Managing and Freeing Up Hard Drive Space in Windows 11


We all store files of various types on our computers such as pictures, documents, music files and so on. Plus the software and apps we have installed on our computers have their own files that are placed on your hard drive.

And just like you often run out of space on your smartphone, you can easily do so on your computer as well. Especially if you don’t have a large hard drive and are maybe using a smaller SSD (flash) hard drive. And if you are the type of computer user who is not into managing your files and folders, then things can get out of hand rather quickly

Managing your storage is an important skill to have to help keep your computer healthy and to prevent your hard drive from getting full which can have a serious impact on your computer’s performance, especially when it’s the system drive where Windows 11 is installed.

To get to the Windows storage options you will need to open the Windows settings app and navigate to the System section and finally Storage. From there you will be shown the total size of your hard drive and what percentage of your hard drive space your apps and features are taking up. You will also be shown how much space temporary files are taking up on your drive. You can also click on Show more categories to get a more detailed view of what exactly is using space on your drive.

Windows 11 storage settings


If you were to click on Apps & features you would be shown what apps you have installed on your computer and how much space they are taking. If you were to click on the three vertical dots next to a particular app, you would then have the option to uninstall or modify the app if you needed to remove it or make changes to it. Not all apps will allow you to modify them.

Windows 11 storage app list


Clicking on Temporary files will show you what type of temp files are on your computer and how much space they are consuming. You can then check the box next to each one and click the Remove files button to have those temporary files removed from your hard drive so you can get the space back. Each choice will have a description of what type of files they are so if you are unsure about what they are referring to, you should either leave the box unchecked or do a little research before deleting the files.

Windows 11 storage temporary files


Going back to the main storage screen, you will also see an option that says Cleanup recommendations. This section will show you recommendations made by Windows as to what it thinks you should do to clean up your hard drive.

Windows 11 storage Cleanup recommendations


Finally, you can enable Storage Sense to have Windows automatically remove unneeded files, so you will not need to come here and do it yourself manually every time you want to free up space on your computer.

Windows 11 Storage Sense


You can schedule it to run every day, week, month or when disk space gets low. If you are the type that never cleans out your Recycle Bin then you can have Storage Sense do it for you for files that have been there for a certain amount of time.

Many people download files from the internet to the default Downloads folder and never do anything with them. You can have Storage Sense delete these files if they have not been opened in 1, 14, 30 or 60 days.

If you use OneDrive for your online cloud storage platform then you can also have your older files removed from your local hard drive so that they are only kept remotely in “the cloud” rather than synchronized with both your computer and your online storage repository. This uses the same 1, 14, 30 or 60 day time period.

After you configure your Storage Sense settings, you can then run the service manually by clicking on the Run Storage Sense Now button to begin the process.

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