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How to Free Up Disk Space on Windows 10

by Cengiz Kuskaya

In this tutorial, I will show you how to free up disk space in Windows on the boot and additional volumes. If you cannot figure out where all the free space has gone, there are several points you can check and do.

Overview at a glance :

1. Check the affected volume with the free Tool “TreeSize” from Jam Software.
2. Windows Disk Cleanup.
3. Cleanup Volume Shadow Copies with VssAdmin.exe.
4. Cleanup automatically backed up Hotfixes and Service Packs with Dism.exe.

1. Check the affected volume with the free Tool “TreeSize” from Jam Software

To get an overview of your disks I would recommend to check the affected volumes with the free TreeSize Tool from Jam Software. As you can see below the tool will give you an overview of the entire volume.

If you see any suspicious big folders you can navigate to that and delete the unnecessary file and folders. With this tool you will not able to detect the “Volume Shadow Copies” and backed up “Hotfixes and Service Packs”.

To figure out if we have big in size “Volume Shadow Copies”, “Hotfixes and Service Packs” we have to use some builtin Windows Command Line Tools.

2. Windows Disk Cleanup

The second point we should check to free up disk space are the old Windows Installation Files and Upgrade Logs. In Windows 10 all Feature Updates can be defined as a new Operating System therefore prior a Feature Update, the whole Operating System is backed up automatically during the installation of the Feature Update.

If you are using Windows 10 and if you are up to date you will most probably have an Windows.Old folder under the C:\ drive and Upgrade Logs. To cleanup up these file and folders you can use the Windows Disk Cleanup Wizard. I would strongly recommend you to use the Wizard instead of deleting the file and folders manually.

Right click on the C:\ Drive and on the General Tab please click on Disk Cleanup. As you can see below in the screenshots there is more than 33GB of space which we can save.




3. Cleanup Volume Shadow Copies with VssAdmin.exe

You can also have lots of Volume Shadow Copies on your affected volume. To check if this is the case you can use the VssAdmin.exe command line tool.

Example : vssadmin list shadowstorage

As you can see below in the screenshot, in our case, on three different volumes, in total 54 GB shadow copies exists.

If you want to dig into every volume to see how many shadow copies exist you can use the below command.

Example : vssadmin list shadows /For=D:

This will list you the number of shadow copies avilable. Afterwards you can delete the shadow copies beginning from the end as follows.

Example : vssadmin Delete Shadows /For=D: /Oldest

If you want to delete all shadow copies on a specific volume without too much effort you can decrease the “Maximum Shadow Copy Storage space” to 1% and increase it later to its default (System Generated) value which is 30% in our case on the D:\ Volume. Mentioned below an example.

Example : vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=D: /On=D: /MaxSize=1%

4. Cleanup automatically backed up Hotfixes and Service Packs with Dism.exe

As you most probably know there is no Service Pack Logic available in Windows 10. The below command will delete all the backups of your Hotfix and Service Packs in Windows 7,8 and 8.1.

Example : Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase

All existing service packs and updates cannot be uninstalled after this command is completed. This will not block the uninstallation of future service packs or updates. If you want to uninstall a service pack or update after executing this command you have to re-install the service pack or update to be able to uninstall it.

Good luck !