How to see what’s taking up space on drive on Windows 11

Windows 11 can quickly analyze and let you know how the hard drive space is being used to take action accordingly to free up space.

Windows 11 storage usage

On Windows 11, if you wonder what’s taking up space on your computer, you can find a quick answer using the Storage settings.

Although the Storage feature usually comes in handy to free up hard drive space, you can also use it to analyze the contents on the drive. This way, you can find out how the available space is being used and know where and what files to remove to reclaim space that otherwise you couldn’t use this feature.

If your computer’s hard drive begins to fill up, Windows 11 also includes “Cleanup Recommendations,” a feature that can tell you the files and apps you can delete to free up space quickly. Alternatively, you can also use DiskUsage, a command-line tool that lets you analyze the storage usage of a drive through Command Prompt, or you can use third-party tools (such as WinDirStat) to see what files use the most room to take action accordingly.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to use the Storage settings to understand the space usage on Windows 11. (See also this hands-on video to determine the files taking the most space.)

Check what files are taking up space on Windows 11

To see what files are taking up space on the hard drive 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 (C:)” section, see what’s taking up space on Windows 11.

    Windows 11 storage usage

  5. Click the Show more categories option.

  6. See what’s taking up space by other files, such as temporary files, apps, documents, pictures, and more.

    Storage usage by file type

  7. (Optional) Under the “Storage management” section, click the Advanced storage settings setting.

  8. Click the Storage used on other drives option.

    Storage used on other drives

  9. Select the secondary drive.

    Secondary drive storage usage

  10. See the storage usage of the drive.

    Files taking space on Windows 11

Once you complete the steps, you will clearly know what files take up most of the space on your computer.

The Storage settings offer an overview of virtually everything stored on any hard drive connected to Windows 11. For example, system files, apps, games, temporary files, and those files stored in the Documents, OneDrive, Pictures, Music, Videos, and files from other people if you are sharing the computer.

Check what files are taking up space using WinDirStat

WinDirStat is a more advanced hard drive usage statistic viewer that allows you to see what files are taking the most space in more detail.

Warning: This is a third-party software, and even though it’s a nondestructive application and usually works as expected, you have to use it at your own risk. You have been warned.

Install WinDirStat on Windows 11

To install WinDirStat on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to install the WinDirStat app on Windows 11 and press Enter:

    winget install WinDirStat.WinDirStat

    WinDirStat install on Windows 11

Once you complete the steps, you can use the app to scan the entire drive and get a report of the current hard drive usage.

View files taking up space on Windows 11

To use WinDirStat to determine what files are taking up space on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for WinDirStat and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Select the Individual Drives option.

  4. Select the drive you want to see what files are taking up space.

    WinDirStat select drive

  5. Click the OK button.

    Quick note: If the device is running low in space, making the experience very slow, you’ll notice that the app will freeze, showing the “Not responding” message, but eventually, it’ll complete successfully.

After completing the steps, WinDirStat will scan the drive, showing you a graphical report that will allow you to understand what files take up the most space.

WinDirStat check drive space usage
WinDirStat check drive space usage

A tree file structure lets you see which folder takes the most space on the top-left side. You can expand and drill down to find the file using the most space on the hard drive. And the top-right side displays the file extensions using the most space.

At the bottom of the page, you will find a graphical view representing each file as a rectangle (the bigger the rectangle, the bigger file). The color of each rectangle represents the file type as shown in the extension list.

If the file using a lot of space is one specific file, you can delete it from within the WinDirStat.

Check what files are taking up space with DiskUsage

Windows 11 also comes with the DiskUsage tool that lets you analyze the drive usage through Command Prompt.

To see what files are taking the most space with DiskUsage on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to analyze the storage usage of a folder on Windows 11 and press Enter:

    diskusage PATH/TO/LOCATION /h

    In the command, replace the PATH/TO/LOCATION for the location you want to analyze.

    For example, this command analyzes the contents of the Downloads folder:

    diskusage C:\Users\user\Downloads /h

    DiskUsage path

    In this example, the command generates a report of the disk space usage for the current location:

    diskusage /h
    Quick tip: The option /h is will display the size in a more friendly format, such as in KB, MB, or GB.
  4. Type the following command to find files larger than 4GB and press Enter:

    diskusage /minFileSize=FILE-SIZE-KB PATH/TO/LOCATION /h

    For example, this command will look and list files larger than 15MB in the Downloads folder:

    diskusage /minFileSize=1966080 C:\Users\user\Downloads /h

    DiskUsage file size

  5. Type the following command to list the top files by size on the drive in descending order for a given location and press Enter:

    diskusage PATH/TO/LOCATION /h /u=NUMBER

    In the command, replace the “PATH/TO/LOCATION” for the location you want to analyze and “NUMBER” with the number of files you want to see.

    For example, this command lists the top ten files from the system32 folder:

    diskusage C:\windows\system32 /h /u=10

    DiskUsage top files

  6. Type the following command to list the top folders by size on the drive in descending order for a given location and press Enter:

    diskusage PATH/TO/LOCATION /h /t=NUMBER

    In the command, replace the “PATH/TO/LOCATION” for the location you want to analyze and “NUMBER” with the number of folders you want to see.

    For example, this command lists the top ten folders from the system32 folder:

    diskusage C:\windows\system32 /h /t=10

    DiskUsage top folders

Once you complete the steps, you will be able to understand how space is being used by files in a specific location. You can also use the diskusage /? command to list all the options available and their descriptions.