How to Save Space on Windows 11: Best tips to free up storage space

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How to Save Space on Windows 11: Best tips to free up storage space

Credit: Future

Storage is more affordable than ever before, at least when it isn’t at the heart of the newest cryptocurrency craze, but that doesn’t mean all those bits and bytes have to be thrown away. In Windows 11, there are numerous ways to increase your storage capacity: Removing unnecessary files, turning off the Hibernate function, and freeing up some space in the operating system.

None of these approaches are without flaws. The ones linked with deleting superfluous files are the simplest to manage. Getting these papers, images, and other things back into your device is usually simple by using an external drive or a cloud-based service. This is only a problem if you lose access to that disk or service when you most need it.

Disabling the Hibernate function, on the other hand, might have a more significant influence on your day-to-day experience with Windows 11, and recovering the operating system’s “reserved storage” can lead to more severe issues than a few apparently wasted gigabytes of storage. However, as long as you are aware of the hazards before entering, the features can be removed to save space.

By far the most basic technique to optimize your storage on Windows 11 is to eliminate superfluous files. This can range from enormous files you no longer require, such as a YouTube video you downloaded in 2017 but haven’t seen since, well, 2017, to a variety of temporary files produced automatically by the applications you use. Here’s how you get rid of some of them to create a place for new ones.


How to Uninstall Unwanted Apps and Files in Windows 11

If you know you aren’t using an application anymore, uninstalling it will save up some space.

1. In the Settings app, go to the Storage page. The simplest option is to enter the Start menu, search for “Storage,” and then select “Storage settings.” You can also open the Settings app, select the “System” tab in the sidebar, and then click “Storage.”

Storage settings

Credit: Future

2. At the top of the page, select one of the categories. For example, the “Apps & features” category takes up the majority of our system’s storage, while “Other” takes up a sizable portion. Choose the category that concerns you the most, and we’ll see what programs and functions we can delete to free up space on our test system.

Apps & features

Credit: Future

3. Select the software you want to uninstall, then click ‘Uninstall.’ If it’s a first-party app, this will instantly delete it from your system; if it’s third-party software, this will begin the removal process. If you have additional space-hungry apps that you aren’t using, this is an easy method to free up some space in Windows 11.

Select the software

Credit: Future

Automatic app archiving in Windows 11

Windows 11 may automatically “archive” applications you don’t use very often to free up storage space. Here’s how to enable this functionality if you’re okay with letting the OS decide.

1. In Windows search, type archive and then choose “Automatically archive seldom used apps.”

Automatically archive seldom used apps

Credit: Future

2. Turn the feature on

Turn the feature on

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How to Enable Windows 11 Storage Sense

Storage Sense can, at its most basic level, automatically delete temporary files created by numerous programs as well as Windows 11. However, it may also be programmed to delete certain of your files, such as those in the Recycle Bin or in the Downloads folder, if you like, making it a simple method to free up disk space.

1. From the Start menu, type ‘Storage Sense.’ Within the results, there should be two options under the “Settings” header: “Turn on Storage Sense” or “Change how Storage Sense frees up space.” You can choose either one.

Turn on Storage Sense

Credit: Future

2. Storage Sense must be enabled and configured. When you select one of those options, the Storage Sense page in the Settings app appears, with a range of setup options. You may activate or disable automated temporary file cleanup, select if the function can handle User settings, and configure the Storage Sense operation schedule, among other things.

Storage Sense must be enabled

Credit: Future

How to use Disk Cleanup on Windows 11

Disk Cleanup is software that cleans up your computer by deleting unwanted files. It’s a simple tool that can remove important data with a few clicks; the challenge is recognizing it exists in the first place. Here’s how to make the most of this option in Storage Sense and the Settings app.

1. From the Start menu, type ‘Disk Cleanup.’ This is the easiest approach to start Disk Cleanup; simply choose the software from the search results.

Disk Cleanup

Credit: Future

2. Select the kind of files you want to remove. Disk Cleanup can remove a wide range of file kinds from the system, including Downloaded Program Files and the Recycle Bin, so all you have to do is check the box next to the category you want to delete and then click the “OK” button at the bottom of the app’s window.

Downloaded Program Files and the Recycle Bin

Credit: Future

3. Verify that you wish to remove those files. A dialog box will open, asking whether you are sure you want to remove the files in the category you choose. After you click “Delete Files,” Disk Cleanup will launch and display a new window indicating its progress, which will automatically dismiss when it’s finished eliminating the specified files. The confirmation dialog is closed when you click “Cancel,” but Disk Cleanup remains open.

Delete Files

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4. Optional: Delete system files with Disk Cleanup. Disk Cleanup can also be used to delete data that Windows uses for different purposes. You’ll need an account with Administrator access to do this, but if you select “Clean up system files,” you’ll see numerous additional options in the categories list to pick from.

Clean up system files

Credit: Future

5. Optional: Select which system files you want to remove. You can eliminate new categories created by Disk Cleanup, such as “Windows Update Cleanup” and “Previous Windows Installation.” These can clear up a lot more space than other file types—for example, Windows Update Cleanup can free approximately 6.36 GB—but they might also necessitate a system restart or cause issues if something goes wrong.

Windows Update Cleanup

Credit: Future

The rest of the procedure follows the same steps as before: Disk Cleanup will prompt you to confirm that you wish to remove the files you’ve chosen, then open a new window to track its progress before closing itself after it’s finished cleaning your disk with a… bristle brush?

How to disable Hibernation on Windows 11

By default, Windows 11 and Windows 10 store everything that happens in memory to the C: drive. This may appear strange, but selecting Hibernation mode rather than entirely shutting down helps the operating system to come up quicker. You’ve probably experienced the benefits of Hibernation mode if you’ve ever closed a laptop and then reopened it to take up right where you left off, or if you’ve ever been able to start working on your desktop merely by wiggling your mouse.


Disabling this function has drawbacks, including a loss of responsiveness in the instances indicated above, but it can help free up some valuable storage space. This is how.

1. As an administrator, run PowerShell or Command Prompt. We’ll be using PowerShell in our demonstrations, but you can disable Hibernation with any software, and the methods are almost the same. Simply go to the Start menu and type “Command Prompt” instead of “PowerShell,” then pick the “Run as administrator” option in the right sidebar.

Run as administrator

Credit: Future

2. Enter the command: code>powercfg /hibernate off/code>. (Alternatively, if you’re using Command Prompt, use code>powercfg.exe /hibernate off/code>.) PowerShell will not provide any indication that the procedure was completed, so don’t be concerned if an empty prompt is displayed after entering the command. We’ll carefully verify if it worked.

Displayed after entering the command

Credit: Future

3. Navigate to the “Storage used on other drives” page in Settings. The quickest way to do this is to search for “Storage usage” via the Start menu and select “Storage usage on other drives.” (It’s not clear why the name is different, but that is the correct page.)

Storage used on other drives

Credit: Future

4. Click ‘System & reserved’ after selecting your C: drive. This will reveal how much of your storage space is dedicated to Windows functions, including Hibernation, which is the main emphasis of this section of the lesson.

System & reserved

Credit: Future

5. Look to see whether Hibernation is available. On our test system, Hibernation used 6.36GB of storage, as seen on the left side of the image below. However, the feature is no longer visible on the right side of the image, indicating that it was effectively disabled.

feature is no longer visible

Credit: Future

6. Reactivate Hibernation. If you decide that saving a few megabytes of storage isn’t worth the pain of losing Hibernation, you may re-enable the functionality using the command: code>powercfg /hibernate on/code>.

Only one command is required to disable and enable Hibernation. It takes longer to determine how much space the feature consumes or to validate that the command was executed successfully than it does to manage the setting. It’s now up to you to decide whether you want to disable the function or leave it on your system to optimize storage or convenience.

How to disable Reserved storage on Windows 11

Disabling Reserved storage, which the operating system uses to “enable appropriate performance and effective upgrades of your device,” as Microsoft puts it in the Settings app, is another option to recover some of your disk space from Windows. On storage-constrained computers, the function claims 7GB of space by default but automatically reduces that to “2% of system volume capacity or 3GB of disk space, whichever is lower,” according to the business.


That implies that turning off Reserved storage usually frees up 3GB to 7GB of space. However, removing Reserved storage is not for the faint of heart—disabling Reserved storage might result in unforeseen complications that the normal user is unlikely to want to deal with. If that’s not enough, here’s how to turn off Reserved storage on Windows 11 and 10.

1. As an administrator, run PowerShell or Command Prompt. We’ll use PowerShell to do this because it’s identical to deactivating Hibernation. However, Command Prompt also works. The instructions will be somewhat different for each software. That being said: Choose “Run as administrator” after searching for your desired software.

PowerShell or Command Prompt

Credit: Future

2. Set-WindowsReservedStorageState -State Disabled is the command to use. We don’t need to use Settings since, unlike Hibernation, a notice will confirm the action was successful.

Set-WindowsReservedStorageState

Credit: Future

3. Check the status of reserved storage. To rapidly see if Reserved storage is presently enabled or deactivated, use the code>Get-WindowsReservedStorageState/code> command in PowerShell or the code>DISM /Online /Get-ReservedStorageState/code> command in Command Prompt.

Check the status of reserved storage

Credit: Future

4. Reserved storage should be enabled again. If you want to activate Reserved storage again, run the following PowerShell command: code>Set-WindowsReservedStorageState -State Enabled/code>. (Alternatively, use DISM /Online /Set-ReservedStorageState /State: Enabled in Command Prompt.)

Reserved storage should be enabled

Credit: Future

These instructions should immediately free up 3GB to 7GB of storage that Windows 11 and Windows 10 have set aside for their own purposes. If you’re on a genuinely space-constrained machine, Reserved Storage may be handy, but if you have the extra space, it’s typically worth leaving on now that Microsoft has restricted the amount of space it steals silently.

How to delete restore points in Windows 11

In addition, Windows 11 and Windows 10 establish “restore points” that may be used to restore a system configuration to a specified point in time. This is especially beneficial when the operating system looks to be so broken that it would be worth risking data loss to return to a time when everything worked properly.


“Restore points are created when you install a new program or driver, as well as when you manually establish a restore point,” Microsoft writes. Personal data will not be affected by restoring, however programs, drivers, and updates installed after the restore point will be removed.” The amount of storage dedicated to these restoration points varies; our test system gives it to 10GB.

However, because there are alternative ways to recover from the kind of issues restore points are meant to solve, removing them might help free up some space on your system. Here’s how to turn off System Restore or erase individual restore points.

1. In the Control Panel, go to System Protection. It may sound counterintuitive, but the simplest method to accomplish this is to go to the Start menu and search for “System Protection,” then pick “Create a restore point.” Instead of creating a restore point, this takes us to the page we’re searching for.

Create a restore point

Credit: Future

2. Select ‘Configure’ from the drop-down menu. This will open a new window with several choices for controlling the System Restore function as well as the restore points themselves.

Configure

Credit: Future

3. Disable System Protection, set a storage limit for it, or remove all restore points. Everything related to System Restore is easily accessible from the new window. You may turn off the function completely, set a storage limit for it, or wipe all of the restore points that the system has made and preserved on your hard disk.

Disable System Protection

Credit: Future

Windows will remove restore points based on your preferences once you’ve verified that you wish to finish whichever action you picked. If you choose to disable System Restore entirely, it’s probably a good idea to have a backup installation method handy, but limiting its maximum usage offers a good middle ground between “devoting gigabytes of storage to a feature you might never use” and “being left without a way to revert to a state where all your operating system, apps, and drivers actually worked.”

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