How to Delete Large Files in External Drive?

How to delete large files in external drive if your drive is full of useless files and hidden junk files? You can learn some practical ways to solve this issue from this tutorial.


By Lucas / Updated on September 19, 2023

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Why need to clean large files in external drive?

Like your internal disk in your Windows PC, documents, photographs, music, movies, and other personal items are typically stored on an external drive. Despite the fact that many external hard drives have a big amount of storage space, you may receive a low disk space warning after storing a large number of large files/applications/programs on the hard drive. Then you may need to erase some files from it to make room for new data.

And many users use an external drive as a system drive for testing or some other requirements, so the external drive will soon be full of various junk files such as temp files, thumb files, cache files, and hidden data files. Some of these files may be enormous in size and consume an inordinate amount of free space on your disk, while insufficient drive space frequently causes external drive speed to slow down or encounter other performance concerns.

Thus, it is critical to delete large files in external drive if some of them are worthless or outdated in order to maintain your external drive healthy.

How to delete large files in external drive on Windows 10/11?

Normally, there are 3 options for Windows users to clean large files in Windows 10 or other Windows systems: directly delete in File Explorer, use CMD orders, or third-party large file cleaner. They all have their own advantages and defects, next, we’ll show how to use these 3 ways to delete large files in Windows 10.

Way 1. Delete large files in external drive via File Explorer

First, we'd want to demonstrate the most traditional method of deleting large files from an external hard drive in Windows.

Step 1. Stably connect your external hard drive to your computer. Double-click on “My Computer/This PC” to open File Explorer.

Step 2. Double-click the external hard drive. Browse through the files/folders to find the one you want to remove, right-click it and select “Delete” from the drop-down menu.

Delete files File Explorer

You may also just click on the file icon and move it to your Recycle Bin. Follow the same procedure to remove all unnecessary files from your external hard drives. You can continue by emptying the Recycle Bin.

If you clearly remember the storage location of all your large files on the external drive, this way is enough. If not, this may not be the best choice for you.

Way 2. Clean large files from the external drive via CMD

Some users find Windows doesn’t allow them to put files or folders over 400GB into the Recycle bin. In this case, you can try CMD. The order might be a little complex, we’ll show it with an example.

Step 1. Type cmd in the Windows Start Search box and right-click on cmd > Run As Administrator

Step 2. Open your file explorer and go to the target folder or file and copy and paste the folder path from the top. Eg: c:\sample\mydoc.

Step 3. In cmd box type cd and press the space bar to give one space and right click to paste the folder path and press Enter. Eg: cd c:\sample.

Step 4. Now, your directory will be changed to your folder. You can put the following command:

del filename.extension Eg: if your file name was test123.docx, you need to write del test123.docx.

If there is a space in the file name, you will have to enclose it in double quotes: del "my file123.docx"

Then the target large file will be deleted. In this way, you’ll need to type the correct commands and make sure the storage path of the target file is right, otherwise, the operation will fail or you’ll delete the wrong folder/file. And like the first way, this method also requires you to know the location of the target large file and you’ll need to delete them one by one.

Way 3. Delete large files in external drive via a third-party drive cleaner

If the first two ways are already enough for you, that’d be nice. However, if your external drive has saved too many files and you don’t know how to find them all or the external hard drive is a system disk with numerous files, programs, and hidden data files, then a reliable third-party cleaner would be a nice choice.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is such a choice for all Windows users. It is a disk and partition management tool supporting Windows 11/10/18/8.1/7/XP OS. In this tool, there is a feature called “Delete Large Files” that is specifically developed for large file cleaning.

The software will scan the selected disks, partitions, and locations to avoid deleting them by mistake. The tool can find all large files under the selected locations, so you can easily find the hidden files without searching them one by one. After the scan, users can see files, locations, sizes, and dates. Under the file column, you can choose the types of files to select specific files. Then, you can select the target files, and clean them all.

Free DownloadWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Here are steps about how to delete large files in external drive via this handy tool.

Step 1. Download and run this tool. Click “Free up” and go to “Delete Large Files”.

Delete Large Files

Step 2. In the pop-up window, select the partitions that you want to find large files, and click "Start Scan" to scan for large files.

Start Scan

Step 3. When the scan is complete, all large files found are listed. Tick the files you want to delete, and then click the "Delete" button.


Step 4. This step will list all the files you have ticked to delete, click "Delete Now" after confirming that it is correct, then these files will be deleted successfully.


Delete Now

◤ Note:
1. The software will skip important all system large files.
2. If you wish to clean a BitLocker drive, please unlock that drive first.
3. If the tool scans a file in red, it means it is not recommended to delete this file.

Further reading: How to free up drive space & how to clean hard drive?

After deleting the large files in external drive, your disk will have available space for new data. However, if the space is not enough, here, we have some advanced suggestions.

Free up more drive space
If your external drive has installed many programs or there are some programs you use frequently and the internal disk has sufficient space or you have other devices to store those apps, you can transfer those programs from the external drive to another disk. AOMEI Partition Assistant has an “App Mover” function to help you move installed programs. After the move, you can run those programs from the new location without reinstalling and resetting.

App Mover

▶ Completely clean hard drive
If you wish to completely clean your drive for reusing or selling, you can choose the “Wipe Hard drive” feature to thoroughly clean all data.

Wipe hard drive

Or “SSD Secure Erase” to erase your SSD.

SSD secure erase

Final lines

If you’re struggling with how to delete large files in external drive or how to free up space on Windows 10/11, except for the built-in tools, you can also choose AOMEI Partition Assistant, a multifunctional disk manager, to easily and efficiently manage your PC.

Besides the features we’ve mentioned in this post, you can also use this software to clone disk, migrate OS, convert a disk to MBR/GPT without data loss, allocate free space to C drive, recover lost files… What’s more, it offers the Server Edition for Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012(R2)/2008(R2)/2003 users.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.