How to automatically free up space in Windows 10, with Storage Sense
In Windows 10 Creators Update Microsoft included a small and useful feature for freeing up space on our computers and devices. It is called Storage Sense, it is present in every new Windows 10 version since, and it is getting better and better. Storage Sense removes files which you do not need, like temporary files and the contents of your Recycle Bin. Storage sense can be run automatically by Windows 10 every month, but you can also free up space manually, whenever you want to. In this guide, we will show you how to enable or disable Storage sense, how to configure it and how to use it to do automatic cleaning of your storage space. Let's start:
NOTE: This guide is designed for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which will be available to all Windows 10 users, for free, starting autumn 2017. Previous Windows 10 versions that were released before this date do not include all the options and settings that we will be talking about in this guide. If you are interested in cleaning storage spaces manually, we recommend you to read this tutorial instead: How to clean up Windows 10 storage space like a Pro, with the Storage Sense.
How to enable or disable Storage Sense in Windows 10
Storage sense is a tool that's found inside Windows 10 Settings app. For starters, you will need to open the Settings app. A quick way to do that is to open the Start Menu and then click or tap on the gear-like icon from the left. Or, if you have a keyboard on your Windows 10 device, press the Windows + I keys simultaneously.
Inside the Settings app, click or tap to open the System category.
On the left side of the window, select Storage.
On the right side, scroll down until you reach the section called Storage sense.
How to automatically clean your drives from unneeded files
Storage Sense tells you that "Windows can automatically free up space by getting rid of files you don't need, like temporary files and content in your recycle bin." To allow Windows 10 to do that, you must enable this switch.
Right under the Storage Sense switch, there is also a link called "Change how we free up space." Click or tap on it and move on to the next section of this guide.
How to configure the way Storage Sense frees up space
The "Change how we free up space" window is where you can configure how Storage Sense cleans your drives from unneeded files.
Here's what to expect:
Right under the Storage sense On/Off switch, Windows 10 shows you how much storage space has been cleaned up in the past month. For instance, our test computer cleaned 8.58 MB of space in the past month.
Then, you can choose what files should be considered temporary by Storage Sense and which should be deleted automatically and regularly by Windows 10. In the Temporary Files section, you can choose to:
- "Delete temporary files that my apps aren't using."
- "Delete files that have been in the recycle bin for over 30 days."
- "Delete files in the Downloads folder that haven't changed in 30 days."
It is self-explanatory what each of these three options does. What is also important about them is the fact that Windows 10 only enables the first two by default. It does not automatically enable the third one: "Delete files in the Downloads folder that haven't changed in 30 days". Many people keep important files which they download from the internet, in their Downloads folders. That's why automatically deleting those that are older than 30 days is not always a great idea.
If you do not keep important files in your Downloads folder and storage space is important for you, it is a good idea to check this option and let Storage Sense clean your Downloads folder every 30 days.
That's all there is to say about the automatic cleaning of your storage spaces. If you want to delve more into this subject and see how to free up space on your drives manually, check this guide also: How to clean up Windows 10 storage space like a Pro, with the Storage Sense.
The fact that now Windows 10 includes an option to clean your disks and recover free space automatically is a usability improvement over older versions of Windows 10. We like this feature, and we believe it is going to prove useful, especially for users with limited free space on their devices. Considering the high prices of solid state drives, this feature is a welcome addition. Try the Storage sense and let us know what you think about this feature in the comments below.