15 ways to free up C drive space on Windows 10

When you use Windows 10, the C drive (operating system installation) space on your computer will gradually fill up over time. Causes lags, program freezes or difficulty finding important documents. It’s a warning sign that it’s time to clean up your computer’s entire hard drive

You can rely on the following 15 methods to free up disk space in Windows 10. Some methods help you free up tens of gigabytes, while others only add a few MB.

Free up C drive space by cleaning Recycle Bin

When you delete folders or files on your desktop, Windows 10 won’t delete them completely. Instead, it will store them in the Recycle Bin. That allows you to recover deleted files if you change your mind later.

If you don’t plan on recovering any deleted files or folders, you can choose to empty the Recycle Bin. To do that, right click on the . icon Recycle Bin on the screen and select Empty Recycle Bin. Alternatively, you can open the Recycle Bin and delete the files that are inside it.

Free up C drive space by cleaning Recycle Bin

You can also delete files permanently without saving them to the trash by pressing Shift + Delete after selecting that file.

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Delete files in download folder

The Downloads folder on your Windows 10 PC is where the files and program installers you’ll rarely use again.

Open File Explorer and select This PC > Downloads on the left menu bar. Then delete any files you feel are unnecessary. You can also convert the folder to List and filter files by Size to locate and remove the items that take up the most space.

Delete download folder

Remove unnecessary apps

Removing unnecessary applications and programs from the computer is another way to free up C drive space in Win 10.

Open menu Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & Features. Then, scroll through the list, select the apps you don’t use anymore, and press Uninstall to delete them.

Remove unwanted apps

Use Files On-Demand in OneDrive

OneDrive is built into Windows 10 and lets you back up documents and photos to the cloud easily. It also supports file-on-demand functionality, allowing you to download backed up files to local storage only when needed.

To enable files on demand in OneDrive, select the . icon OneDrive on the taskbar, select Help & Settings > Settings. On the Microsoft OneDrive dialog, switch to tab Settings and tick the dialog box Save space and download files as you use them.

With Files On-Demand active, you can directly offload backed up files and folders whenever you want by right-clicking and selecting Free up space.

Use Files On-Demand in OneDrive

Use Temporary in Settings

Windows 10’s Settings app comes with disk analysis to help you identify the data types that use the most memory on your PC, and then recommend appropriate treatment methods.

You can access it by going to Start > Settings > System > Storage. You will then see a list of categories like Apps & Features, Temporary Files, Pictures, Music, etc., delete large programs and files to free up C drive space.

Access to Temporary Files, you’ll see a list of temporary file areas, such as the Downloads folder, the Recycle Bin, and the Windows Update cache. Next, select what you want to delete and select Remove files.

Use Temporary in Settings

Enable Storage Sense to free up disk space

The Storage above also comes with a feature called Storage Sense. You can enable it and give Windows 10 permission to automatically delete temporary files on your computer.

Go Start > Settings > System > Storage > Configure Storage Sense or run it now to access Storage Sense settings.

Then turn on the switch below Storage Sense to enable the feature. You can adjust the settings to determine how Storage Sense works. For example, you can specify when it should run (e.g. when disk space is running low), how often to delete the contents inside the Recycle Bin and Downloads folders, etc.

Activate Storage Sense

You can also choose to run Storage Sense manually. Just scroll to the bottom of the screen and select Clean now .

Using Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup allows you to delete temporary files quickly to free up C drive space. You can show it by searching Disk Cleanup on the menu Start. Select the types of data you want to delete — for example: Windows Update Cleanup, Temporary Internet Files, System error memory dump files, etc. Then, select OK .

Using Disk Cleanup

Delete other temporary files

Temporary files are data files generated by the application to store temporary information. Sometimes, these temporary files are not automatically deleted, which wastes memory and slows down the computer.

Press Windows + CHEAP to open the Run box. Then type %temp% and choose OK.

Delete other temporary files

Then the screen will show the folder containing the temporary files and then you can press the key combination Ctrl + A > Press Delete.

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Clear browser cache

As you surf the internet, the browser caches data to make subsequent website visits faster. But if storage is running low, you can quickly free up about 500 megabytes to a gigabyte by clearing your browser’s cache.

Google Chrome

Open menu Chrome and choose Settings > Privacy and security > Clear browsing data.

On the Clear browsing data dialog box, set Time range Fort All time and tick Cached images and files. Finally, choose Clear data.

Clear browser cache

Mozilla Firefox

Open menu Firefox and go to Options > Privacy and security > Clear Data (in section Cookies and Site Data) > press Clear.

Microsoft Edge

Open menu Edge and choose Settings. Then switch to tab Privacy, search, and services on the menu bar and select Choose what to clear in Clear browsing data.

Next, put Time range Fort All time, choose Cached images and files, then select Clear data.

Find large files with WinDirStat

WinDirStat is a free and open source application that allows you to locate large files and folders on your computer. After installing and opening the program, select the drive or partition to scan. You’ll then see a list of the folders that take up the most storage space, including as a percentage of the drive size.

Find large files with WinDirStat

After WinDirStat has finished scanning the drive, you will also see multiple colored blocks representing the files (by format) on the selected drive. The larger the size, the more space they take up. You can right-click an item and select Explorer Here to view (and delete) it in File Explorer.

Delete hibernation file to free up disk space

Hibernation is a handy option that allows your system to reboot quickly. It works by saving your current user configurations (such as programs, files, and folders) to a temporary hard drive. When you enable Hibernate, it stores all your data on local disk, creating files hiberfil.sys

The problem with Hibernation is that the file associated with the process can grow. It can become a huge amount on a hard drive, taking up tens of gigabytes. So, if you don’t mind skipping the use of Hibernate, you can choose to disable it to free up C drive space.

If you want to remove Hiberfil.sys, you must first disable the Hibernation option. Right click on the button Start and choose Windows PowerShell (Admin). Then run the command below:

powercfg -h off
Delete hibernate file

After you disable Hibernate, Windows automatically deletes hiberfil.sys. If you want to double check it’s gone. Open File Explorer. Then choose File > Change folder and search options.

On the Folder Options dialog box, switch to the . tab View and choose Show hidden files, folders, and drives. Finally, open the Windows 10 installation drive – Local Disk (C:). If you don’t see hiberfil.sys, the process was successful.

Delete old user accounts

If your computer has multiple Windows 10 user accounts, you may want those that are no longer in use. Note: you will permanently lose all data associated with the accounts you delete.

Start by opening the menu Start. Then go to Settings > Accounts > Family & other users, select an account from the section Other users and choose Remove.

Delete old user accounts

Turn off system restore on Windows

System Restore is a handy backup function that helps you restore your computer to an earlier state if something goes wrong. But it also uses a large amount of storage space. So, when you’re running low on memory, you can choose to delete all but the most recent System Restore to free up C drive space.

To do that, open the utility Disk Cleanup, choose Clean up system files, switch to tab More Options and choose Clean up > Delete.

How to free up C drive space in Windows 10 by disabling system restore

To completely disable System Restore, open Run, type sysdm.cpl and choose OK. On the System Properties dialog box, select System Protection > Configure > choose Disable system protection.

Reduce the size of Windows 10

You can reduce the size of Windows 10 itself to free up C drive space by activating a feature called CompactOS. It compresses operating system files to save disk space.

Start by right clicking the button Start. Then choose Windows PowerShell (Admin) and run the following command:

Compact.exe /CompactOS:query

If you find that CompactOS isn’t working on your system yet, run the following command to enable it:

Compact.exe /CompactOS:always
How to free up C drive space by reducing the size of Windows 10

Turn off reserve memory

Windows 10 uses a feature called Reserved Storage to make sure it has enough space to download and install future operating system updates. But that also leads to many gigabytes of lost space. So you can choose to disable storage to free up C drive space if you want.

Start by pressing Windows + CHEAP to open the Run box. Then type regedit and choose OK. On the Registry Editor window that appears, enter the following path in the address bar and press Enter:


Turn off reserve memory

Double click ShippedWithReserves. Then choose Value Data Fort 0, choose OK. Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.


Here are a few helpful ways to help you clean free up C drive space on Windows 10. Hope we’ve helped you know how to free up hard drive space effectively without deleting your favorite software. Follow ThuthuatIT to be updated with the best articles about technology!


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