6 Things That are Taking up Too Much Space on Your PC

Discover what's taking up all that space on your hard drive

It's easy for your Windows PC to run low on space, especially if you've used the system for a while. Fortunately, there are some ways in which you can check free hard drive space to work out what files and things are taking up too much space on your PC. Here's a look at the key issues. 

What’s Taking up So Much Space on My PC?

One of the simplest places to look for items taking up a lot of space on your PC is the Recycle Bin. 

The Recycle Bin is where your deleted files go. Files aren't automatically deleted. Instead, they are marked for deletion and placed in the Recycle Bin. That gives you some time to restore the files if you have mistakenly deleted one, but it can take up a lot of space. Windows 10 allocates 10% of the available space on your hard drive for deleted files and that can soon add up. 

Empty the Recycle Bin by searching for Recycle Bin then clicking Empty Recycle Bin on the Recycle Bin Tools tab. 

What Is Taking up All My Storage?

Windows 10 and above offers some insight into what could be installed on your system and therefore taking up so much room. Click Settings > System > Storage to view the total space you have available, along with what space has been used across different categories. 

Click Show more categories to get full insight into where all your storage space is going. 

Also in Storage, you can toggle Storage Sense on to allow Windows to automatically free up space by deleting unnecessary files occasionally. 

Do I Need Temporary Files?

Temporary files are often needed for Windows 10 but, well, their purpose is temporary. Sometimes, those files can hang around for longer than you want them to.

Delete them using Disk Cleanup. Search for Disk Cleanup then click your hard drive. Click Clean up system files to remove all unnecessary system files. This includes temporary files, temporary internet files, the recycle bin contents, and any other files no longer needed.

Can Photos and Videos Take Up a Lot of Space?

Yes, photos and videos are often the main files taking up a lot of the space on your PC hard drive. A good idea is to store them elsewhere. It is possible to store them on the cloud using OneDrive which is built into Windows 10 and 11. 

Using OneDrive means you can easily store large files on the cloud so you can access them through your PC any time you have an internet connection. It's ideal for photos and videos, as well as any other files you may only occasionally need to look at.

In File Explorer, select the OneDrive folder then select the files and folders taking up the most space. Right-click the file or folder and click Free up space to make the files online-only, freeing up space on your PC. 

Do Apps Take up Space?

If you have a lot of apps and programs installed on your PC, they can take up a lot of space. Games can be particularly large so it's a good idea to uninstall apps you don't use very often. 

If you're not sure which apps are taking up the most space, click Settings > Apps > Apps & Features then click the size filter next to Sort By to view the largest apps. 

How Can Multiple Users Take up Space?

If you've previously shared a computer with someone and they have their own user account, the items they've stored definitely take up space Deleting users in Windows 10 and 11 is a simple matter of going to Settings then clicking Accounts, Family & Other users, then clicking remove next to the account no longer in use.

By doing so, this deletes all that user's data from the PC. This includes items on their desktop, downloads, documents, photos, music, and other files. 

Check with the user to ensure they no longer need the files before deleting their profile.

  • How do I get more disk space on a PC?

    If these tips don't work, the next easiest way to expand your storage is with an external hard drive. Doing so is often cheaper and easier than upgrading your internal drive, and you can at least double your space instantly.

  • How do I see what's taking up disk space on a PC running Windows 7?

    First, open the File Explorer and click Computer to see all of your available drives. Then, select any of them to see both taken and available space. Right-click and choose Properties to open another window with even more information. Near the bottom of the General tab, click Disk Cleanup to remove temporary files.

Was this page helpful?