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How To Clean Your Hard Drive and Free Space In Windows 10

If you’re a heavy user of your computer and don’t reboot regularly, you’ve probably noticed your computer getting sluggish after a week. This article and video will show you how to clean your hard drive and free space two different ways in Windows 10.

Disk Cleanup App

The Disk Cleanup app, or utility, has been around for many years and available for Windows users. I started using it in the past couple of years because it seems other cleaners out there (CCleaner, for one), has gotten rather spammy, wanting to install additional software on my system – no thanks!

Windows disk cleanup screen

To get to the app, click your Windows button and start typing Disk Clean and it’ll pop up for you. Just click and it’ll start. It takes maybe 30 seconds or so for it to appear as it’s doing some searching in the background for the files to be deleted.

When it comes up, take a look at the different types of files. Disk Cleanup can delete temporary internet files, downloaded program files, and offline webpages. Disk Cleanup also gives you the option to empty your recycle bin, delete temporary files and thumbnails.

With Disk Cleanup, notice the System Files button (not in this image) – click that to see which system files you might want to delete. After a big upgrade, like I recently did to the Windows 10 Creator’s Update, I had the option to delete my old Windows install – a whopping 16GB! Now Windows will delete this for you after 30 days automatically, but you can choose to remove it sooner, if you wish.

Video That Demos Cleanup of Hard Drive In Windows 10

Use System Settings to Clean Hard Drive

Another way to clean your hard drive and free up space is by using the Windows System Settings. This is a newer way to do things. I first heard about it in Richard Hay’s @WinObs, Windows Observed Tech podcast (one of my favorite podcasts, by the way). He also wrote about disk cleanup over at the SuperSite for Windows, if you’d like to read it. I wanted to write it about it and accompany it with a video for those of you who like consuming vids!

System Settings-Disk Cleanup Screen on Windows 10

I think this way is a bit longer and there aren’t as many choices as in Disk Cleanup, but it’s a way to get a look at where most of your files are.

As you’ll see in the video and below, you can see what your system looks like and where the greatest concentration of files are.

For example, I had a huge amount in Documents and a very small amount in Pictures and Videos. This is because I keep my photos in my OneDrive so I can access them online too.

I show you in the video the different areas available to delete. **Warning** – the temporary files contain your downloads. So don’t go clicking delete willy nilly because they will be gone! I keep quite a bit in my downloads folder, as you can see. This does not work this way using the Disk Cleanup method. This is because in Disk Cleanup, there is an option for emptying downloaded programs, very different from what’s in your download folder!

Remove temporary files using Storage Sense, Windows 10

Read and Use Caution When Cleaning your Hard Drive

If you’re a bit nervous about using these features, here’s an article from Windows SuperSite that has additional information. I’ve yet to have a bad experience using these tools to clear up space on my hard drive. Just take your time.

Good luck, try it out and see if your PC will run a little faster when you clean it out!

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