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HomeTechnologyHow to free up space on Windows 11

How to free up space on Windows 11

  • To free up space on Windows 11, open Settings > System > Storage > Cleanup recommendations, select the files and unused apps, and click on “Cleanup.”
  • You can also open Settings > System > Storage > Temporary files, select the junk files, and click on “Remove files.”
  • In addition, you can open Settings > System > Storage > Storage Sense, select the files to delete to free up space, and click on “Run Storage Sense now.”
  • You can also disable hibernation, run an anti-malware scan, and remove unnecessary apps to regain storage space.

Whenever your Windows 11 computer runs low on space, freeing up space is critical to make room for other files and improve system performance. Operating a device with a full drive will make the system sluggish and cause many errors. You should never use more than 70 percent of the total capacity to avoid performance issues.

Windows 11 offers many ways to free up space when your computer’s hard drive has little available space. Some of the easiest methods include using the Temporary file settings, Cleanup Recommendations, and Storage Sense features. You can also perform other actions, such as disabling hibernation, scanning for malware, uninstalling apps you don’t need, or using excessive storage.

In this guide, I will teach you several easy ways to free up space on Windows 11.

Free up disk space on Windows 11 

These are the top methods you can use to free up disk space on your computer running Windows 11.

1. Cleanup Recommendations

“Cleanup Recommendations” is a feature that automates the process of identifying the contents you can delete to help free up hard drive space on the computer, including junk, unused, large files, and unused apps.

To use Cleanup Recommendations to free up space on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Storage tab.

  4. Click the Cleanup recommendations option under the “Storage management” section.

    Cleanup recommendations

  5. Click on Temporary files.

  6. Check the files to delete to free up space on Windows 11.

    Quick tip: You can also click “See advanced options” to access the “Temporary files” settings to clean up more files.

  7. Click the Clean up button.

    Cleanup temp files recommendations

  8. Click on Large or unused files.

  9. Select the suggested files to free up storage space on Windows 11.

  10. Click the Clean up button.

  11. Click on Files sync to the cloud.

  12. Select the files available locally since they are already in the cloud.

    Windows 11 files cleanup

  13. Click the Cleanup button.

  14. Click on Unused apps.

  15. Select the apps you would like to remove to make more space on the device.

  16. Click the Clean up button.

After you complete the steps, the Cleanup Recommendations features will delete the files to make more space to store other important files. Depending on the amount of data, Windows 11 should improve noticeably.

2. Temporary files

The “Temporary files” settings allow you to delete files that are not critical to running Windows 11. For instance, leftover files after installing a new version, upgrade logs, error reporting, temporary Windows installation files, and many others.

To delete temporary files to free up space on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Storage page on the right side.

  4. Click the Temporary files setting under the “Local Disk” section.

    Open Temporary files

  5. Select the temporary files to remove from Windows 11.

  6. Click the Remove files button.

    Remove Windows 11 temp files

Once you complete the steps, junk files will be removed from your computer, freeing up space for more important files.

3. Storage Sense

“Storage Sense” is another feature that can help you free up space automatically whenever the drive is low on space. It does this by deleting temporary system and apps files, emptying the Recycle Bin and Downloads folder, and converting files already synced to OneDrive to online-only content.

To free up space with Storage Sense on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Storage tab.

  4. Click the Storage Sense setting.

    Open Storage Sense

  5. Check the “Keep Windows running smoothly” option.

  6. Turn on the “Automatic User content cleanup” toggle switch.

    Enable Storage Sense

  7. Under the “Configure cleanup schedules” section, use the “Run Storage Sense” setting and select the “During low free disk space” option.

  8. Use the “Delete files in my recycle bin” setting to choose the files to delete from the Recycle Bin. (Then the 1-day option clears the most files.)

  9. Use the “Delete files in my Downloads folder” to clean up the files from the Downloads folder. (You want to make a copy of any important file before selecting this option.)

  10. Under the “Locally available cloud content” section, use the OneDrive setting and select when synced files should become online-only to free up space.

  11. Click the “Run Storage Sense now” button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 will free up space, making more room to store other files. Also, since you are enabling the feature, Storage Sense will run automatically when there is little available drive space.

4. Disable hibernation 

Although the Hibernate feature allows you to conserve energy, it also requires a large amount of space to work since the content in memory has to be saved on the hard drive to preserve the session state to shutdown the computer. However, you can disable the feature to free up space on your computer.

To disable hibernation to free up disk space on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. (Optional) Search for Command Prompt or PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to disable Hibernate and press Enter:

    powercfg /hibernate off

    Disable Hibernate command


  4. Type the following command to confirm the hibernation has been disabled and press Enter:

    powercfg /availablesleepstates

After you complete the steps, the system will disable the feature, thus freeing up additional disk space on the computer.

5. Scan for malware

A virus or other type of malware can corrupt system files and use storage space to the point that it leaves the drive without space for additional files. You can use Microsoft Defender Antivirus or other third-party tools to scan and remove the malware and free up space. 

To scan and remove a virus or another type of malware affecting the storage space, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Windows Security and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Click on Virus & threat protection.

  4. Click on Scan options under the “Current threats” section.

    Windows Security

  5. Select the Full scan option.

    Full virus scan

  6. Click the Scan now button.

Once you complete the steps, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will scan, detect, and remove virtually any malware that may be causing the device to run out of space.

6. Uninstall apps

On Windows 11, programs can take from a few bytes to many gigabytes. One way you can quickly free up space is by removing those applications that are wasting space or that you rarely use.

To uninstall unnecessary apps to free up drive space on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Apps.

  3. Click the Installed apps tab.

  4. Select the app to remove under the “Apps list” section.

  5. Click the app menu (three dots) button and choose the “Uninstall” button.

    Settings uninstall app

  6. Click the Uninstall button again to confirm.

  7. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

After you complete the steps, the app and any files associated with it will be removed from Windows 11.

If, after using these methods, the computer continues to have low drive space, you may want to try resetting the system or performing a clean install of Windows 11.

Update June 26, 2024: This guide has been updated to ensure accuracy and reflect changes to the process.

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