[Windows 10 Tip #9] - Tune-Up Tools

Category: Windows-10

A PC is much like a car in one respect: both tend to accumulate garbage that wastes space. Cleaning out your car can be a messy, sweaty job with plenty of opportunities for back injuries. Cleaning out a PC is a more civilized affair, and Windows 10 makes it easier. Here's how...

WIndows 10 Hard Drive Cleanup

There are many sources of wasted disk space. Windows 10 creates some when it is installed, including rollback files, hibernation and paging files, and multiple Restore Points. (Of course, one person’s waste of space is another’s backup security.) Apps create temporary files during installation and uninstallation, and fail to clean up after themselves. Apps also generate log and data files that may not be necessary.

[See more helpful articles in my Windows 10 Tips series: Click Here.]

If you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8, Windows 10 saved a copy of your old operating system and its settings in a file named Windows.old. This file can be several gigabytes in size. If you have decided to fully commit to Windows 10, here is how to recover that space:

Type “cleanup” in the search box and click on “Disk Cleanup” in the results. Select the drive you want to clean up (usually your C: drive). On the next screen, click the “cleanup system files” button in the lower-left corner. After the disk scan, a list of items you can remove is shown. Check the box next to “previous Windows installation(s)”

Windows 10 Cleanup tools

Before clicking “OK” to start the cleanup, review the whole list of items that can be removed. Check the box next to any other item(s) you wish to remove. Then click “OK.”

Windows 10 includes Storage Management features that can help you see where all your disk space has gone and recover some of it. To access this tool, enter “storage” in the search box and click on “Storage (system settings).” Note the “Storage Sense” item on the Storage main menu. When enabled, it automatically deletes temporary files and empties the Recycle Bin.

The Storage app shows all of the drives on your system. Click on “This PC” to examine your Windows 10 boot drive. The next screen summarizes your total disk space, what’s used and what’s available, and displays many categories of data along with the space they are consuming. Click on a category to see what specific files are in it and how much space they consume.

When you click on a specific file, two buttons appear next to it: “Move” and “Uninstall.” If either of them is greyed out, you can’t perform that function on this file. In general, apps built into Windows 10 cannot be uninstalled, i. e., the Camera app or Groove Music app. Most others can be moved to a new folder or uninstalled.

Drilling Down for Space Hogs

As soon as I typed that heading, I couldn't help but think of "Pigs in Space," a recurring feature on "The Muppet Show" in the 1970s. So of course I did a quick search and found that not only are the old episodes available on Youtube, there are also some new ones! This has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand, but that's how my brain works. You're welcome, and I'm sorry. :0)

The “System & Reserved” category usually holds 30 or more gigabytes of data. Click on it to see what that data is. From here, you can manage System Restore by clicking on that button to open the System Restore utility. Other items require other methods.

If you have a laptop that's always on, or you just never use the hibernation feature, you don’t want to waste space on hibernation data. Open a Command Prompt and enter powercfg.exe -h off to delete the existing hiberfil.sys file and turn off the “Hibernate” option on the Power button’s menu.

Another space-hog is pagefile.sys, the file in which Windows temporarily stores parts of apps and data files when the whole things won’t fit in RAM. Generally, you should let Windows manage the amount of space devoted to pagefile.sys; it will grow and shrink as needed. But if you are really tight on disk space, you can adjust the maximum size of pagefile.sys or even delete it entirely (not recommended). Here is how to manage pagefile.sys:

  • Open Control Panel and search for “advanced system settings.”
  • Click on “View advanced system settings” and select the Advanced tab on the resulting screen.
  • Click on the “Settings” button in the Performance section of the Advanced screen.
  • On the Performance Options screen, click “Advanced.”

Finally, there is “Total paging file size for all devices.” Click “Change” to see your options. “Automatically manage…” is the default option. Uncheck it to manually adjust things. You can set custom initial and maximum sizes; let the system manage the pagefile.sys size; or do without a pagefile.sys file altogether (not recommended). Whatever you change, you’ll need to reboot before the changes take effect.

Photos, music and video files can take up a lot of space on your hard drive. You can use Windows Explorer to search for your JPG, MP3, MOV and other multimedia files. Switch to the Details view, then sort by size to find the biggest files. Then you can review and delete the ones you don't need.

Another potential waste of space is duplicate files. Windows doesn't have an easy way to find and zap these dupes, but the free Auslogics Duplicate File Finder can do the job. It will help you sort through images, music, videos and other personal files to remove duplicate copies and free up disk space.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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This article was posted by on 7 Aug 2017

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Most recent comments on "[Windows 10 Tip #9] - Tune-Up Tools"

Posted by:

Naresh K Chadha
08 Aug 2017

Your latest post on duplictae file finder ( Auslogics Duplicate File Finder), my ESET software blocks it? States "site cannot provide secure connecction". Please help.

EDITOR'S NOTE: False positive.

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