In the life of every Windows user, there comes a time when it is necessary to clean the operating system from various garbage on a large scale. Useless temporary files can be stored on a computer for years, and the installation of major Windows updates leads to the creation of backup files of whole gigabytes – and the most interesting thing is that, with a high degree of probability, you will also never need them for their intended purpose. There are many more types of data in this list, deleting, which will help free up a significant amount of hard disk space.
Collected the main options, what you should pay attention to if you need to quickly and without problems return the full memory. No third-party tools are required.
Use the OS built-in disk cleanup utility.
For large-scale cleaning, it is better to use the system utility of the same name “Disk Cleanup”: in Windows 10, it is available in the “Settings” application (“System” → “Storage”), in earlier versions of Windows – through the “Properties” menu when you right-click on disk used in Explorer. The largest files are in the Temporary Files category. These are previous Windows installations, update log files, delivery optimization files, internet files, diagnostic data, and more. Taken together, deleting them will help free up tens of gigabytes, so it is recommended to check more often how much has accumulated over the past few months and remove all garbage promptly.
Delete history, caches, and other data in the browser
Any visited website is saved in history, and its elements (images, videos, sounds, etc.) are cached for faster loading later. This is definitely handy in the context of bookmarks, as your favorite websites are opened dozens of times every day. But for one-time visits to random pages, this “concern” of the browser turns into a huge data log that can take up a considerable piece of the total computer memory. See how you are doing and clean what you think is unnecessary. Free up a few hundred megabytes exactly, at least. And a nice plus: today, most browsers support deleting data on close. The application will clean the selected items by itself.
Delete unused accounts and their data
In addition to the primary owner, family and friends can also use the computer. Naturally, everyone has a separate desktop, their own set of files, and different tasks. For this, additional accounts are usually created, each of which accordingly stores its own data. If you are not currently giving access to other users, then delete their accounts. All personal files, including documents, photos, music, and downloads, will be deleted.
How to delete accounts and family data:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to the “Accounts” section.
- In the sidebar, click Family & Others.
- Select an account that is no longer in use and click the “Delete” button.
- Confirm your choice by clicking the “Delete account and data” button.
Move some of your local files to the cloud.
Microsoft’s free OneDrive service offers 5GB of cloud storage. The base volume in a similar “Google Drive” is 15 GB. The first is already built into Windows 10 for all users. The second can be integrated by turning it into a folder in Explorer. That’s 20GB of extra memory – why not find a practical use for it? Now many people have fast and stable Internet. You can convert some local files to the cloud and open them online. Surely some non-persistent files are required at a certain moment – the cloud is ideal for them.
How to enable OneDrive files on-demand:
- Click on the OneDrive icon in the lower-right corner of the taskbar.
- Click Help & Options and go to Options.
- In the “Files on-demand” section, check the box “Save space and download files as you use them.”
- Click “OK” to save the settings.
After that, move the files to the OneDrive folder and make them available online only, that is, with an internet connection. Follow these steps:
- Open File Explorer.
- Go to the OneDrive folder in the sidebar.
- Select files and folders.
- Right-click and click Free up space.
Disable hibernation if you don’t need it
Windows 10 saves an array of data to the hard drive before each shutdown to preserve the current session. When you start your computer again, the hibernation cache allows you to resume where you left off in the past. Although this is a convenient feature, it is not useful for everyone, and it takes a lot of gigabytes of space to save information in the hiberfil.sys file. If your computer runs out of memory, deleting the hibernation cache will free up space for more significant files.
How to disable the hibernation cache:
- Open the “Command Prompt,” always in administrator mode.
- Enter the command “powercfg / hibernate off“ and press Enter.
- Done! The hibernation cache has stopped working and will no longer store files.
If your computer is on the network and you do not use hibernation, then:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to the “System” section.
- In the side menu, click Power & Sleep.
- Under the Hibernate heading, Select NEVER from the drop-down lists and save your changes.
- Open the Run utility (Windows Key + R).
- Enter the command “powercfg -h off“…
- Click “OK” to save the settings.
After completing the above, hibernation will be disabled, and the hiberfil.sys file will be deleted.
Remove offline maps, unnecessary languages , and components
Check if your computer has offline maps (cities or countries) for Windows Maps, extra language packs (display languages or system languages), and additional components (Windows Media Player, Windows Hello facial recognition, additional fonts, remote administration tools), mathematical sign recognizer, and the like). Feel free to delete unused and other things that you probably even see for the first time.
How to remove offline maps: “Options” → “Applications,” → “Offline maps” → Delete all maps. “
How to remove language packs: “Options” → “Time and language,” → “Language,” → “Preferred languages,” → “Delete.”
How to remove additional components: “Options” → “Applications” → Applications and features “→” Applications and features “→” Additional components “→” Uninstall. “
Empty trash and delete old download files
Of course, the most obvious but equally effective way is to regularly empty the Trash and keep an eye on the Downloads folder. To simplify the procedure, I advise you to enable Memory Sense. Then the process will be automated. The computer will automatically reclaim space only at the right time when there is not enough space on the disk. The function removes unnecessary temporary files, the contents of the recycle bin, and the downloads folder. Cleaning can also be configured according to a schedule you set: for example, not specifically at the moment when memory runs out, but daily or every month, while files from the recycle bin and downloads can be deleted even more often – after a day or two weeks (deadlines include 30 and 60 days).
Try third-party Windows cleaning programs.
Specialized programs with appropriate tools can effectively clean Windows from the garbage. They provide more advanced diagnostics for the operating system and identify more than just unwanted files. In addition to standard methods, in most cases, scanning also includes detecting problems that affect work speed, errors leading to software failures, removing damaged keys, invalid registry entries, and duplicates. Additional features include checking browser extensions and correctly compressing the WinSxS system catalog.
- Piriform СCleaner. Cleaning system directories and crash dumps, temporary files, registry, old files, and logs, recycle bin, application and browser data, checking browser extensions, managing startup objects, controlling Windows processes, uninstalling applications.
- Wise Disk Cleaner. Scan disk for junk files, clean system directories and crash dumps, Windows components, temporary files, outdated backups, registry, old files and logs, recycle bin, application, and browser data.
- Dism ++. Creating and managing system images, managing startup objects, configuring Windows, cleaning system catalogs and crash dumps, temporary files, search history and installation of updates, Microsoft Store service data.
- Auslogic BoostSpeed. Cleaning temporary files, registry, old files, and logs, recycle bin, application and browser data, Microsoft Office caches, system diagnostics and disk scanning for junk files, uninstalling applications, managing startup objects, reducing Windows size, defragmenting disks, optimizing system settings.