By AOMEI / Last Updated May 15, 2020

Why do you need to clean up Windows 10?

These days, many users install Windows 10 on a solid state drive (SSD). SSDs have relatively small capacity compared to hard disk drives (HDD). After using Windows 10 for a while, you may face low disk space problem.

Many things that you do not see are taking up your free space on system drive, like Hibernation files, page files, system volume information, and Windows updates. If you do nothing, one day you will receive a Low Disk Space warning. There are 6 methods that you can do to free up or add more space to Windows 10 system drive.

Run Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

In Windows 10/8/7, you can use a built-in tool Disk Cleanup to delete various files including temporary Internet files, Recycle Bin, and even previous Windows installations. Windows upgrade program will save previous Windows installation files in the Windows.old folder.

1. To open Disk Cleanup, you can type “disk cleanup” in the search box or ask Cortana. You can also right click on C: drive and then select “Properties” and then select “Disk Cleanup” to cleanup C: drive in Windows 10.

2. In the Disk Cleanup window, just select a few items you want to delete and click “OK” and then it will start to delete these files. If you want to free up more space, click “Clean Up system files”.

Cleanup System Files

3. Select the items that you want to delete and click OK.

Delete Previous Windows Installation

When you get the Disk Cleanup in Windows 10, what to delete may concern you seeing all the listed items. When you attempt to delete system files, you should leave the "Windows ESD installation files”. The ESD file is used for Reset this PC, which is one of the recovery options in Windows 10 allowing you to keep or delete personal files and reinstall Windows. If you delete the ESD file, you will have 3GB more disk space but you will lose the Reset this PC option.

Futhermore, if you just finish a Windows update, it is recommended to save the Windows.old folder for a little while just in case some of the files was not transferred to the corresponding folder properly. When you are sure everything is in position, you certainly should delete Previous Windows installation to clean up Windows 10 space.

Disable hibernate

Hibernate mode allows you to start your computer fast. Since many of you have installed Windows 10 on an SSD, which dramatically reduce the startup time, you probably do not need Hibernate mode. You can simply disable Hibernate mode and then delete the file.

The size of hiberfil.sys is about 3/4 of your installed Ram. If your computer RAM is 8GB, then you can free up about 6GB by delete hibernate file. To disable Hibernate, you run the following command in an elevated command prompt:

powercfg.exe /hibernate off

Storage sense windows 10

Windows 10 Creators update version 1703 add a new feature Storage Sense to automate the process of freeing up disk space.

How to configure Storage Sense on a PC

1. Go to Settings > System > Storage.

2. Then you can see Storage Sense is turned off by default. Click on “Change how we free up space” to configure it.

Storage Sense

3. Then you can see two options to free up space. Just toggle it to set your preferences. If you want to run it now, click on the “Clean now” button.

Clean Now

4. Then back to toggle the Storage Sense button to turn on Storage Sense.

Refresh Windows 10

If want to remove all the third-party software and games but keep all your personal files, you can use Refresh Windows tool. By refreshing Windows 10, the tool will install a clean copy of the latest version of Windows 10 and remove apps that were installed on this PC.

To start Refresh Windows:

1. Click on the Start button > Settings > the category for Update & security.

2. In the Update & security window, click on Recovery in the left panel. Then click on “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows” under "More recovery options".

More Recovery Options

3. Then it will bring you to a web page. Scroll down and click on Download tool now to install the Refresh Windows tool on your computer.

4. Open the tool to start refreshing. You will be asked whether you want to save personal files only or nothing.

Keep Files

Extend system partition without data loss

If your C: drive is really small and there are much extra space on other partitions, you can add some space to system partition from another partition.

Windows built-in tool Disk Management and DiskPart.exe only allow you to extend partition when there is contiguous unallocated space on the right. Therefore, in most of the case, you need to delete a partition before you can extend system partition.

Luckily, free partition manager softwareAOMEI Partition Assistant Standard allows you extend system drive without the need to delete a partition.

To extend C: drive in Windows 10:

1. Download this freeware and run it.

2. Right click on the partition that has enough space to spare and select “Resize Partition".

Resize Partition

3. In the next screen, drag the partition’s end leftwards to shrink this partition so you will have some unallocated space. If you already have unallocated space on this hard drive, you skip this step.

Shrink Partition

4. Right click C: drive and select “Merge Partition”. In a pop-out window, check C: drive and the unallocated space, and then click “OK”.

Select Unallocated Space

5. Click “Apply” to apply these changes.


In conclusion, it will dramatically decrease the performance of Windows 10 if C: drive space is really low. You can choose one or more of the methods listed above to clean up Windows 10 PC.