Knowing how to clean up unwanted PC files is an important maintenance skill for anyone who uses a computer on a daily basis, not just us PC gamers. While SSDs may be getting cheaper, the fact that game installs are on the rise shouldn’t make you simply cram more and more storage space into your machine.
If you can’t afford it, or simply refuse to get one of the best SSDs, you can level the playing field by installing your ever-expanding library of games on your machine. Hold your ground.
However, if you’re having trouble with unnecessary data, it might be worth reclaiming the wasted space. No one needs extra temp files and deleted items stealing precious gigabytes you can use to store your backlog of indie games you’ll install and then forget about right away.
First, check your download folder, if you haven’t already. Anything you don’t need or have moved but inadvertently copied (rather than cut) and pasted to another location, delete it.
Of course, one way to reclaim storage space is to delete those games you promised you would play…I know, even the advice is blasphemous, but if you’re just sticking with a small selection, it’s worth considering the games you cycle through, And ignore the rest of the game.
Just like you and your Steam library, Windows has a bad habit of not cleaning itself up – it needs more than it needs unless you pay attention to how much space it’s taking up and take action.
If you installed Windows 10’s large seasonal update, you may have noticed that your free space has dropped significantly.For major Windows upgrades, including upgrades between versions, your previous Windows installation files are kept in a file named windows.old.
It is safe to delete this folder unless you plan to revert to a previous Windows installation. If you’ve just switched to Windows 11, you might as well give it a try before deleting the installation files from the previous version. Although Windows 11 is getting better when it comes to gaming.
Use Disk Cleanup to clean up the disk
One way to track and wipe windows.old is to use Disk Cleanup, which is also one of the easiest ways to clear your computer of excess data. It allows you to simultaneously get rid of any temporary files and reclaim storage space you didn’t even know you had.
To run it, click window key and enter Disk Cleanup.
By default, Disk Cleanup only offers the option to delete common items like temporary files and Recycle Bin contents.if you click Clean up system filesDisk Cleanup will restart, and a bunch of other data caches should now show up, so you can start purging.
There will now also be an option to delete the Windows update log and update data, as well as an option to delete previous Windows installations (windows.old). Once you click OK, and confirm in the next dialog, you should have more space.
If that hasn’t cut it, there are more options to reclaim some file space.
Disable/reduce page file size
The Windows page file is where your computer uses disk space as virtual memory when running low on RAM. That space is set aside whether you use it or not. More than 16GB of memory is standard on most systems these days. Unless you’re only packing 8GB of RAM, the benefits of using the pagefile probably won’t outweigh the storage loss. Alternatively, you can shrink it to a smaller size.
To disable the page file, right-click this computer In File Explorer, then click Properties.From there, click Advanced System Settings then click set up under advanced, Performance. then click advanced in the following window.
under Virtual Memory, you can see how much of your SSD Windows is dedicated to features you may not need.if you click Change You can decide whether to disable the paging file entirely, or reduce the amount of space allocated as virtual memory.
Disable system protection
Much like the page file, System Restore sets aside a percentage of disk space, but for a different purpose: recovery. It’s not actually super useful, as recovery points are created automatically and rarely resolve issues you might encounter. Disabling System Restore can give you at least a few gigabytes of storage.
To do this, right-click this computer, navigation Advanced System Settingsthen go to system protection Label. Here you can select the drive and click Configure.Now just one click Disable system protection.
Between disabling the pagefile, running disk cleanup, and disabling restore, I’ve opened up a lot of wasted space – at least 12GB in fact.
Discarding large files with WinDirStat
After taking back all the space Windows wasted without your knowledge, it’s worth checking to see if the problem is with your own files.
A very handy tool to find out which files and even directories are taking up space is WinDirStat. The tool will analyze your drive and create a color-coded graphical representation of its contents.
Download and run WinDirStat to see a graphical representation of the drive and a list of its largest files. I know, downloading stuff to free up space might seem counterintuitive, but stick with me.
Once you’ve identified the biggest culprits taking up your drive space, you can right-click and wipe them out directly from WinDirStat.
Or, if you need to keep them, just give them a new home on one of the best external SSDs.
Clean up duplicate files with Anti-Twin
You can also use a duplicate file finder app to clear unnecessary files. While the basic version only performs filename and checksum comparisons, more advanced versions can check for similarity, e.g. if you have two identical image files, but possibly one with different dimensions.
anti-twin is a great free tool that you can use to track down and eliminate exact and similar duplicate files.
The feature that makes Anti-Twin stand out from other duplicate file finder is that it comes with a content comparison option. This isn’t limited to images either.You can use it to compare MP3 files by ID3 tag by lowering the game minutes critical point.
After all, you should have discovered a bunch of extra space you didn’t even know was wasted, so now you can install more games on your machine. damn you.