Low storage can take a hit on your computer’s performance: Typically as your hard drive fills up, your PC inevitably slows down. And that’s bad news, because it becomes a major issue on every level, whether you’re streaming a video game or simply checking your email in a web browser. Fortunately, if you’re running Microsoft Windows, there’s an easy way to clear up space.
Instead of downloading third-party software to free up disk space, Windows 11 has a few settings you can configure to quickly delete temporary and system files, as well as old downloads. And if you’re worried about getting rid of important files, don’t fret — Windows 11 will help you decide what to get rid of to improve your PC’s performance.
How to automatically free up space on Windows 11
On your Windows 11 computer, go to Settings -> System -> Storage. If this is your first time visiting this here, wait a few seconds for your computer to analyze your data storage. Once Windows has collected what it needs to know, you’ll be able to see your total free memory at the top of the page. Underneath that you’ll see a breakdown of your storage, divided into apps and features, temporary files, and other. You can also click Show more categories to view a further breakdown.
The setting we’re interested in, however, is Storage Sense, which automatically frees up space on your computer whenever your disk space is low. It does this by deleting temporary files, emptying your Recycle Bin and getting rid of old downloads, in the background, without you having to manually do it.
To turn on Storage Sense, simply toggle it on here. If you click the setting, you can configure several features:
- Run Storage Sense: Run Storage Sense during low disk space (default) or every day, week or month.
- Delete files in my recycle bin if they have been there for over: Choose 1 day, 14 days, 30 days (default) or 60 days.
- Delete files in my Downloads folder if they haven’t been opened for more than: Choose never (default), 1 day, 14 days, 30 days or 60 days.
These Storage Sense settings can help you better optimize which files are removed, and when they’re removed, so that you don’t have to worry about any important files getting wiped from your computer.
At the bottom of the page, you can click Run Storage Sense now to use the feature then and there.
And if you want to get rid of more files to clear up space, use the Cleanup recommendations feature underneath Storage Sense. If you click on it, it will scan your system and recommend files for you to manually delete, such as temporary files, large/unused files, files synched to your cloud and unused apps.
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