Free Up Disk Space by Deleting Windows Files & Folders

If your Windows computer has less hard disk capacity and doesn’t have space to save new files then here are the Windows files & folders you can delete to free up disk space. 

Windows automatically creates temporary, cache, junks, hibernation files. These files & folders are useless. If you do not delete these files, your computer may lack disk space.

Let’s start deleting Windows files & folders that you don’t really need. 

1. Delete Windows Temp Folder

All the temporary files created by Windows Operating System and other third-party software programs are stored inside the “Temp” folder on your computer. It is safe to delete Temp files and folders. 

To delete Temp files, first open the Windows run dialog box by pressing ‘Win + R’ key then enter “%temp%” and press OK. This command will open the Temp folder.

To manually delete the  temp files, first press ‘Çtrl + A’ to select all the files, then hit the ‘Shift + Del’ key on the keyboard to permanently delete all the selected files. If you just press ‘Del’, all the deleted files will be stored in the recycle bin which doesn’t help in cleaning disk space. 

delete temp files in windows

2. Delete Hibernation Files

In case you are not using hibernate sleeping mode feature in your computer, it is safe to delete all the files associated with hibernate. 

Here we first disable hibernate. Press ‘Win + X’ then click on command prompt (admin) to run command prompt as administrator. Paste the following command to disable hibernation. 

powercfg.exe /hibernate off

When you run this command, Windows Operating System will automatically delete a hibernation file called hiberfil.sys. In case it is not deleted, you can delete it manually.

3. Empty Recycle Bin

In Windows computers, recycle bin stores all the recently deleted files. When you select files and press the ‘Del’ key or Delete icon only, all the files are moved from that folder and stored in the recycle bin. 

Cleaning files from the recycle bin can help you to free up disk space. Go to Recycle bin, select all the files and click on Empty Recycle Bin or just press ‘Del’ key. 

4. Delete Windows.old folder

In your computer, the Windows.old folder is created by Windows Operating System when you upgrade from one version to another. All the system data and files of the previous version are stored in this folder which helps you to downgrade to a previous version of Windows easily. 

Windows.old folder can take up 20GB or more hard disk space. The space it will take depends on how large your previous version was. 

If you are happy with the current Windows version and don’t want to downgrade to the previous version then it is safe to delete this folder. 

Most of the time, Windows automatically deletes the Windows.old folder from your computer after a month to manage disk space. In case it is not deleted, you have to delete it from your computer manually. 

You can’t delete this folder like you do other normal folders. That’s why you should follow every step that I have explained here.

Step 1: Click the Windows start button and search for the “Disk Cleanup tool” and then launch this tool. Another method, open the File Explorer, right-click the ‘C’ drive, select Properties, and then click the “Disk Cleanup” on the General tab.

Step 2: Click the “Clean up system files” button. 

Step 3: On the disk cleanup window, click the Previous Windows installation(s) or Windows Update Cleanup to erase system files of the previous version. 

windows update cleanup

You can use this disk cleanup tool to empty the recycle bin, delete temporary files, erase language resources files and erase Windows upgrade log files. 

5. Delete Temporary Internet Files

To improve browser caching in Windows Internet Explorer, Windows Operating System stores web pages on the hard disk. We don’t use Internet Explorer enough but there might be temporary internet files stored. 

We use the Disk Cleanup tool to delete temporary internet files. Launch the disk cleanup tool as described earlier then click the “Clean up system files” button. On the disk cleanup window, click the Temporary Internet Files to remove internet files from your hard disk.

erase temporary internet files

6. Remove Offline Webpages

Internet Explorer provides an option to  save the web page by clicking the ‘Make Available offline’ option. Windows stores offline web pages on your hard disk so that you can open & view these web pages without an internet connection. 

With the Disk Cleanup tool, we can remove offline webpages. Go to the disk cleanup tool as described earlier. On the disk cleanup window, select the offline webpages option to remove them.

remove offline webpages

7. Delete Thumbnails

In the Disk Cleanup tool, there is another option called Thumbnails. Windows automatically creates a thumbnail cache for each photo, video, and document. When you open a folder, these thumbnails are quickly displayed.  

It is also safe to delete thumbnails. If you delete it, Windows operating system will automatically recreate the thumbnail of files when needed. 

Go to the disk cleanup tool as described earlier. On the disk cleanup window, select the Thumbnail option to erase the thumbnail cache from your computer.

delete thumbnails with disk cleanup

Conclusion:

Windows computers have many unnecessary files and folders and deleting these files won’t harm your computer. You should launch the disk cleanup tool at least once a month and then erase the files that were discussed above. 

You can also uninstall the unnecessary Windows or third-party software and then remove the files associated with these softwares from your computer. It will free up a lot of space. 

Read Also: How to Optimize your PC for Better Performance

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