What is taking up space on my hard drive windows

It can be very frustrating when your storage gets filled up and suddenly can’t do any work. What is taking up space on my hard drive windows 7/8/10/11? There are a few simple reasons for your storage getting full and we are going to see them in this article. If you want the steps for clearing your storage then you can skip the initial sections.

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

The most common culprit for taking up most of the space is the recycle bin, especially if you don’t clean it regularly. But the good thing is that it’s very easy to clean the storage.

Now if you are not aware of recycle bin completely, then it’s the place where all your deleted files go. If you do not delete or clean the recycle bin then the deleted files stay there and take up space. Recycle bin allows us to recover any deleted file we may have accidentally deleted. Remember that the files do not delete automatically and over time take up space.

What is taking up space on my hard drive windows
What is taking up space on my hard drive windows

NOTE: Windows 10 and 11 allocate around 10% of the entire storage for deleted files and soon it takes up your storage.

If you want to clear the recycle bin, then you can do it easily by going on the home screen and right click on Recycle bin icon. Now a menu should open, click on “Empty recycle bin” and give confirmation.

But there are many other reasons for your storage getting filled up. In the next section, we are going to see the different reasons.

What Is Taking Up All My Storage?

If you are using Windows 10 or 11, then you have the option to check insights. The insights provide the info about what’s taking up space on your device. Now to see the insights, follow these steps:

  1. Power up your device and open “Settings”.
Device Settings
  1. Now Select “System” and then look for “Storage”.
  2. Click on “Storage” and then you should be able to see the total space available.
system storage

Now, you can see the temporary file size and the different categories of data occupied. Click on “Show more categories” to get full insight, and check where your space is being occupied.

Show more storage categories

NOTE: If the data is not correct, click on “Refresh” and the data should update. You can check when it was the last refreshed by checking the data above the button “Last refreshed on 9/15/2022 9:50 PM”.

System Storage usage

Now, if you want to allow Windows to automatically free up the space on your device, then you can toggle the “Storage Sence” option. This option will delete unnecessary files periodically.

system temprorary files

Do I Need Temporary Files?

The simple answer would be NO, you do not need temp files. However, Windows uses these temp files to avoid long loading times for frequently used apps and webpages. You can delete the temp files without any issue, but it will slow your device down initially. Windows will create new temp files and you will have to clean them again.

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Temp files also get deleted if you use the “Disk Cleanup” option in “This PC”. If you want to clear temp files from the C drive, then follow these steps:

  1. Open “This PC” or “File explorer” and different drives should open.
  2. Now right-click on the C drive and different options should be visible.
  3. Select “Properties” from the options and a new window should pop up.
system properties
  1. From the window, click on “Disk Cleanup” and another window should open.
system disk cleanup
  1. Now simply click on “Ok” and the selected files will be deleted. Once the process is completed. The progress window should close and you successfully deleted temp files.
system deleted temp files

Can Photos and Videos Take Up a Lot of Space?

The answer maybe is different depending on what you stored, but for most cases YES. Photos and videos take up the majority of the space on any device and over time can fill storage.

You can manage this by keeping your photos and videos backed up on OneDrive or Google Drive. We would recommend One Drive if you are using Windows since it’s built into Windows 10 and 11 itself.

If you want to use OneDrive then you can go to “File Explorer” and you can easily store large files which you don’t use regularly. This is ideal if you use those files occasionally and don’t need them instantly. We would suggest you try OneDrive at least once since it’s free.

To use OneDrive, go to “File Explorer” and select the files you want to keep in OneDrive. Right-click on the file and a menu should pop up, click on “Free up space” and it will make the file available online only. Once the file is uploaded, the space on your device will clear automatically.

Do Apps Take up Space?

If you have multiple apps on your device then YES apps may be taking up space. But you should know that some apps take up more space than others. And you can check which app is taking up a large amount of space.

Follow these steps to see apps that are occupying a large amount of space:

  1. Power up your device and open “Settings”.
  2. Inside settings, click on “Apps” and then look for “Apps & Feature”.
  1. Click on “Apps & Feature” and you should be able to see all the apps. Now you can click on the size filter near “Sort By” and see the largest apps at the top.

NOTE: If you have any game installed, then check how much space it’s occupying. Games take up a lot of space and removing them will solve your problem.

How Can Multiple Users Take up Space?

If you have created multiple users and those users have stored some data in their workspace. Then yes, multiplier users will occupy the space and slowly fill up your storage.

You can fix this by deleting those users from your Windows and the space will be available. To manage different users, follow these steps:

  1. Open “Settings” and then search for “Accounts, Family & Other users”.
  2. Now click on it and then click on the remove icon next to the account no longer needed.
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NOTE: Before you delete any user account, check if there are any files stored. If there’s no new file then deleting it will not clear up any space. And if you delete any user, it will delete all the user’s documents, photos, downloads, and more.

Effective Ways to Free Up Disk Space on Windows 11/10/8/7

Now we know what’s taking up a large amount of space on our devices. But we also need to know how we can free up the space in different ways. We will see how we can free up space in different ways. If anyone is not working for you, simply move to the next one.

1. Remove Junk Files/Useless Large Files 

This should be your first move since there can be many files that we no longer need or duplicates. These files take up a lot of space, but it’s difficult to manually check for them.

This is why we should use a third-party application to make this process easier. We will be using “EaseUS Partition Master Suite” since it’s free and easy to use. The app also supports other features such as disk clean-up, optimization tools, and more.

Follow the steps to clean up space on your device:

  1. Open the browser, download, and install the “EaseUS Clean Genius”.
  2. Once the app is installed, open it and you should see the dashboard. Click on “Clean up” and then on “Scan” and a process will start.
  3. The software will run and make your device as fast as possible, wait for the process to be completed.
  4. Once the process is completed, select all the junk data and large files which you don’t want and click on “Clean”.
  5. Let the process complete, once it’s done you will be able to click on “Done” and you are all set.

Now you can use your device and it should have free space along with increased performance.

2. Run Disk Cleanup to Clean Temporary Files

This is the easiest solution since Windows have Disk Cleanup built-in, which is useful. None of your important data will be deleted so you can feel free to remove any file from Disk Cleanup.

Follow the steps mentioned below to clean temp and unwanted files:

  1. Open “File Explorer” or “This PC” and you should be able to see different drives.
  2. Right-click on the C drive and a new menu should pop up.
  3. Click on “Properties” and a new window should open.
  4. In the window, click on “Disk Cleanup” and you can select which files to delete.
  5. Once you are done with the selection, click on “Ok” and all selected files should be deleted.

3. Uninstall Unused Bloatware Software

Many devices have bloatware that can come from other programs or are accidentally installed. These programs occupy space and we never intend to use them in the first place. Follow these steps to uninstall any bloatware:

  1. Power up your device and open “Control Panel”.
  2. Click on “Programs” and then click on “Uninstall program”.
  3. Now, look for any program which you don’t recognize and simply click on “Uninstall”. Repeat this process for all the bloatware and unwanted programs.
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4. Free Up Space by Storing Files on Another Hard Drive or the Cloud

If you can’t delete any crucial files but still want to have space available, then the best option is to transfer those files. Storing all the less used data on an external hard disk is the best solution. Check out the available HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and SSD (Solid State Drive) for transfer.

If you have installed EaseUS PCTrans, then you can transfer files with the help of it, But if not, then simply use File Manager.

NOTE: Along with large files, you can also transfer any program which you don’t use frequently.

5. Disable Hibernate

If you are using the laptop, whenever you close the lid your system hibernates so you can pick up where you left off. This can increase the RAM usage along with creating more temp files. You can disable this but it will not make any significant difference.

Follow the steps mentioned below to turn it off:

  1. Power up your device and open “Control Panel”.
  2. Now search for “Power Options” and open it.
  3. Inside Power Options, click on “Change when the computer sleeps” and a new Window should open.
  4. In “Advanced Power Options”, expand the “Sleep” and then expand “Hibernate after” and change it to “turn it off”.
  5. Now click on “Apply” and then on “Ok”. We are all set now and can close the window.


In the article, we saw how to check which apps and files are taking up a large space. Along with it, we also saw how we can clear those files and apps. But if you are not able to clear data then we would suggest getting an external hard disk and transferring all the less frequently used data.

We would suggest that you manually check if any junk file is there on your system. Sometimes deleted applications can have their files stored in the C drive due to which the storage gets filled over time.

Google Drive provides 15 Gb of free storage and we can access the files quickly. If you have not used cloud-based storage solutions, then we would highly recommend them. If you have any queries or issues, feel free to drop them down in the comment section below. We are more than happy to help out our readers.