Running low on Windows PC storage? 3 steps to free up space

Deleting large or junk files is easy; finding them is the hard work.

One issue that affects us all is low storage space. We copy and create new files but forget to delete unneeded ones. Two reasons why you would encounter low storage space are:

  1. Your available storage space is too small for your needs.
  2. You have not been regularly clearing out old / junk / unneeded files

Having successfully resolved this problem many times on both my personal and clients’ PCs, I’ll share three simple things I do. These three steps have helped me free up Tens to Hundreds of Gigabytes in less than 10 minutes.

Who is this tutorial for?

This will come in handy for those who:

  • Have less available storage than they really need but are unable to expand the storage space at the moment
  • Have sufficient storage space for their needs but are now neck-deep in unneeded / unknown files taking up space.

Note: Some large files might have been marked as hidden. Ensure to set your Windows file manager to show hidden files and folders.

Here’s a video explaining the three steps to free up storage space on a Windows PC

Below is a summary of what’s discussed in the video and other points.

Step 1: Clear the Temp folder

The temp (temporary) folder – as the name implies- contains temporary files created by processes and applications on your Windows PC. The problem is that these sometimes accumulate, costing you valuable storage space. I’ve seen a temp folder get as large as 80 GB.

To clear the Windows Temp folder:

  1. Launch the Windows Start Menu by tapping the key with the Windows icon (bottom-left)
  2. Type %temp%
  3. You should see a folder named %temp% in the search result, click it.
  4. You should now be in the C:\Users\~YourUsername~\AppData\Local\Temp folder
  5. Select all items by holding Ctrl + A
  6. Tap the Delete button
in the Windows Temp folder

Step 2: Find large / hidden files files

The goal here is to sort all your files and folders by size (descending order). This not only helps you find the largest space consumers but also discover directories you might not have looked.

A very good tool for this is the Large Files Finder in Advanced System Care

Steps to find large files using Large Files Finder:

  1. Download and install Advanced System Care
  2. Launch Advanced System Care
  3. Click the Toolbox tab
  4. Click Large Files Finder
  5. Click Scan
  6. Wait while the tool scans your Hard Disk
  7. Once the scan is complete,you should see a list of files arranged in descending order of size
  8. Select the file(s) you wish to delete then click Delete (I suggest you run a search if you find a file you don’t recognize)
Advanced System Care Large File Finder

Step 3: Clear the Recycle Bin

I intentionally saved this for last because its easy to forget to Shift + Delete in steps 1 and 2 above. Any file you delete by tapping only the Delete key is sent to the Recycle Bin. While you won’t see this file at its previous location, it’ll keep occupying space unless you clear the bin.

To clear the Recycle Bin:

  1. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop or search for Recycle Bin in the Start Menu
  2. Click Empty Recycle Bin at the top or Ctrl + A and tap Delete.
Windows Recycle Bin

In addition

Windows 10 has Storage Usage under Settings > System > Storage > This PC . This is also very helpful

Has any other tip helped you free up space? Share in the comments below

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