How to Check, Manage and Free up Disk Space on Windows 11

Hard Disk

If your PC is running out of disk space, this guide will show everything you need to know to free up the disk space on your Windows 11 PC.

In these modern times, Storage is more affordable than ever, and yet no matter how much storage (hard disk) you add to your computer or upgrade your hardware, it never seems to be enough. As the quality of media files, games, apps and the operating system improves, the storage space needed to store them also increases along with them.

When you use your computer systems for a long period, the memory space fills up gradually over time with unnecessary data, cache, junk files, temporary files, large archives, download files, and more. These files clutter your PC and cause you to run out of free drive space on your computer.

If your system is running low on free space, you won’t be able to install important Windows updates, store files, or install new apps. It can also cause your system to malfunction, slow down, and lag. So it is imperative that you routinely check your disk and free up disk space on your PC. In this article, we will discuss the various ways to check, manage, and clear disk space on Windows 11.

Check Hard Drive Space on Windows 11

You need to regularly check how much space has been used on your device, what’s taking up space on your hard drive, and how much free disk space is available to make sure you don’t run out of free drive space on your computer and to keep the system running smoothly. There are several ways you can check your drive space in Windows 11.

1. Check the Disk Usage using File Explorer

To check disk usage on your system, first, open File Explorer on your Windows 11 PC.

Click ‘This PC’ on the left navigational panel and expand the ‘Device and drives’ section in the File Explorer. Here, you will see the total size and free space available on each drive of your computer.

To know more details of a drive, right-click the drive and select ‘Properties’ from the context menu.

In the General tab of the dialog box, you will see all the details about the drive, including drive capacity, used space, and available space (in bytes and GBs).

2. Check the Disk Usage using Windows 11 Settings

To see space taken up by the apps and files on the hard drive, right-click on the Windows 11 ‘Start’ menu and select ‘Settings’ or press Win+I.

Click on ‘System’ on the left navigation pane and then scroll down and select ‘Storage’ on the right pane.

On the Storage settings page, you’ll see what takes up space under the Local Disk (C:) and you’ll see how much free space is available. To see more categories of storage usage, click ‘Show more categories’. To manage a category, click on it.

To see and manage storage usage for all drives on your computer, scroll down the Storage settings page and click ‘Advanced storage settings’. And then, click ‘Storage used on other drives’ on the options that appear under Advanced storage settings.

Now, you’ll see the list of all the drives connected to your computer along with how much storage is used and free space available on each drive. If you want to view the category-wise storage usage of a drive, click on that drive.

On the next page, you’ll see the list of all the categories of data and their storage usage on the drive as shown below. You’ll get an overview of what takes up space on the drive such as system files, apps, and features, games, temporary files, Documents, OneDrive files, Pictures, Music, Videos, etc.

You can see more details of a category and manage it by selecting a category. For example, if we select the ‘System & reserved’ category, we’ll see how much space the Windows OS (system) files, reserved storage, virtual memory, and hibernation feature take up on your C drive.

If you selected one of the other drives and selected a category (For instance, Others), you will the list of folders along with sizes.

You will see your folders will be ordered by their size in descending order as shown below.

3. Check Apps/Programs Disk Space Usage via Settings

You can also check the app or program’s disk space usage using Windows 11 settings.

Open Windows 11 Settings app, click ‘Apps’ in the left navigation panel, and select ‘Installed apps’.

Here, you can view the list of installed apps along with disk usage on your computer. You can filter them by the drive and sort them by size, date, and name.

4. Check Disk Usage using Third-party Apps

There are several free disk analyzer (also called Storage analyzer) that allows you to scan your drive and see exactly what’s using space on your hard drives (in a graphical representation). It can help you see which folders and files are taking up large chunks of space, where all that space is being wasted, which in turn will make it easier for you to clean up unwanted data or move large files to a different location to quickly free up space.

One of such best disk analyzers is WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics), which can scan your drive or a folder and provides a graphical representation of your drive(s) or folder. Download and install the app from the above link. After installing the app, launch it.

In the WinDirStart-Select Drives dialog box, you can choose to scan all local drives, or individual drives, or a specific folder. Select your desired option and click ‘OK’.

Once the scan is complete, you’ll see a color-coded graphical representation of the disk space usage of each file and folder on the drive as shown below.

Here’s the list of other third-party apps you can use to analyze your disk:

Free Up Disk Space on Windows 11

If your computer is running out of disk space. You may want to clean up the disk of unnecessary and unused data to prevent your system from getting clogged or sluggish. There are several ways to clean up your drive on Windows 11 by deleting unwanted apps, cleaning temporary files, deleting large files, and more. In this section, we will explore the different ways to free up disk space on Windows 11.

1. Reclaim Hard Disk Space After Upgrading to Windows 11

When you upgrade your PC to Windows 11, the upgrading process creates a copy of the previous Windows installation (recovery files) with the folder name ‘Windows.old‘, which takes up around 12-20 GB of the Windows drive (C:) space. It also leaves behind some temporary and unwanted files from the previous Windows version.

The whole purpose of these recovery files is that if something goes wrong during the upgrade process or if you don’t like the new Windows version or if you’re facing compatibility issues, you can always restore the previous version using these files.

However, if you are happy with Windows 11 and your hard disk space is running low, you can safely delete the previous Windows installation and its associated files to free up some huge storage space. If you have big capacity hard disks such as 1TB or 2TB or above, you probably don’t need to do this. But if you have SSD storage devices (which are usually come with smaller capacities like 128GB, 256 GB, 500 GB, etc.) or if the hard drive is running low, then you could probably use the disk space. Follow these steps to reclaim the lost disk space on Windows 11:

First, open Windows settings using the Win+I shortcut. Then, click on ‘System’ on the left navigation pane and then scroll down and select ‘Storage’ on the right pane.

In the Storage settings, click ‘Cleanup recommendations’ under Storage management.

On the next screen, click or tap the ‘Temporary files’ option.

Once the scan is complete, check the box next to Previous Windows installation(s) under Temporary files and click the ‘Clean up’ button. As you can see, in the example below, we can get back about 12 GB of storage space with this process.

It will take a few minutes to complete and once it’s done you will have freed up a significant amount of storage on your drive.

2. Free up Disk Space using Cleanup recommendations

In Windows 11 settings, there’s a feature called ‘Cleanup recommendations’ which helps you to easily free up disk space from the Windows drive.

To access ‘Cleanup recommendations’, open Windows 11 Settings app, then go to System > Storage > Cleanup recommendations

On the Cleanup recommendations settings page, you will see the list of four drop-down menus like Temporary files, Large or unused files, Files synced to the cloud, and Unused apps. You can click on each dropdown and choose the recommended items to delete.

Temporary Files

When you click or tap the ‘Temporary files’ option, you’ll see a few files from Previous Windows installations(s), Downloads, and Recycle Bin. You can check the options and click ‘Clean up’ to free up space. To see more clean-up options, click ‘See advanced options’.

When you select ‘See advances options’, you’ll see the list of temporary files you can remove in descending order by their size. Check the boxes next to the temporary files you want to remove from your computer and click the ‘Remove files’ button.

Some of these files are stored to ensure the proper function of your devices, so only delete the files that you deem unnecessary.

Large or unused files

If you open the Large or unused files drop-down, you will the large and unused files listed in descending order by their size. Select the files you want to remove by checking the boxes next to them and clicking the ‘Clean up’ button below.

Files Synced to cloud

In this option, you will see the list of files that you can delete from your computer that is already synced to your cloud service (One Drive). Select the files you want to remove and click ‘Clean up’.

Unused apps

Under this drop-down, select the unused app that you want to remove to free up some space and click ‘Clean up’.

Remember, you don’t need to delete everything suggested by the Cleanup recommendations but only the files that you think are unnecessary. 

3. Clear Space by Deleting the Unnecessary or Unused User Accounts

When you create a new user account on your Windows PC, a folder by the same name is also created, which takes up very little space on your drive. However, once that user logs in for the first time and starts using that account, these folders can become quite sizable. Because Windows creates a profile for each user account that contains all that user’s necessary files and settings including the files added to default library folders.

So, you can also free up some space on your C drive or OS drive by getting rid of unnecessary or unused user accounts on your PC. Here’s how you do this:

First, open Windows 11 Settings app, go to System > Storage as we did in the above section.

On the Storage page, click the ‘Other people’ option under Local Disk (C:).

On the Other people page, you can see the total storage space used by other user accounts on this PC. You can reduce this size, by removing the unwanted user accounts. To do that click, the ‘Manage other people’ setting link.

This will direct you to the Family & other users’ settings page. Alternatively, you can open this settings page directly by going to ‘Accounts’ in the left pane of the Settings app and selecting ‘Family & other users’ on the right. Here, you will see the list of other users on your Windows 11 PC.

Select the user account that you want to delete and click ‘Remove’.

By deleting unnecessary user accounts, you can free up some space on your drive.

4. Enable Storage Sense to Free Up Disk Space

The Storage Sense is a built-in maintenance feature in Windows 11 that automatically detects and removes temporary files, empties the Recycle bin, frees up space, and manages local cloud content. Enabling this feature will automatically perform these actions to free up disk space on Windows 11. To enable and configure Storage Sense, follow these steps:

Open Windows 11 settings. click ‘System’ in the left pane and select ‘Storage’ on the right.

Then, turn on the toggle next to ‘Storage Sense’ under the Storage management section to activate the feature.

If you want to configure the Storage Sense, click on the right arrow (>) in front of ‘Storage Sense’ to access more options.

Configure Storage Sense

When you open Storage sense settings, you’ll see various configuration options that can help to determine how you want Storage Sense to run on your computer and when temporary files and downloads will be deleted.

To clean up temporary files whenever the Storage sense runs on your computer, leave the checkbox ticked under the ‘Cleanup of temporary files’ section. If you don’t want to automatically remove temporary files, uncheck this option.

Storage Sense will automatically run and clean up temporary system files and app files when the disk space gets low. To automate Storage Sense, switch on the toggle under ‘Automatic User content cleanup’.

Under Configure cleanup schedules section, you will have three options to specify when Storage Sense should run and how often it should delete the files inside your Recycle Bin and Downloads folders.

To specify when the Storage Sense feature should run on your computer – Every day, Every week, Every month, or During low free disk space, click on the ‘Run Storage Sense’ drop-down and choose the required option.

Then, you can choose how often Storage Sense should clean up the contents inside your ‘Recycle Bin’. By default, it is set to 30 days. But you can change it from ‘Never’ – ’60 days’.

You can also set Storage Sense to automatically delete files in the Downloads folder if they haven’t been opened for more than – ‘1’, ’14’, ’30’, or ’60 days’, or ‘never’. By default, it is set to ‘Never’.

Storage Sense can also free up space by automatically deleting the unused files that are already backed up to your cloud account (OneDrive) from your PC. However, files that are flagged as ‘Always keep on this device’ will remain in the device.

You can tell Storage Sense to delete the cloud-backed content if they are not opened for more than – ‘1’, ’14’, ’30’, or ’60 days’, or ‘never’. After that deleted content will only be available in your OneDrive online account.

Once you have configured the above options, Windows will automatically run a Storage Sense scan to clean up temporary files based on your specified schedule. To configure your cleanup schedules, Storage Sense must be turned on your device first.

However, if you’re running low on space, you can run Storage Sense manually by clicking the ‘Run Storage Sense now’ button at the bottom of the page.

5. Use Disk Cleanup to Clear Space on Windows 11

In addition to using the Settings app, you can also use Window’s built-in Disk Cleanup tool to remove temporary files, system files, cache, and other unwanted junk files and free up some disk space. Disk Cleanup is a legacy maintenance tool that allows you to remove temporary files and junk files quickly from your Windows 11 PC. Follow these steps to use disk cleanup:

First, click the Start menu, search for ‘disk cleanup’, then select the ‘Disk Cleanup’ app from the list of results.

Alternatively, you can press the Windows+R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command box. Then, type in cleanmgr and hit Enter.

You will see a pop-up window where you can select the drive to scan. By default, the operating system drive will be selected, click ‘OK’ to scan the drive.

To scan a different drive, click the ‘Drives:’ drop-down and select the drive you want to scan and click ‘OK’.

On the Disk Cleanup windows, you will now see a list of unnecessary, temporary, and junk files on your system inside the Files to delete box. It will list Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Delivery Optimization Files, DirectX Shader Cache, Recycle Bin, etc. The downloaded program files, temporary internet files, and thumbnails are selected by default.

Here, check the boxes next to the type of files you want to delete and click ‘OK’ to remove them. To see a description of the file, click on the file name.

However, it doesn’t list all the temporary and unwanted files in the box. To view additional temporary file types, including the large junk files such as Previous Windows installation(s), System error memory dump files, and more, click the ‘Clean up system files’ button. Then, choose the Windows installed drive from the Drive Selection window again. It will take a few seconds to scan the files.

Once the scan is complete, you can start selecting the files you want to remove in the Files to delete box. As you select the files, you can see the total amount of disk space you gain from deleting these files.

Once, you’re done selecting the files to delete, click ‘OK’.

Here, we can free up to 14.1 GB of space from the C: drive. When you are deleting files, make sure you don’t delete any files that you might need in the future.

Then, click ‘Delete Files’ on the confirmation box to delete the select files types.

After the cleanup process is complete, it should free up some disk space on your device.

You can also free up space by clearing the unused apps and system restore points from your system. To do this switch to the ‘More Options’ tab in the Disk Cleanup window.

To remove the unused apps on your system, click the ‘Clean up…’ button under the Programs and Features section.

This will open the Programs and Features control panel. Here, select the program that you don’t use or need individually and click ‘Uninstall’.

Some Windows versions might keep shadow copies of themselves and previous Windows complete backup images as part of restore points. You can gain some free disk space by removing these files. To remove, all but the most recent restore points and shadow copies, click ‘Clean up…’ under System Restore and Shadow Copies section.

6. Uninstall Large Unused Applications

If you are using your system for a while, you might have a quite few apps that take up too much space on your device. Over time, saved files and the storage space occupied by these programs may increase. Getting rid of large-sized applications and unwanted programs can save quite a lot of space on your drive.

To do that, open Windows 11 Settings, then click ‘Apps’ in the left pane and select ‘Installed apps’ on the right.

On the Installed apps page, you can see the list of apps installed on your device. Here you can uninstall the apps that you no longer want or too large. You can filter the list by drive and sort them by name, date, or size to find the apps you want to remove. 

Once you found the app you want to remove, click on the three vertical dot icon next to the app and select ‘Uninstall’.

Move Installed Apps and Games to a Different Drive.

Applications such as video or photo editing software and games can take up a lot of space on your C drive which is where they are usually installed. However, sometimes you don’t want to uninstall a game or app to free up space because you might lose the progress or settings preference of the app. In such cases, you can move these apps or games to a different drive to free up a lot of space on your operating system drive.

To move an app, click on the three vertical dot icon next to the app you want to move and select ‘Move’. However, this Move option will not be available for every app.

In the pop-up window, select a drive from the drop-down to move the app to and click ‘Move’.

Archiving Apps Automatically in Windows 11

Windows 11 can automatically archive the apps that you do not use often to save storage space and internet bandwidth. The next time you open an archived app, it will be restored to the original version automatically.

To enable archive apps, open Settings and go to ‘Apps’ > ‘Advanced app settings’.

In the Advanced app settings, select the ‘Archive apps’ option.

Then, turn on the toggle under ‘Archive apps’.

7. Empty the Recycle Bin

When you delete a file using the Delete key from the keyboard or the Delete option from the right-click context, they are not permanently deleted, they are just moved to the Recycle Bin. Over time the Recycle Bin can consume a lot of space. So, you have to manually remove the files and empty the Recycle Bin.

To clear the recycle bin, right-click on the ‘Recycle Bin’ icon on the Desktop and select the ‘Empty Recycle Bin’ option.

Alternatively, you can open the Recycle Bin and click the ‘Empty Recycle Bin’ button at the top of the window.

Then, click ‘Yes’ in the confirmation box to permanently delete the items in the Recycle bin.

You can also change the Recycle Bin, so the deleted items don’t move the Bin, instead, they would be permanently removed from the PC right away.

To not move deleted items to the Recycle Bin, right-click the Recycle Bin icon on the Desktop and select ‘Properties’ in the context menu.

Then, select ‘Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted.’ option in the Recycle Bin Properties, and click ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’.

8. Delete System Restore Points to Save Space

Windows 11 creates restore points when you install/uninstall programs, install driver, update Windows, or when you make other major changes in your system. System Restore helps you restore your computer to a previous state should something go wrong, but it can also consume a significant amount of storage. You can also disable system protection completely save more when you’re still running low on storage.

To do that, search for ‘system restore’ on the Windows search and select the ‘Create a restore point’ control panel from the result. Alternatively, you can press Win+R to open the Run command and type sysdm.cpl, and hit Enter.

Then switch to the ‘System Protection’ tab in the System Properties dialog box. Next, make sure the ‘Local Disk (C:) is selected’ under Protection Settings and Click ‘Configure’. 

To delete all restore points for the select drive, click ‘Delete’ under the Disk Space Usage section.

You can also limit the disk space allotted to system protection by adjusting the ‘Max Usage:’ handle under Disk Space Usage.

Or, you can disable the system protection entirely by selecting the ‘Disable System protection’ radio button. Then, click ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’.

9. Manage Files in the Downloads Folder

On most computers, the Downloads folder is more like to get cluttered with videos, music files, photos, apps, and others than other locations on your computer. Most of these files are no longer useful or you will never re-use them. So, one of the primary ways to free up space on your device is to deal with your downloads.

Open File Explorer by clicking the Folder icon in the taskbar or pressing Win+E and then select the ‘Downloads’ folder from the File Explorer home screen or the sidebar.

You can then sort the files by size, date, and name and delete the unwanted files or move the files to a different drive to free up storage.

Change Where Files are Saved 

If your local disk (C) gets filled with download files quickly, you can change the download location to a different drive.

To change file destination, open the Settings app and go to ‘System’ > ‘Storage’.

Then, click the ‘Advanced storage settings’ drop-down and select ‘Where new content is saved’.

Here, you will see a list of the drop-down menus to change where apps, documents, music, photos and videos, movies and TV shows, and offline maps are saved.

Click the drop-down menu for a particular item and change its future destination to a different drive. For example, you can change where movies will be saved by clicking the ‘New movies and TV shows will save to:’ drop-down and choose a different drive or an external drive.

If you choose an external drive, make sure to connect it to the PC before saving that particular type of file and to access the saved file.

10. Delete All the Temporary Files Stored on Your PC

When you execute a task on a program, browse the internet, stream videos, play games, or even extract an archive, Window stores loads of temporary files on your local disk. Also referred to as temp files, these junk files take up a chunk of storage on your hard drive. You can safely delete these files manually to save some space on your drive.

To remove all temporary files from your drive, press the Win+R shortcut to open the Run dialog box. Then, type %temp% in the search box and hit the Enter key.

This will open up the Temp folder which may contain hundreds or even thousands of temporary files.

Now, select all the files and folders in the Temp folder by pressing Ctrl+A and deleting them by clicking the ‘Delete’ icon in the File Explorer Ribbon or by pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.

This will actually move these files to the Recycle Bin. So, you’ll need to clear out the Recycle Bin after this. If you want to permanently the temp files, select files and press Shift+Delete and click ‘Yes’ to the confirmation.

You might see an alert informing you that you can’t delete certain files or folders because they are currently being used by some active apps. For that click ‘Skip’ to skip the current item or check the ‘Do this for all current items’ option and click ‘Skip’ to skip all the in-use items.

You can try deleting them later after closing all the applications.

Delete Temporary Files Using Command Prompt

You can also use the Command prompt to clear out the temporary files in your system. First, click the Start menu and search for ‘cmd’ or ‘Command Prompt’. Then, select ‘Run as administrator’ to launch the elevated command prompt.

When the Command prompt opens, type or copy and paste the following command and hit Enter.

del /q/f/s %TEMP%\*

11. Disable Hibernation on Windows 11

When you put your computer to hibernation, it takes a snapshot of the current state of the programs and operating system and saves it in a hidden file called ‘Hiberfil.sys’ before powering down. And the Hiberfil.sys file helps you to get back to where you left off without having to start the system and programs from the beginning.

The hiberfil.sys file eats up a huge amount of space based on the size of your computer’s installed RAM. For example, if you have 8GB RAM, the hiberfil.sys file will take up to 6GB on your local drive. You can turn off hibernation using either PowerShell or Command Prompt.

To turn off hibernation using PowerShell, first, open PowerShell as administrator. To do this, search for ‘PowerShell’ in the Windows search and click ‘Run as Administrator’ in the right pane.

Once the PowerShell window opens, type the following code and press Enter.

powercfg /hibernate off

If you are using Command Prompt, run the Command prompt as administrator and enter the following command instead.

powercfg.exe /hibernate off

12. Disable Reserved Storage on Windows 11

Windows 11 has a feature called Reserved Storage to make sure it has enough storage space to optimally update and patch Windows and to provide extra stability to system performance. This feature is enabled by default and it takes up to 4 to 8GB of your PC’s storage space.

To check how storage reserved storage uses on your computer, open Settings and go to ‘System’ > ‘Storage’.

Then, click the ‘Show more categories’ link under the Local Disk (C:).

Next, select the ‘System & reserved’ category under Storage usage.

Here, you can see how space System files, reserved storage, virtual memory, and hibernation uses on your computer.

When you are running low on storage space, you can disable Reserved Storage to free up between 4GB and 8GB of space. Let’s see how to disable Reserved Storage using PowerShell on Windows 11.

Open PowerShell as administrator and enter the following command to check the status of Reserved Storage.

Get-WindowsReservedStorageState

To disable reserved storage, enter this command:

Set-WindowsReservedStorageState -State Disabled

To re-enable reserved storage, use the below command:

Set-WindowsReservedStorageState -State Enabled

If you’re using Command Prompt, try the following command:

DISM /Online /Set-ReservedStorageState /State:Disabled

13. Save Files to OneDrive Account

OneDrive feature comes built into Windows 11 which allows you to backup desktop files, photos, documents, and other important files to your OneDrive account regularly. You need to sign in to your OneDrive app using a Microsoft account to store and sync your files to the cloud. 

By default, your Desktop, Photos, and Documents folders are synced to the cloud when you sign in to your OneDrive app. In addition to that, you can also add or remove other folders to the sync.

Open the File Explorer and click the ‘OneDrive’ icon on the left navigational panel to review all the files stored on the OneDrive cloud. You can then delete the cloud-backed files from the original folders on the computer.

14. Find and Delete Large Files in Windows 10 Using File Explorer

Another method to find huge files in Windows 11 is by using File Explorer which lets you organize, sort, and search for files on your PC. Once you found the large files, you can get rid of them easily if they are not necessary. But before you search for the files, you will need to enable hidden items, so you can get rid of the memory-hogging files.

To show hidden items, first, open File Explorer and click the ‘View’ menu on top of File Explorer. Then, move to ‘Show’ and click ‘Hidden items’.

Now, you can search for files that are larger than a specific size and files that contain a specific keyword. First, open a specific drive where you want to search files.

Click on the search box at the top right corner of Windows Explorer, and search for files within a specified size range with the following codes.

  • size:empty – for files with zero size
  • size:tiny – for files between 0 – 16 KB
  • size:small – for files between 16 KB – 1 MB
  • size:medium – for files between 1 – 128 MB
  • size:large – for files between 128 MB – 1 GB
  • size:huge – for files between1 – 4 GB
  • size:gigantic – for files bigger > 4 GB

For example, if you want to filter all the files that are larger than 4 GB in drive, type size:gigantic in the search bar and press Enter.

Alternatively, you can also search using *.* and then click the ‘Search options’ menu that appears at the top. Then, click ‘Size’ and then select a size range.

You can also use the size: filter to find files in various sizes. For instance, use the following code to filter out all the files that are larger than 20 GB.

size:>20 GB

In the above terms, you can replace ’20GB’ as per your need. For example, you can use size:>5GB, size:<100MB, size:500MB, etc.

If you want to look for files of a particular size with the name ‘fg’, then you have to type the name of the file before the syntax.

fg size:>10 GB

Where replace the name of the file fg as per your need.

15. Clear Browser Cache to Free Up Space

When you browse the internet, the browser stores cookies, histories, passwords, and other information to make subsequent site visits faster. These files are called browser caches, which can consume from hundreds of MBs to GBs of space on your local drive. Clearing these browser caches can help you regain some precious storage space you need. Steps to clearing browser cache can vary between browsers. In this section, we will cover Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox.

Clear Cache for Microsoft Edge

To start with, open the Microsoft Edge browser, click on the ellipsis menu (3 dots) in the top right corner, and select ‘Settings’. 

Now click on ‘Privacy, Search, and services’ on the left panel and click the ‘Click what to clear’ button under the Clear browsing data. 

Click on the Time range drop-down menu at the top and select ‘All time’ to clear the entire browsing data. 

Then, check the boxes next to all the options and click ‘Clear now’. You can leave ‘Password’ unchecked if you want to keep the login credentials for websites.

Clear Cache for Google Chrome

Open Google Chrome, click on the ellipsis icon (3 vertical dots) in the top right corner, and select ‘Settings’. 

Select ‘Privacy and security’ on your left and select ‘Clear browsing data’ under the Privacy and security section. 

In the dialog window, click the ‘Advanced’ tab. Next, set the time range to ‘All time’ from the drop-down.

Check all the boxes except ‘Password and other sign-in data’ (if you want to keep passwords and click ‘Clear data’. Also if you want to keep specific cache data like Download history, you can leave them unchecked.

Clear Cache for Mozilla Firefox

To clear Firefox cache, click on the hamburger icon on the top-right corner and select ‘History’ from the drop-down menu.

Next, select ‘Clear recent history’ from the list of options.

In the dialog box, set the time range to ‘Everything’. Then, check every checkbox and click ‘OK’. If you don’t want clear passwords, leave the ‘Active logins’ checkbox unchecked.

16. Clean Up Junk Files with a Third-party Software

Another way to remove junk and unnecessary files is to use third-party disk cleanup software. These softwares can remove temporary files, unused downloads, files in the Recycle Bin, browser caches, memory dumps, Windows log files, and more to free up storage and improve PC performance.

Some of the best free disk cleanup software you can use to remove unnecessary files and improve system performance are – CCleaner, Advances SystemCare, EaseUS CleanGenius, Total PC Cleaner, and Restoro.

Here, we are using CCleaner to clean our PC. Download and install CCleaner on your PC. To start with, launch CCleaner software and click ‘Custom Clean’ on the left panel. Then, close all the applications and click the ‘Analyze’ button at the bottom.

Once the scan is complete, click the ‘Run Cleaner’ button to clean up your PC.

Although temporary files and cache files are small in size, they are likely to accumulate over time and eat up a lot of space on your hard drive.

17. Reset Windows 11 

If you tried all the above methods and you are still running low on space on your local disk (C), you may try resetting your Windows 11 operating system. Resetting Windows 11 restores Windows to its default configuration, removing your installed programs, files, and settings. Here’s how you do this:

First, close all the running applications. Then, open the Settings app, go to ‘System’ on the left and ‘Recovery’ on the right.

On the Recovery page, click the ‘Reset PC’ button under Recovery options.

Here, you can decide whether you want to keep your personal files and remove apps and settings or delete everything. If you want to free up a lot of storage space, choose ‘Remove everything’. It will restore your computer to a fresh Windows 11 PC without any additional applications.

In the next window, choose how you would like to reinstall Windows 11 – using ‘Cloud download’ or ‘Local reinstall’.

  • Cloud Download – This option downloads a fresh image of Windows 11 from the Microsoft server, which will consume at least 4GB of data. If you’re choosing this, make sure you have a proper internet connection and sufficient data. This is the recommended method if your system files are corrupted or damaged and you’re trying to fix your PC. However, this option will not install manufacturer apps and tools that came pre-installed with the system.
  • Local reinstall – This option reinstalls Windows 11 using the recovery image on your computer. Choose this option if you’re only trying to factory reset software and settings, and clear out space on your PC. Since we’re just trying to regain storage space, we are choosing ‘Local reinstall’ here.

On the next screen, click ‘Next’ if you are satisfied with the current settings. If you wish to change the settings, click the ‘Change settings’ link.

On the final screen, click the ‘Reset’ button to begin the process.

The process will take a while and several restarts to finish. Once it’s done, you would have freshly installed Windows 11 without any temporary, junk, and personal files on your Windows drive. Now, you will have plenty of free space on your computer.

Resetting a PC not only removes all unnecessary files and frees up disk space but also fixes various Windows problems.

That’s it. We hope this article helps you fix your lack of free storage problems.