What does "free up disk space" mean — and how do you fix it?

·3-min read

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free up disk space
If your computer is telling you to free up disk space on your hard drive, here's what to do. (Photo: Getty)

Raise your hand if you’ve been admonished by your own computer to free up disk space (*raises hand*). Yes, it’s probably happened to all of us at one point or another — interrupting a download, preventing a video call or bringing regular ol' web surfing to a screeching halt because, essentially, the PC’s hard drive is full.

A program like System Mechanic can help improve PC performance by identifying and troubleshooting the root causes of your computer troubles — up to 30,000 of them, actually. It will scan your computer in real time and clear out cookies on a regular basis. Of course, not all cookies are bad—some are designed to keep your shopping cart up to date or remember passwords for frequently visited sites, for instance—so System Mechanic will also let you allow any cookies you don’t want it to touch.

Beyond that, here are four totally doable ways to free up disk space on your computer, so you can go back to business (and browsing and shopping and streaming) as usual.

Try System Mechanic for 30 days free*

surprised and shocked businessman in the office, man looks at the phone screen, reads the news online
Here's how to get back to business as usual. (Photo: Getty)

Use the Disk Cleanup function on Windows.

Windows has a built-in feature that helps you free up disk space; it’s called Disk Cleanup. Just click the Start button and then search for it by name. Once you select this feature on your PC, it’ll prompt you to select Clean Up System Files. Then it’ll get to work selecting files, and you can choose which ones you want to delete.

Uninstall programs and apps you never use.

The more stuff you have in your system, the more clogged it is — it’s as simple as that. Get a look at them in descending order, with the largest files up top. The larger the file, the more storage space it’s using in your hard drive. Press the Windows key, search for Programs, then choose Programs and Features Control Panel. Comb through each program and app one by one, and if it’s something you never use or have long forgotten about, select the item and click Uninstall.

free up disk space
Use System Mechanic, then take these manual steps, to clean up your computer. (Photo: Getty)

Remove temporary files.

Sometimes when you download an app or program, it installs temporary files into your PC. You can go right into your storage settings and navigate to temporary files. You’ll be shown which temporary files are necessary to keep and which can be discarded; the latter will have a check mark beside it. Options will include recycle bin files, upgrade log files, and temporary internet files.

Back up large photos and videos to the cloud and delete them.

Like programs and apps, media storage like photos and videos also take up a lot of local hard drive space. You’ll want to first make sure (double and triple check) that your files are backed up using a cloud service, or at the very least an external hard drive. Then go into your PC’s storage settings, select Pictures and View Pictures, and delete anything that’s clogging the machine.

Don’t forget to empty the trash.

Even after you delete space-hogging files, they still remain in your Recycle Bin until you take out the trash. Free up disk space by selecting the files, then right-clicking or choosing Empty Trash to delete them forever. Before you do, of course, give the trash a once-over to make sure nothing was tossed by accident. Only when you empty the trash will your hard drive reflect the true storage space remaining on your computer.

Try System Mechanic for 30 days free*

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