Windows 10, how to find out which files are taking up the most space

By dint of installing programs, downloading files and scrolling the web Windows is starting to lose steam. Here's how to find out who's taking up valuable space

Windows 10 has fixed many of the problems Microsoft had with its operating system, starting with the user interface and usability. Windows 10 is not only faster, but also easier to use and with many more features available.

Unfortunately, despite the much work done by the Redmond company, Windows 10 can also suffer from some problems related to the speed of the computer, especially if the PC has a hard disk with many files inside. Fortunately, it is possible to use tricks that let you find out which files take up the most space inside your computer and are a real problem for the correct operation of Windows 10. Here's a very simple guide that will let you find out which files take up the most space on Windows 10.

Archive Tool

The Archive tool, for those who have never used it, might surprise you with the numerous functions it provides. In fact, it gives you a complete and detailed overview of the situation of the disks on your computer, their usage and the size of the files they host.

Many of you are probably already familiar with the Disk Properties dialog box. The information it provides is useful as are the features it allows you to access. But the Storage tool, by comparison, is like a sort of "command booth" for analyzing and managing the entire space available to Microsoft's operating system, especially the Windows 10 one. Follow, then, this step-by-step guide that will take you to learn even more about one of the most useful and important features to better manage your storage and, consequently, keep your computer in perfect shape at all times.

Disk Properties

Before moving on to analyze Windows 10 Storage Tools, let's take a quick look at the Disk Properties dialog box for comparison. Most Windows users are familiar with this window, which offers basic information about hard drive usage (Figure 1). The Disk Properties window shows values for the amount of Used Space and Available Space, and Total Capacity. Windows 10 - unlike previous versions of the Microsoft operating system that showed available space in the form of a pie chart - uses a ring chart instead. This is, of course, useful information, but it's really a trifle when compared to the Storage tool.

Windows 10 Storage Tools

Opening Windows 10's Storage tool is easy. Go, first, to File Explorer, select This PC, and click the Open Settings icon on the ribbon. You'll be catapulted to the Windows Settings page: select the System icon and then in the list on the left, the Storage tab. The Storage area is divided into three sections: Storage, Storage Locations, and Related Settings.

The Storage section displays all the drives currently connected to the system. This PC is the main hard drive, and it shows you - as you'll notice - a simple bar graph that displays the amount of space used out of the total available. Niente di spettacolare, ma la vera “magia" appare quando fate clic sull’icona Questo PC per aprire la pagina Uso dell’archiviazione. Qui troverete una panoramica molto più dettagliata di quanto spazio è utilizzato sul disco fisso suddiviso in una serie di categorie di storage. Nella parte superiore è presente un grafico a barre simile a quello della pagina precedente ma, in questo caso, è diviso in segmenti colorati che corrispondono alle categorie visualizzate nella parte sottostante: L’Uso dell’archiviazione mostra l’utilizzo del disco nelle seguenti categorie:

  • File di sistema e spazio riservato
  • App e giochi
  • Documenti
  • Immagini
  • Musica
  • Video
  • Email
  • OneDrive
  • Desktop
  • Mappe
  • Altre persone
  • File temporanei
  • Altro

Le categorie di Windows 10

Windows 10 permette di lavorare a livello di categorie per riuscire a liberare spazio inutile e migliorare le prestazioni del proprio computer. Sotto ogni categoria è riportato un valore numerico che mostra la quantità di spazio utilizzato e, se lo spazio è abbastanza grande, è presente una barra colorata.

Quando selezionate, per esempio, File di sistema e spazio riservato, saranno presenti quattro sezioni che mostrano la quantità di spazio occupato dai vari componenti del sistema, tra cui il file di ibernazione. La dimensione massima del File di ibernazione rappresenta, di solito, solo il 70-75% della quantità totale della memoria RAM. Tuttavia, potrebbe essere più piccolo, a seconda del numero di applicazioni che avete aperto quando mettete il sistema in modalità Ibernazione. To return to the previous window - Storage Usage - click the arrow in the upper left corner.

If you select Apps and Games instead, you'll get an overview of all programs installed in Windows 10. If you have many apps installed, you can use the search function to find a specific program present on any drive on your PC, as well as to sort the results by name, size or installation date. Next to each application, you'll find the amount of space it is using and when it was installed. If you click on its icon, the Uninstall button appears. The Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, OneDrive and the Desktop categories are not particularly useful because they only let you open their respective folders in File Explorer and view their contents. Others provides access to the Windows Account settings page. However, when you select the Temporary Files category, the Remove Temporary Files page will appear as shown in Figure 8. You have three functions at your disposal to free up disk space: Temporary Files, Clear Downloads and Empty Trash, and remove an older version of Windows.

Delete Programs

If you understand the reasons why your computer is so slow, you can also start fixing the problem. If you have too many programs installed and especially that you don't use you need to get tough and start uninstalling the really useless ones. If you have detected the "harmful" software, just go to the Control Panel, and click on "Uninstall a program" in the Programs section. A window will open with all the software installed on your computer: you'll have to select the one you want to delete and double click on it. This will start the uninstallation wizard that will let you recover space and improve the performance of Windows 10.

Deleting temporary files

Another problem that slows down Windows 10 is temporary files. Fortunately, thanks to a simple trick you'll be able to eliminate them and "regain" space on your hard disk. The first step to do is to press the Start key, enter Settings and then press System and then Storage. A new window will open from which you'll have to click on This PC and then on Temporary Files. Pressing the Delete Temporary Files button will delete all the unnecessary files that are just taking up space on your computer.