Delete Files Clean Up Your Hard Disk Via Windows 10 Settings
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Need to free up some disk space on your Windows PC? Both Windows 10 and Windows 11 provide a dedicated settings menu to make the process easier. From this menu, you can see how much space has been used on your device and by what type of content.
Check the box next to Keep Windows running smoothly by automatically cleaning up temporary system and app files. Click the drop-down box under Run Storage Sense and select one of four choices: Every day, Every week, Every month, or During low free disk space.
If you prefer not to automate the process of freeing up disk space, Windows still gives you enough information to make decisions on your own. Since Windows separates your data into different categories on the Storage settings screen, you can easily see which types of files are chewing up your drive's storage and manually free up space.
For example, if you use OneDrive to store and sync files on your computer, click the OneDrive icon and then click View OneDrive. This will display all your OneDrive files and give you a chance to review everything and delete what you don't need.
If you store photos and other images in the Pictures folder on your PC, click the Pictures entry on the Storage settings page. Select View Pictures to go to the default Pictures location where you can look for images to delete.
Some content types are unchecked by default. The Recycle Bin option may be unchecked so you can restore any deleted files you still need, while your Downloads folder is also unchecked based on the assumption you might still use files stored there. Review checked and unchecked categories to make any changes, then click Remove files to remove all the checked content.
Windows 11 users will need to click the Advanced storage settings entry, and then select Storage used on other drives. Click your external drive to review it and remove any files.
If your PC houses more than one disk drive, you can change where new content is saved. In Windows 10, click the Change where new content is saved link. In Windows 11, you click Advanced storage settings and then select Change where new content is saved.
Windows 11 offers advice to help you free up disk space. Click Cleanup recommendations under the Storage Management section of the Storage settings page. Click each of the categories to see recommendations from Windows on cleaning up temporary files, large or unused files, files synced to the cloud, and unused apps. Check the items you want removed and click the Clean up button for that category to remove those files.
Microsoft's Windows Storage Sense is a relatively new feature available in Windows 10 and 11, which helps you manage disk space on your computer. Storage Sense will display the types of files that are taking storage and how you can free up space. It can be set to run automatically on a schedule, or you can run it manually on demand when you need to free up space.
If you don't need to clean up your computer files very often, or if you want control over exactly what files are deleted, we recommend using Storage Sense on demand, rather than allowing it to run automatically. Here's how:
If you often need to clean up your computer for temporary files and like the sound of automating the process, we recommend using Storage Sense to automatically and periodically clean up your files. Here's how:
You can let Duplicate Sweeper automatically select duplicate files for removal, using your preferences, or select individual files yourself. The app will send your duplicate files to Recycle Bin or Trash, so if you change your mind you can restore the deleted files to their original location.
All previous methods in this list describe how to delete or remove files from your computer which you may not need. However, what of the files which you wish to keep, such as precious photos, video and music? These media types can accumulate to some serious storage space, but if you no longer have space for them on your PC hard drive, you still have options!
Physical storage comes in many different shapes and sizes, but can most commonly be seen as USB Drives or external hard drives. Transferring data from your PC hard drive to an external hard drive allows you to delete the original files on your PC, while still keeping them safe in storage. Needless to say, this can clear a huge chunk of storage space on your PC.
Catalog files cannot be stored on network drives but you can store your photos on a network drive. However, network drives (hard disk accessed over a network) have slower data transfer rates. Therefore, it can take more time when switching modules or when switching from one file to another in Lightroom.
Note, however, that the file that contains the previews, the [Catalog name] Previews.lrdata file can grow large if you have the option to delete previews set to Never or 30 days. This file is in the same the catalog file. If this option is set to Never, and you experience low hard disk issues, check the size of this file. Delete it if it's too large.
The default setting for when the large 1:1 previews are deleted is one week. The size of the preview file is reduced when these large previews are deleted, but the entire file isn't deleted unless you manually delete it. The file doesn't become huge unless you rarely or never delete the 1:1 previews, but whether it affects your hard disk depends on your available hard disk space. You can change how often the 1:1 previews are deleted by choosing Edit > Catalog Settings > File Handling (Windows) or Lightroom Classic > Catalog Settings > File Handling (Mac OS).
Note: Do not confuse the Previews.lrdata file discussed in this technote with the [Catalogname] Smart Previews.lrdata file, which contains all your Smart Previews. In cases where there is very limited hard disk space, you may need to delete this file, but if your hard disk space is low enough that you get low hard disk errors, you should empty your trash, archive some files, and/or reorganize your data so there's more open hard disk space.
If the option to Automatically Discard 1:1 Previews is set to Never or After 30 Days, your preview file can get very large. It can take up many GB of space. If your hard disk suddenly gets full, check the size of this file. You can then delete the file.
When you work in an application, Windows stores a temporary copy of your data file on the hard drive. Many applications create .tmp files and then delete them when you quit the application. Crashes or system errors, however, can prevent an application from deleting these files, causing them to take up disk space and create problems. From time to time, run Disk Cleanup to remove temporary files and any other files that are not being used.
As you add, delete, and move files on a hard disk, its available space is no longer a single, contiguous block. If the system does not have enough contiguous space, it saves fragments of files to different locations on the hard drive. It takes Lightroom Classic longer to read or write a fragmented file than one saved to a contiguous location.
The "Just remove my files" option will quickly reformat your drive, deleting the files on your PC as well as the data tables with the pointers associated with your files. This means that it is only getting rid of the reference of your files, and your files are still dormant in the hard drive, waiting to be erased with new information.
This is why we recommend "Remove files and clean the drive". Much like a NIST 800-88 Clear pattern pass, your data is written over by 0's. And then it's passed over with 1's...again and again. This is the reason the whole process will take several hours. Worth the wait, this will ensure that your computer comes out like it did from the factory and significantly decrease the chances that anyone can recover data from the laptop.
If you have more than one drive on your laptop, we suggest removing your files from all drives for the most security. Your laptop will continue to reset for the next couple hours to make sure there are no recoverable files from the hard drive disk, and will download a clean version of Windows 10.
Virus or other malware can consume significant hard drive space by corrupting the system files. Scanning your computer with an anti-virus application like Windows Defender, McAfee, Norton helps remove infected files from your computer.
Your Mac can optimize storage by using iCloud to automatically make more storage space available when needed.* Let your Mac free up storage space for you. You can also use built-in utilities to quickly find and delete files, apps, books, movies, and other items that are taking up space, then delete items you no longer need.
If you don't clean your computer, before long you'll encounter low disk space warnings and notice it slowing down. Let's walk through how to clean Windows 10 (and Windows 11) using a variety of tools for different situations.
Windows 10 and 11 include a pair of similar tools for clearing out old temporary files from your disk, meaning you don't need a dedicated Windows cleaner app. They're a great first stop on your Windows cleanup journey.
Windows 10 and Windows 11 both include much of this same functionality of Disk Cleanup, with a nicer interface, at Settings > System > Storage. You can use the Storage Sense feature found there to automatically clean up files when your disk space is low, or every so often. Click Configure Storage Sense or run it now to change these options.
In the list of what's using space on your PC, click Temporary files and you can delete the same types of data as in Disk Cleanup. Show more categories provides more info about types of data that aren't using as much space. 2b1af7f3a8