the Previous Windows Configurations folder and hit delete. However, if your computer came with Windows 10 by default, skip this step.
The WinSxS Folder
Although Microsoft claims that the WinSxS folder cannot be fully removed, some of its content can indeed be deleted to save up some space. For those who have never heard of it before, WinSxS is a folder which is located inside the Windows folder – usually at C:\Windows\WinSxS – holding the so-called Windows Component Store files.
In a nutshell, this is the folder responsible for your Windows Update to work properly, hence why Microsoft highly discourages users from tampering with it, since deleting the wrong file or the entire folder can damage a computer to such extent it could neither update the system, nor boot again.
By default, the latest versions of Windows 10 are capable of cleaning this folder safely and automatically once a new update is installed. But for those who are still interested in performing manual cleanups, here’s what to do: open Disk Cleanup, click on Clean up system files, then select Windows upgrade log files.
Disabling the Hibernation Feature
This is a hidden trick many people aren’t aware of, but one that can actually save a lot of drive space: in fact, the file responsible for the hibernation feature (hiberfil.sys) occupies 75% of a computer’s RAM.
Long story short, the hibernation feature allows PCs to start up faster by performing a pseudo-shutdown after saving all your work to the hard drive. Obviously, disabling the hibernation feature will prevent you from using Windows 10’s fast startup, but if you are not bothered by that and rather shut down your computer using the regular way, then turn this feature off. Here’s what to do: right click on the start menu, launch Command Prompt (Admin), type in ‘powercfg.exe /hibernate off’, and then simply hit enter.
Once the computer boots up again after the obligatory restart, the hibernation state never returns, thus saving you some precious GBs. You can reverse this step, though, just by performing the above steps and typing in the opposite command, which is:
powercfg.exe /hibernate on
Using Other Tools
Those who don’t want to get their hands ‘dirty’ by tampering with the computer’s sensible settings can always resort to other tools to do the job for them. Many modern registry cleaners are in fact equipped with various computer optimization solutions that you can further customize through various settings and preferences.
It’s best to choose one that offers such features like disk cleaning and defragmentation, a steady and editable repair section and the option to restore deleted files in case something goes wrong. Although you’ll have to install yet another program that will take up some more space, it’s a sacrifice worth to be made in order to have a healthier computer.
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