You can automatically free up disk space on your Windows 11 PC

This story is part of it 12 Days of Advicehelping you get the most out of your technology, home and health this holiday season.

You never want a computer with little to no available disk space. A hard drive with no space affects your computer negatively. inevitably, it will slow down and your apps will freeze and crash more often.

And while the fix is ​​obvious — you need to clean up your drive — you can have a hard time deciding exactly which files to delete. Fortunately, Windows 11 makes it easy to get rid of what you don’t need and free up space on your computer.

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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 you probably don’t need.

And if you’re worried about getting rid of important files, don’t be — Windows 11 will help you decide what to get rid of to improve your PC’s performance.

If you want to know more, take a look more features we love in Windows 11. You should also read about the best desktop computers this year.

Not everyone needs an expensive SSD for storage. Maybe you just want to transfer some photos and videos to free up some space on your computer. If you’re looking for additional storage but don’t want to break the bank, check out Seagate’s 1TB external hard drive for your Windows PC.

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How to automatically free up storage space in Windows 11

On your Windows 11 PC, go to Settings > System > Save. If this is your first time visiting this setting, please wait a few seconds for your computer to analyze your data storage. Once Windows has gathered what it needs to know, you’ll be able to see your total free memory at the top of the page. Below that you’ll see a breakdown of your storage, broken down into applications and features, temporary files and but. You can also click Show more categories to see a further analysis.

The setting we are 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 the Recycle Bin and getting rid of old downloads, in the background, without having to do it manually.

Storage management page with Storage Sense enabled

Turn on Storage Sense to automatically free up space in Windows 11.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

To activate Storage sense, just enable it here. If you click on the setting, you can configure various functions:

  • Run Storage Sense: Run Storage Sense on low disk space (default) or every day, week or month.
  • Delete the files in my recycle bin if they have been there for a long time: Select 1 day, 14 days, 30 days (default) or 60 days.
  • Delete the files in the Downloads folder if they have not been opened for more than: Select never (default), 1 day, 14 days, 30 days, or 60 days.

These Storage Sense settings can help you limit what files are removed and when they are removed, so you don’t have to worry about important files being deleted from your computer.

Configure purge schedule settings

You can set how often Windows 11 cleans up your disk space, and which files it deletes and how often.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

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 space, use it Cleaning recommendations feature under Storage Sense. If you click on it, it will scan your system and suggest files for manual deletion, such as temporary files, large or unused files, cloud-synced files, and unused applications.


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Want to learn more about Windows 11? check it major differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11. Also, These are the best features in Windows 11 that you should know about. And if you haven’t downloaded Windows 11 yet, here’s what you need to do.

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