How To Free Up Disk Space in Windows 8

How To Free Up Disk Space in Windows 8

Open the Search window.
Open the Search window.

When your PC is filling up, it can start slowing down. Not only will it run slower (because there's less space for the operating system (OS) to use, and it takes longer to move stuff around), but you may find you can't do regular Windows updates or add new programs. When this happens, it's time to clear out programs and data you're not using or no longer need. In this tutorial, I'll take you through the steps of deleting programs in Windows 8/8.1 that may be taking up gobs of space.

The first step is to make absolutely sure you don't need a program. The first rule of thumb: if you don't know what a program does, DO NOT DELETE IT! Yes, I just used all caps. Windows has lots of "under the hood" programs that are essential to the proper operation of your computer, and if you delete one of those, you may very well crash your computer. Only delete a program you know about, and know you don't need anymore. It could be a game you don't play, or a trial version of something you wanted to try but didn't like.

Let's start by pressing the Windows key in the bottom left of your screen. That brings up the main menu. At the top right is the magnifying glass, which is your search button. I've highlighted it with a yellow box. Press it, and it brings up the search window.

Type in "Free" To Bring Up Options

Type in
Type in "Free" To Bring Up Options.

 Start typing "free". You won't get far before results start showing up below the window. The one you want to press is either "Free up disk space on this PC" or "Uninstall apps to free up disk space." Either one brings you to the main screen. All this is highlighted in yellow.

The Main "Free Up Space" Menu

The main
The main "Free Up Space" menu.

This is the main screen for freeing up space on your computer. It tells you at the top how much free space you have, and how much you have total on the hard drive. In my case, it's telling me I have 161GB available, and my total hard drive size is 230GB. In other words, I'm in no danger of running out of space yet, but for this tutorial, I'm going to delete an app anyway.

Notice that there are three categories here, which represent different ways to delete data and reclaim space. The first is "Apps," which we'll be using for this. The others are "Media and files" and "Recycle Bin." I'll show you how to use those another time. For now, I've highlighted "See my app sizes," which tells me that I have 338MB worth of apps on this computer. Press "See my app sizes."

The Apps List

The Apps List.
The Apps List.

This is the list of all the apps I have. I don't have many yet, so the list is short. To the right of each app is the amount of space it's taking up. These are all pretty small; some apps are huge, on the order of gigabytes. The largest one I have is "News," at 155MB. The apps are listed in the order of how big they are, with the largest on top. This is a nice feature, as it helps you see at a glance which apps are your biggest space hogs. Click or press the app you want to delete; in my case, it's the News app.

The App "Uninstall" Button

The app
The app "Uninstall" button.

Pressing the app icon brings up the "Uninstall" button. Press or click the button.

Uninstalling the App.

If you're sure, press
If you're sure, press "Uninstall.".

Pressing "Uninstall" activates a popup that asks you to confirm that you want to uninstall the app and its data. There's also a checkbox that asks if you want to uninstall the app from all synced PCs. So if you have the News app on my Windows Phone, for example, and want to delete it from that, you can.

You don't have to delete it from synced devices; it's your option. But once you press the "Uninstall" button, it will remove it, so, again, make sure you really, really want to delete this app before pressing the button.

The App Is Removed

The App Is Removed.
The App Is Removed.

Windows removes the app. If you've asked it to remove the app from synced devices, it also does that. Once it's done, you should check your apps list and make sure it's gone. As you can see here, it's been removed. 

You can, of course, add the app back at a future time, if you decide you want it back, or remove other apps or data and have room again.