How to free up storage space by decreasing Windows 10 footprint [tutorial]

Windows 10 has a leaner installation footprint than its predecessors but if you have a laptop with a very limited SSD space, then squeezing every MB from your hard drive is important. Windows 10 usually takes up about 15 GB of hard drive space while default apps may also use about 1GB. Though 1GB may not be much for laptops with hard disc drives, it can be significant for those with devices that has very limited storage space. If you want to free up more storage space, we suggest that you follow the three methods we provide below.

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Method 1: Uninstall Windows 10 default apps

Windows 10 pre-installed apps can take significant space when taken altogether so you’re better off without them in the system, especially if you don’t use them at all. Below are the steps on how to uninstall them.

  1. Click the Start button to open the Start menu.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click System.
  4. Click on Storage.
  5. Click on Apps & features.
  6. Find the default Microsoft app you want to remove and hit the Uninstall button.

Some default apps can’t be removed using the steps above. Apps like Xbox, Mail, Calendar, Maps, Groove Music and Xbox can’t be uninstalled via Settings app. You have to use Powershell commands to uninstall them.

Method 2: Disable Hibernation feature

One way of getting back to the tasks you left in your computer without turning it off completely is by using Hibernation mode. When your computer is on hibernation mode, Windows saves all the currents tasks like open programs and documents in a file called hiberfil.sys file. Depending on programs and documents that are saved, hiberfil.sys file can take several GBs in your hard drive. In general, hibernate feature allocates some hard drive space into hiberfil.sys file, which is

75% of your computer’s RAM. So, for example, if your computer has 8GB of RAM, hiberfil.sys file will take 6GB of the hard drive space.

Turning off hibernation mode if you’re not using it, can save a lot of storage space. If you haven’t tried it before, here’s how:

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Choose Command Prompt (admin).
  3. If User Account Control prompt pops up, select Yes.
  4. In the Command Prompt window, type in powercfg -h off.
  5. Hit Enter key.

The steps above should delete the hiberfil.sys file in your computer as well as remove the hibernate option. You will still be able to put your computer into sleep mode which saves open tasks in RAM instead of your computer’s hard drive.

To enable hibernate feature, simply type in  powercfg.exe /hibernate on in elevated Command Prompt window and press Enter key.

Method 3: Reduce the size of your computer’s paging file

Windows uses virtual memory or paging file to manage excess demands for more memory or RAM. This usually happens if your computer has limited RAM. If your computer regularly runs out of RAM, you can increase the size of the paging file or virtual memory to decrease lag. However, virtual memory can also take up precious storage space, especially if you doesn’t have much left. To manage virtual memory, you need to change the how much GB a paging file uses. Here’s how:

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. If you are in Category View mode, click System and Security. Otherwise, just look for System and click it.
  4. Click on Advanced system settings in the left menu.
  5. Click on Advanced tab.
  6. Click Settings button under Performance section.
  7. Click Advanced tab.
  8. Click Change button under Virtual memory section.
  9. Uncheck the box next to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
  10. Click the circle next to Custom size. Make sure not to go beyond three times the size of your RAM. For example, if your computer has a 4GB RAM, the maximum size of your virtual memory should not go beyond three times the RAM capacity. In our example, 4GB equals 4092 megabytes (MB). So, three time the amount of RAM should be 12,288 megabytes (MB).

If you desperately need more storage space to do important tasks or to save something valuable in your computer temporarily, you can either select No paging file or allow your computer to automatically manage its paging file for you. We don’t recommend not to have a paging file though.


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