How to Clean C Drive in Windows 10 without Formatting

Do you know how to clean C drive in Windows 10 without formatting? Check this post to find helpful methods to quickly clean the C drive and how to extend its space.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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What occupies the space of C drive?

Lots of Windows users will find a problem with using their PC—a crowded C drive. Some might say that the C drive is full without clear reasons, so they can’t figure out what sort of method can help them particularly.

Many reasons might make C drive become low capacity, however, some of them are typical in common:

Cache, temp, and log files:
To give a faster performance, your system will store several types of temporary, cache, and log files while it is running. Everything would be saved on the C drive.

Program data file:
On your system's C drive, you may have installed many programs because the C drive is the default storage location in Windows OS. If you forget to change the saving place, the files or Apps will be automatically stored on a C drive. Thus, the more apps there are, the more C drive space they take up.

Personal data files and other files:
The C drive has a wide range of downloaded files, crucial documents, photographs, synced cloud data, and other items.

Junk files:
The deleted files usually will go to the Recycle bin which is on the C drive.

You can check how much space a part of files takes in Windows Settings (Settings > System > Storage).

How to clean C drive without formatting in Windows 10

Without any delay, let’s move on to find out how to clean the C drive in Windows 10 without formatting it. In this part, there are two sections: one shows how to clean C drive with Windows settings and built-in tools, and the other shows how to release free space on C drive via the help of a third-party tool.

Section 1. Clean C drive with Windows tools

In this section, the methods we show are all Windows built-in tools, you can try all one by one on your PC

1. Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is the most familiar tool when someone wants to clean the drive on a Windows PC. It can simply clean some unuseful files on the selected drive. 

Step 1. Open File Explorer and right-click on C: drive and select “Properties”, and then click the "Disk Cleanup" button in the disk properties window.

Step 2. Select the files you want to delete and click “OK”. From there, you can delete previous Windows installations (Windows. old folder), system restore points, Recycle Bin, and other system files.

C drive clean up

2. Open Storage Sense

Storage Sense is a more efficient disk cleaning application than the one included with Windows. One of its most important advantages is the ability to clean a computer at regular intervals.

Step 1. In the Start menu, select “Settings”.

Step 2. On the page of Windows Settings, click on “System”.

Step 3. Select “Storage” on the left side and toggle on “Storage Sense” on the right.

Storage sense

Note: The Storage Sense only works when the PC is low on disk space. If you need to clean right now, you need to select “Configure Storage Sense or run it now” and hit “Clean now”.

3. Clean the Recycle Bin

Recycle Bin is a temporary location to save what you deleted in the system. Because it’s on the C drive, users need to empty it regularly. You can open it and select the files to empty, or directly click “Empty the Recycle Bin” to clean all.

Empty recycle bin

4. Stop hibernation

Hibernate mode creates a large number of hibernation files on the C disk. As a result, the problem “C drive is full” Windows 10 emerges regularly. So, one method for cleaning up the C drive disk is to use Command Prompt to erase hibernation files.

To delete the hiberfil.sys file:

Step 1. Go to the Start menu, type “cmd” right-click on the results Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Then type “powercfg.exe -h off” and press Enter.

Disable hibernate

After that, you should see a few more gigabytes of free space on the system drive.

Section 2. Release free space on C drive via efficient software

You can use third-party software to extend C drive capacity to give the OS drive more space for better computer performance.

 ▶ 1. Move big programs from C drive to a new location

Until here, we’ve introduced some methods to clean the C drive in Windows. They can clean the files which take up much space on the C drive. However, the way to deal with the programs you stored on the C drive is not like the files.

The only way for many users might be to uninstall the programs on the C drive because they cannot be moved manually to another location. But, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional can do this job for you. It can find all files of applications and move the selected apps to the new address you assigned. With it, you don’t need to download the programs again and waste time reconstructing the data.

Free DownloadWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Click "Free Up" > "App Mover".

App Mover

Step 2. Click C drive and hit on "Next".

Select partition

Step 3. All movable apps in C drive will be listed, choose whichever you need to move, select the destination path and click on "Move".

Tick App

Step 4. In the pop-out window, click "OK" to close the running applications and start moving the App.


2. Share free space from another drive to C drive

This powerful tool also has a useful function called “Allocate Free Space” that allows users to add the free space on the other partition to the partition with poor capacity.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, right-click the partition from which you want to allocate free space, and select "Allocate Free Space".

Allocate free space

Step 2. You will get a pop-up window. Type in the size of the free space which you want to split from the D drive and this free space will be directly added to the C drive.

Allcate from D to C

Step 3. You can view "Pending Operations" on the sidebar in case of corrections and then click "Apply" on the toolbar to execute pending operations.


Then, you can restart the PC to finish the task. After that, your C drive will possess a larger space.

Ending lines

To help you find out how to clean C drive in Windows 10 without formatting, we give you 4 ways to have a try. To release and add more space on the C drive, AOMEI Partition Assistant offers you 2 options. And if you need, you can do a deep clean to delete large files. Next time, you won’t be bothered by the crowded C drive on your disk.

As you can see from the images, AOMEI Partition Assistant contains many more useful capabilities such as "Merge Partition," "Wipe Partition," "NTFS to FAT32 Converter," and so on, and it has a Server Edition to help Windows Server users manage their devices.

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.