10 Ways to Find What is Taking up Space on Hard Drive

You may have a one terabyte hard drive on your computer, but it reports low space even though you haven’t downloaded big files. Even when you try to delete some of the files, you can’t get back enough space.

There is nothing as frustrating as that, and you are not alone. Some people like downloading movies and games from the torrents. After a while, they notice a major drop in the available storage.

Even when they try to delete the downloaded files they too can’t restore enough space. So what is taking up this space? How do you know what is filling up your hard drive?

1. Using Storage Sense

Storage Sense can help you delete some of the temporary files left by Windows Apps and installation packages. This feature deletes these files automatically, hence you are going to be able to determine if these temp files are actually the ones that have been hogging up all the space.

storage sense-automatic

You can specify rules in settings to clean up junk automatically.

To access storage sense, you just have to click on settings and select the storage tab or search “Storage Sense” in cortana.

2. Using Everything

Everything is a free software that compiles all the user files that are present on your computer so that you can easily access them. It is like a search engine for your computer and is much faster than File Explorer.

The good thing about Everything software is that you can view every file right after installation and before searches. In order for you to know which of the large files is consuming space, start the application and click on the date modified tab, the size tab, and the file type tab consecutively.

everything hard disk space allocation

This will enable you to see almost every one of the large files present. You can even delete the files from there by selecting all the ones that need to be deleted. The good thing about this method is that you will never delete any system file.

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3. Using Windows Disk Cleanup

If you think that the files eating up space are system files, then you can use the Disk Cleanup utility to check. This software can label all the system files and folders that are taking up space but can never be used and list them for deletion.

To access this program, just go to the start menu and search for ‘disk cleanup’. The program will pop up and ask you to choose what you need to be deleted.

disk cleanup utility

The advantage of using this method is that it also lists any of the previous installations of windows for deletion. The process will not delete any user files present in the ”windows.old’, folder, but rather the system and program files only.

4. Using Ava Find

Ava Find also works the same way as everything. You just have to install the software and click on the sort by size tab right after installation.

You should note that the program will list all the large files first and small ones last. It includes system files too.

The program also crashes from time to time on Windows 10, hence may not be ideal for long executions.

5. Using the Free Space Now Function

Right under storage sense, there is an option to free up space instantly. This shall help you to determine if it is the .temp files that are actually eating up your space.

storage sense

For this to work, you have to enable storage sense first. After you have enabled it, the option to free space instantly will appear. The size difference of the space available after freeing up space is what the .temp files were occupying. You will also be able to delete other system files which can’t be deleted through any other means.

6. Using the Control Panel

Control panel is useful in deleting programs and apps. This feature can show you just how much space a particular app/ program is taking.  The sizes are listed to the left of each program, but some are protected.

uninstall program control panel

You should be able to find one or two programs which occupy a really huge space on your hard disk. If you are not using the program(s), you can go ahead and delete them directly from the Control Panel.

7. Scanning and Removing Games

Games are not usually listed on the control panel. They are often placed in the steam folder or any other folder you wish to use.

The most obvious this is that games occupy a really large space. If you downloaded the setup files, then you can scan them to determine how much space they have taken.

The games can be deleted with File Explorer by pressing shift+delete. You may choose to keep either the setup file or the installed game. Keeping both may not be good for space.

8. Using File Explorer

If you have an idea of where the most storage is taken, but you don’t know which file it is, then file explorer is there to help. You can use File Explorer to determine the size of each subfolder by hovering through them.

It takes a few seconds to calculate the size and the result is displayed afterward. You can decide whether you can keep the files or not, but any large file should be deleted if it is not significant.

9. Checking the OneDrive Folder

If you had saved lots of files on OneDrive, then you should also scan that folder too. OneDrive syncs data to and from the cloud, hence you should be getting a lot of data from the servers which will occupy your hard drive too.

You should not delete these files directly, but rather change the settings to make them available online only. If you delete them from the hard drive, they shall also disappear from the cloud after syncing the changes.

10. Using Storage Settings

This is the easiest way that you can determine what is eating up storage space on your hard drive. The storage settings tab compiles all the programs, apps and files that are using the hard drive space and lists them from the largest to the smallest.

storage sense space allocation

You just need to open “settings” from the Start menu and select storage. You then choose the partition that you want and then let it list the data. You should be able to see all of the files, programs, and apps from there.

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