How to free up space on Windows 11 (easy way)

Here are three effective ways to free up space on your computer.

Windows 11 free up space
Windows 11 free up space
  • To free up space on Windows 11, open Settings > System > Storage > Cleanup recommendations, select the files and unused apps, and click on “Cleanup.”
  • You can also open Settings > System > Storage > Temporary files, select the junk files and click on “Remove files.”
  • In addition, you can open Settings > System > Storage > Storage Sense, select the files to delete to free up space, and click on “Run Storage Sense now.”

Whenever your Windows 11 computer runs low on space, it’s critical to free up space to have more room for other files and improve system performance. Operating a device with a full drive will make the system sluggish and cause many errors. You should never use more than 70 percent of the total capacity to avoid performance issues.

Windows 11 offers many ways to free up space when the hard drive on your computer has low available space. Some of the easiest methods include using the Temporary file settings, Cleanup Recommendations, and Storage Sense features.

The “Temporary files” settings allow you to delete files not critical to running Windows 11. For instance, leftover files after installing a new version, upgrade logs, error reporting, temporary Windows installation files, and many others.

“Cleanup Recommendations” is a feature new to Windows 11 that automates the process of identifying the contents you can delete to help free up hard drive space on the computer, including junk, unused, large files, and unused apps.

“Storage Sense” is another feature that can help you free up space automatically whenever the drive is low on space. It does this by deleting temporary system and apps files, emptying the Recycle Bin and Downloads folders, and converting files already synced to OneDrive to online-only content.

This guide will teach you three easy ways to free up space on Windows 11.

Free up space on Windows 11 

Here are the instructions to use Temporary files, Cleanup Recommendations, and Storage Sense to free up space on Windows 11.

1. Delete temporary files to free up space

To delete temporary files to free up space on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Storage page on the right side.

  4. Under the “Local Disk” section, click the Temporary files setting.

    Open Temporary files

  5. Select the temporary files to remove from Windows 11.

  6. Click the Remove files button.

    Remove Windows 11 temp files

Once you complete the steps, junk files will be removed from your computer, freeing up space for more important files.

2. Free up space with Cleanup Recommendations

To use Cleanup Recommendations to free up space on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Storage tab.

  4. Under the “Storage management” section, click the Cleanup recommendations option.

    Cleanup recommendations

  5. Click on Temporary files.

  6. Check the files to delete to free up space on Windows 11.

    Quick tip: You can also click “See advanced options” to access the “Temporary files” settings to clean up more files.
  7. Click the Clean up button.

    Cleanup temp files recommendations

  8. Click on Large or unused files.

  9. Select the suggested files to free up storage space on Windows 11.

  10. Click the Clean up button.

  11. Click on Files sync to the cloud.

  12. Select the files available locally since they are already in the cloud.

    Windows 11 files cleanup

  13. Click the Cleanup button.

  14. Click on Unused apps.

  15. Select the apps you would like to remove to make more space on the device.

  16. Click the Clean up button.

    Uninstall unused apps on Windows 11

After you complete the steps, the Cleanup Recommendations features will delete the files to make more space to store other important files. Depending on the amount of data, Windows 11 should improve noticeably.

3. Free up space with Storage Sense

To free up space with Storage Sense on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Storage tab.

  4. Click the Storage Sense setting.

    Open Storage Sense

  5. Check the “Keep Windows running smoothly” option.

  6. Turn on the “Automatic User content cleanup” toggle switch.

    Enable Storage Sense

  7. Under the “Configure cleanup schedules” section, use the “Run Storage Sense” setting and select the “During low free disk space” option.

  8. Use the “Delete files in my recycle bin” setting to choose the files to delete from the Recycle Bin. (Then the 1-day option clears the most files.)

  9. Use the “Delete files in my Downloads folder” to clean up the files from the Downloads folder. (You want to make a copy of any important file before selecting this option.)

  10. Under the “Locally available cloud content” section, use the OneDrive setting and select when synced files should become online-only to free up space.

  11. Click the “Run Storage Sense now” button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 will free up space making more room to store other files. Also, since you are enabling the feature, Storage Sense will run automatically during low available drive space.

If, after using these methods, the computer continues low in drive space, you may want to try resetting the system or performing a clean install of Windows 11.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].