5 Ways to Increase Space and Free Up Storage on Your Laptop

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Your laptop has limited storage space, which means that you should ration it carefully. Hitting your storage capacity at a crucial moment can derail your plans, and you might think that the limited storage space means that you have no option other than to max out your hard drive. However, the truth is that there are countless ways to increase storage capacity and free up storage on your laptop so that you can save your important files with ease.

There are several ways to get a bit of extra room on your machine, and we will be discussing five of the best options below. Remember, you should never bring your hard disk to capacity because this can slow your computer down and prevent it from working correctly. Hence, many of the solutions we have provided aren’t just for getting extra storage space. Instead, they are essential aspects of laptop maintenance and can become crucial components of keeping your computer in prime condition. Without further ado, here are five ways to get more bang for your buck from your laptop storage.

Method #1 – Use Disk Cleanup

Windows 10 has a convenient tool that can free up a lot of space on your laptop. It’s called Disk Cleanup, and its primary function is to clean up as many unnecessary files as possible. That includes cached internet files, remnants of previous versions of Windows, along with files that your system might have created in erroneous memory dumps.

Cortana can open Disk Cleanup for you, and alternatively, you can type the program name in the search bar and click on the icon you are shown. Your C Drive is the most crucial drive to use this tool on because it is where most temporary files and memory dumps are stored.

Once you open Disk Cleanup, it will show you a range of files that it can remove for you in a single click. You can select the files you want to delete if you wish, but it would be faster to choose all of them and delete them because it’s unlikely that any of them would be necessary.

Cleaning up system files is another function that Disk Cleanup can perform. That will remove leftover files from old Windows versions that your laptop might have used. The cleanup process is quick and easy, and it can sometimes result in an extra gigabyte or two of storage space.

Method #2 – Try External Storage Methods

You don’t have to depend solely on your laptop’s internal storage if it’s proving insufficient. Several external storage methods can supplement your main hard drive, some of which are physical and others purely digital.

An external hard drive can be perfect in these situations. It can be a portable storage dump to keep all the files that you don’t need immediately. Storing some of your heavier files here, especially media files you don’t intend to use anytime soon, can increase storage space for other more essential data.

Cloud storage can also be a big help to you here. Microsoft offers cloud storage through OneDrive, and it is highly recommended that you keep the majority of your non-essential files and data on this service. That will store your data on a digital server, and you can buy extra storage capacity without having to invest in a physical storage drive.

Combining cloud storage with an external hard drive or USB can give you up to half of your storage space back. Most of this space would have been taken up by files that you don’t need on a day-to-day basis anyway, so storing them remotely makes sense.

Method #3 – Activate Storage Sense

Windows 10 has brought several valuable tools that can help you manage your storage. Disk Cleanup is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to get into advanced storage management, you should consider using Storage Sense. It’s a setting that you can turn on by going to Storage Settings. The way it works is that it would automate the deletion of unnecessary or temporary files. That’s similar to Disk Cleanup, but with Storage Sense, the process runs on its own.

Another benefit of turning Storage Sense on is that you can program it to empty your Recycle Bin and Downloads every two months. Files accumulated in either of these folders can often fly under the radar, which is why you might be surprised by how little storage you have left. If you don’t want Storage Sense to run all the time, you can set it to run only when you are short on disk space. That way, you wouldn’t have to deal with your files suddenly disappearing right when you needed them. It can help you avoid manually cleaning your hard disk up which can be a frustrating and time consuming process.

Method #4 – Compress and Zip Your Files

The key to keeping maximum storage space available at all times is to strategically store large files that aren’t vital to your daily tasks. While using cloud storage and external hard drives is helpful, you might need some files on hand but would want to make them use less space than they usually would. Compression software can help you do this, and Windows 10 has a built-in compression system called NTFS that can work wonders here.

To compress a file, right-click on it to go to Properties. Enter the Advanced section and then select the compress contents option. The file will be available in a lightweight compressed folder called a zip folder once you press OK.

One thing to bear in mind is that frequent compression and decompression can be draining to your system. It requires significant processing power, so this is not a worthwhile option for people with limited system resources. That said, it is an option that can come in handy if you don’t have cloud storage or an external hard drive or if you need to free up space temporarily for a program that you need for a day or two.

Method #5 – Reconfigure Search Indexer

Your operating system creates an index over time to find files quickly when you search for them. However, sometimes this index can become bloated and start taking up excessive space, and if this happens, you need to remove it and rebuild it.

When you go to Search Settings, you will notice a tab called “Searching Windows.” This allows you to modify the settings that govern the search engine used in your system. Clicking the Advanced button in Advanced Search Indexer Settings will show you a separate tab for Index Settings. This tab has a Rebuild button that you can click on.

Once you have clicked on Rebuild, your system will remove your old search index and configure a new one in its place. Some of your older search results will be deleted, resulting in a leaner and more efficient search index. You might notice your laptop processing and completing tasks faster as well. That’s because your system has more space on the hard drive to perform functions with. Also, there is the intrinsic advantage of clearing up significant space for storage.


How Much Storage Space Do I Need?

It depends on your needs. Generally, your laptop should have at least 512GB of available storage space to be functional. Some people get by with 256GB, but that can be restrictive for most. If you plan on keeping a large media archive or using heavy software, go for 1TB.

If you want to learn more you can check out our article, How Much Storage Do I Need on My Laptop?

Why Can’t I Use All the Storage Space Available?

A. You can, technically speaking, but it will slow your computer down. Your laptop needs free memory to perform specific functions, and if the entirety of your hard drive is taken up by data then your computer won’t have any room to process these functions. That would lead to frequent freezing and crashing as well.

What’s the Best Type of Storage?

Solid State Drives are the best types of storage devices if you want something internal for your laptop. If you’re looking for something external, on the other hand, a flash drive can do the trick.


You don’t have to feel restricted when it comes to storage space. There are tons of ways to get a bit more mileage out of your hard drive, and you’d be surprised at just how much extra space you can get if you know how these things work. A major problem with laptop storage space is that there are a lot of inefficiencies. That leads to excess storage being used up by programs and files that have no business being on your system. With our five methods you can make a relatively small hard disk store all the files you will ever need.

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