"Decrapify" your Windows Computer

Note: Article Still Under development

.

Definition: Crapware

https://www.zdnet.com/article/crapware-why-manufacturers-install-it-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

<snip>

Crapware (also known as "bloatware" or "junkware") is the stuff that hardware makers install onto their devices on top of the operating system.

</snip>

Why do they do this? They are paid to.  The software maker pays them to install these "free trials". The software makers are betting that even a small percentage of users will convert from the free trial to the paid full version.  Some makers, and even MS itself, offer to sell you "clean" systems with no crapware installed. It typically costs you an extra $100 or more

MS is also in on the act of installing "crapware". Windows 10 now comes with a lot of games and "free trials" and other utilities that are not directly required by Windows or business users.  Windows 10 Home has one set of crapware, but even "Business" versions of Windows now include a different set of "free" crapware, including some games!

.

Definition: Decrapify

"Decrapify" has become a technical term for deleting "Crapware", freeing up space on your computer. It can be extended to include unwanted files.

.

Introduction

You expect a new computer to be optimized and ready to go. But it is not. The installation is generic, settings favor MS's views. And builders are paid to install "demonstration" software. Some is fully functional, some is functionally limited, almost all is time limited. The best known example is Microsoft Office. Most new computers come with a free trial of Office installed. But if it is not the exact same bundle you plan to use, the trial is wasting space.

.

As well, over time additional unused applications and files accumulate on the computer. For example, some programs you install intentionally "sneak in" "free", optional demonstrator programs.  Some of these "extras" are benign, they just waste space. Others are actually malware.

.

Now there is another problem on the horizon.  MS and computer builders have been pushing small cheap laptops and tablets. One of the "cost savings" is they come with 32GB hard drives.  While on the surface that sounds reasonable since MS says Windows 10 only needs 20GB for a 64bit installation.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/design/minimum/minimum-hardware-requirements-overview

Note 1: in April 2019, MS revised the minimum space required. For both 32 and 64bit Windows 10, starting with Version 1903 the mimumum space required is 32GB.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/design/minimum/minimum-hardware-requirements-overview#section-30---minimum-hardware-requirements-for-windows10-for-desktop-editions

.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-10-pc-with-under-32gb-storage-no-1903-update-for-you-says-microsoft/

.Note 2: As part of Version 1903, MS will be blocking off up to 7GB of "Reserved Space" to be used during updates.  (I'm sure that contributed to upping the minimum limit to 32GB

https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-windows-10-to-grab-7gb-of-your-storage-so-big-updates-dont-fail/

.

That leaves 12 GB, seemingly lots of space.  But Office takes about 4GB (depending on the specific Office bundle you have), plus the other factory installed crapware and that after Office 9GB starts shrinking quickly.  Although it is impolitic to say so here, I find a lot of the new "windows 10 store apps" also qualify as crapware.  I'm sorry, but I don't NEED "candy crush". I don't need "photos" when I can get a traditional application like GIMP. Why use "mail" when I rely on my cloud email (Hotmail or Gmail).  And so on, and so on.

.

Then you throw in system checkpoints, and monthly updates (which create uninstall backups) and more space is quickly used up. 

.

The real fix is to get a bigger drive. Unfortunately it is not realistic for many devices. Instead we have to waste a lot of time doing frequent work a-rounds to free up space for MS updates ... <sigh>

Why did MS do this? Don't forget that Windows 10 has been in development for several years prior to it's release in 2015.  So back then, 32GB of SSD space was still very expensive. AND, the initial versions of Win 10 were able to get by on 32GB for the first year or slightly more.  But now, due to "feature creep" it simply is not enough

.

2018 09 28- Win10 Oct 2018 Update: Dump your files to avoid crashes, warns Microsoft

https://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-10-october-2018-update-dump-your-files-to-avoid-crashes-warns-microsoft/ 

Got a 32GB Windows 10 device? You probably shouldn't have bought it, but here's how to make sure it doesn't stumble during the next Windows 10 update.

.


Summary: Free Up Space Tips

  1. Remove unneeded applications, aka "crapware"
  2. Move applications (when possible) to install on external drives (some won't allow it, specifically MS Office!)
  3. Remove user files you don't currently, actively, need to external storage (like USB or OneDrive)
  4. Run the built in "Disk Clean" utility or similar freeware tool like CCleaner to delete unneeded "temp" files, like update setups and browser temps
  5. After 2018 Fall update the "Storage Sense" feature will help keep drive clean
  6. Use an external drive as a supplement for the update install
  7. Use the "Compact OS" feature to use file compression on the Windows installation
  8. For some devices, install a larger SSD drive, min 64GB, but more realistically 256GB or more  (some small devices like tablets may not allow this)
  9. Last resort, do a full "clean install" of Windows.
  10. Delete the Recovery partition ("Advanced" technique)

1. Remove unneeded applications, aka "crapware"

2019 12 09- 12 Unnecessary Windows Programs and Apps You Should Uninstall

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-windows-programs-uninstall/.

Out of all the software on your computer, how many programs do you actually use regularly? Most people keep a fair amount of unnecessary software installed on their systems. While some of these apps are just outdated, others are downright malicious or dangerous.

.

1. QuickTime

2. CCleaner 

3. Crappy PC Cleaners

4. uTorrent

5. Shockwave Player

6. Java

7. Microsoft Silverlight

8. All Toolbars and Junk Browser Extensions

9. Coupon Printer for Windows

10. Manufacturer Bloatware

11. Windows

10 Bloatware

12. WinRAR
.

.

2019 05 07-How to Uninstall Apps on Windows (Without Leaving Leftover Junk Data)

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-uninstall-apps-on-windows/

</snip>

We’ll show you how to uninstall apps on Windows without leaving any leftover data.

(here are the major headings in the article)

.  *  Should I Remove It

.  *  Revo Uninstaller (Free, Pro Version: $24.95)

.  *  Geek Uninstaller (Free)

.  *  Bulk Crap Uninstaller (Free)

.  *  How to Uninstall Antivirus Apps

.  *  How to Uninstall Adobe Creative Cloud Apps

.  *  How to Uninstall Microsoft Office From a PC

.  *  How to Uninstall Bloatware on a Windows PC

</snip>

2019 05 09- The fastest way to remove Windows 10 bloatware- Windows 10 Debloater

https://www.digitalcitizen.life/windows-10-debloater

This is a new tool (I Rohn007 have not yet tested) written in PowerShell (PS). That means after getting the basic application, you can customize it by adding or removing PowerShell scriptlets. PS scriptlets are text files with commands (very similar to DOS Batch commands).

.

<snip>

Here is the list of programs removed:

3DBuilder

ActiproSoftware

Alarms

Appconnector

Asphalt8

Autodesk SketchBook

Bing Finance

Bing Food And Drink

Bing Health And Fitness

Bing News

Bing Sports

Bing Travel

Bing Weather

BioEnrollment

Caesars Slots Free Casino

Camera

CandyCrush

CandyCrushSoda

ContactSupport

CyberLink MediaSuite Essentials

DrawboardPDF

Duolingo

EclipseManager

Facebook

FarmVille 2: Country Escape

Flipboard

Fresh Paint

Get started

iHeartRadio

King apps

Maps

March of Empires

Messaging

Microsoft Office Hub

Microsoft Solitaire Collection

Microsoft Sticky Notes

Minecraft

Netflix

Network Speed Test

NYT Crossword

Office Sway

OneConnect

OneNote

Pandora

People

Phone

Phototastic Collage

PicsArt-PhotoStudio

PowerBI

Royal Revolt 2

Shazam

Skype for Desktop

SoundRecorder

TuneInRadio

Twitter

Windows communications apps

Windows Feedback Hub

Windows Reading List

Xbox Game CallableUI

Xbox Identity Provider

XboxApp

Zune Music

Zune Video

</snip>

.

2019 07 23- Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/best-way-clean-windows-10-step-step-guide/

.

2019 05 07- How much bloatware does Windows 10 have?

https://www.digitalcitizen.life/windows-10-bloatware

.

2019 04 22 Windows 10 apps: Which are worth keeping? Which ones should you dump?

https://www.zdnet.com/pictures/windows-10-apps-which-are-worth-keeping-which-ones-should-you-dump/

.

2018 11 15- How to Easily Remove Bloatware From Windows 10

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/easily-remove-bloatware-windows-10/

This article brings together all of the native Windows 10 ways I know of to "decrapify" your computer, and a couple of new ones I haven't seen.

<snip>

Windows 10 does come with a reasonably large amount of bloatware. In most cases, it is easy to remove. There are also a few different removal options, too: using the traditional uninstall, using PowerShell commands, and third-party installers.

Bloatware doesn’t feature within the System > Apps & Features list you would normally use to uninstall a program. Why would it? Microsoft and other manufacturers who deliver products with bloatware stand to profit from your using them, so making it easy to uninstall isn’t in their best interest.

</snip>

Here are the article headings:

  • Uninstall Windows 10 Bloatware Apps
  • Using PowerShell to Remove Bloatware
  • Hide Apps Using the “Remove-AppxPackage” Command
  • Deleting Windows 10 Bloatware With DISM
  • Delete Using Windows10Debloater PowerShell Script
  • Why Delete Windows 10 Bloatware Apps?

.

2018 04 24- Avoid Windows 10 crapware: How to get rid of Candy Crush and all the rest

https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-steer-clear-of-windows-10s-built-in-crapware/

.

2018 02 15 Hey Microsoft, Stop Installing Apps On My PC Without Asking

https://www.howtogeek.com/342871/hey-microsoft-stop-installing-apps-on-my-pc-without-asking/

<snip>

I’m getting sick of Windows 10’s auto-installing apps. Apps like Facebook are now showing up out of nowhere, and even displaying notifications begging for me to use them. I didn’t install the Facebook app, I didn’t give it permission to show notifications, and I’ve never even used it. So why is it bugging me?

...

The Microsoft Consumer Experience is actually a background task that runs whenever you sign into a Windows 10 PC with a new user account for the first time. It kicks into gear and automatically downloads apps like Candy Crush Soda Saga, FarmVille 2: Country Escape, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and whatever else Microsoft feels like promoting.

...

</snip>

The point is, if you haven't already done it, go looking for these apps to uninstall them.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-steer-clear-of-windows-10s-built-in-crapware/ - Crapware installed with 2018 Spring Creator Update

https://www.digitalcitizen.life/removing-bloat-crapware-pc-decrapifier-or-slimcomputer

http://www.7tutorials.com/how-remove-crapwarebloatware-optimize-windows

http://www.7tutorials.com/removing-bloat-crapware-pc-decrapifier-or-slimcomputer

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-apps-for-crapware-cleanup/1256

https://www.technibble.com/free-precious-time-tron-script/   Free Up Your Precious Time With The Tron Script- 2015 02 03

2. Move applications (when possible) to install on external "SD" drives (some apps won't allow it, specifically MS Office!)

2017 03 06- How to install apps on a separate drive on Windows 10 – External Drive (to Free Up Space)

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-install-apps-separate-drive-windows-10

When your PC has limited storage space, or you simply want to keep things separate, use this guide to install or move apps to a different drive on Windows 10.

Install an SD Card for Apps.

For devices with an SD card slot, Windows 10 lets you move large apps and games from the main drive. These days, you can get an SD card with as much as 256 GBs of space. This is more than perfect for a system with limited onboard space.

Note: This only works with Microsoft Store apps. Classic desktop apps and those that come built into Windows 10 cannot be moved.

In Windows 10 open Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & features. Select an app or game downloaded from the Windows Store, then click Move.

Click on the Select a drive to move this app to: list box, choose the drive representing your SD card then click Move.

Sources: https://www.groovypost.com/howto/maximize-stora...

2017 03 06- HOW TO INSTALL APPS ON A SEPARATE DRIVE ON WINDOWS 10 – EXTERNAL DRIVE

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-install-apps...

By Mauro Huculak Monday, Mar 6, 2017 at 7:00 am EST
When your PC has limited storage space, or you simply want to keep things separate, use this guide to install or move apps to a different drive on Windows 10.

3. Remove user files you don't currently, actively, need to external storage (like USB or OneDrive)

All of us are pack rats. We keep files we don't use, just in case we need them in the future. Well, on a device with a very small drive this is a luxury we can no longer afford. Only keep the files you need immediately on the computer. All other files, keep in the cloud (aka OneDrive) or on small USB / SD storage devices. 

There are a few ways to approach this. One is logically. Look at the folders and file names and decide which files/folders to move.  Another way is to use the disk mapping tools to identify the largest folders and files, and decide what you can or have to do with the largest ones.

.

2017 11 07- 7 Ways to Maximize Storage Space on Low Capacity Windows 10 Devices

https://www.groovypost.com/howto/maximize-storage-Space-low-capacity-windows-10-devices/

A few years ago starting with the launch of Windows 8.1, Microsoft and industry partners launched devices that could compete with Apple’s iPad. These devices were severely limited in their storage space, including some with around 16 GBs of storage. The use case was multimedia consumption and casual usage – web browsing, email, listening music, streaming video. You were expected to use Windows Store apps, keep your files on OneDrive and use On Demand Files to manage storage.

OneDrive On Demand Files - https://www.groovypost.com/howto/enable-onedriv...

If you have Windows 10 running on a limited capacity device, you probably are looking for the most affordable option to recover some space. Starting with Windows 10 1709, Microsoft reintroduced OneDrive Files on Demand. This nifty functionality lets you keep all your files on OneDrive and only download the ones you need. Our recent article covers all the details how to set it up and configure it.

If you are not using OneDrive, or even if you are, sometimes "large" files sneak on to your HD.  There are a number of tools you can use to identify the large individual files, folders and application folders. I like to start the cleanup process by using one of these space mapping tools to get an initial idea of what is taking up the most space. Sometimes you can find an obvious big hitter that frees up a lot of space in one step.  You will be coming back to these tools later in the process when it comes time to move files to other drives.

"Old School" Text View- Get More Mass Storage by Dealing with Large Files

http://www.dummies.com/computers/pcs/get-mass-storage-dealing-large-files/

<snip>

.A quick way to improve dwindling storage media capacity is to hunt down those items that consume the most space. These are large files, some of which you might not be aware of. For example, purging a downloaded movie from your PC’s hard drive could gain you 4GB of storage.

.

To locate large files on your computer, use the Windows Search command. Follow these steps:

.

</snip>

.

.

Windows 10 Settings Storage Graphical View of Space Used

Now in Windows 10 there is a pretty good tool in Settings > Storage.  This is what you see in the Fall Creators Update, Settings > Storage:

.

.

This is what you see when you expand the C: drive

.

And this is what you see when you expand one of the categories, Apps and Features in this case:

.

This is what you see when you expand one of the file folders

Unfortunately, that is as far as Windoze goes

.

Treeview or Treemap Disk Space Mapping Utilities

.

Before that we used free tools downloaded from the internet that provide a “treeview” or “treemap” display of your HD. Basically, they display the relative file and folder sizes graphically.  I’ve used this tool in the past:  https://windirstat.net/   but there are other similar tools.

.

.Here is an example of what this type of tool produces:

Notice my big red mouse pointer is in the big teal box near the bottom right corner. Above, "HIberfil.sys" is highlighted. The information shows it is 3.2GB in size and that represents 92.7% of the files in the root of my C: drive.  Another key piece of information is that it has both the "H" and "S" file attributes. That means it is both Hidden and System.

.Another interesting piece of information is that my Windows 10 folder is 31.3GB in size. Lucky I don't have one of those small drives ...

.

You can also click on any of the squares in the diagram to find out the details for that file to help you decide if you want to delete it.

.

2018 04 30-  Reclaim Windows 10’s vanishing disk space with WinDirStat

http://techgenix.com/reclaim-disk-space-windirstat/

.

2016 04 06- Best Windows 10 Disk Space Analyzer Software to find Space Hogging Files

https://windowsreport.com/best-disk-space-analyzer-windows/

Review of several similar tools.

.

Delete Data Stored by Apps and Games

Going back to apps and games a bit, sometimes data no longer in use is kept by the app. If you have exhausted all the options previously mentioned, maybe it’s time to see how much data is being stored by each app installed from the Store.

Open Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & features. Select an app then click Advanced options.

Click Reset which will delete all the data stored by the app.

4. Run the built in "Disk Clean" utility or similar freeware tool like CCleaner to delete unneeded "temp" files, like update setups and browser temps

.

If you want to do a general cleanup you can use the built in diskclean tool. Here are a couple of articles on using the tool

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-clean-up-system-files-with-the-windows-10-disk-cleanup-tool/

2019 04 08-7 Windows Files and Folders You Can Delete to Free Up Space

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/delete-windows-files-folders/

.

11 ways to start Disk Cleanup, in Windows (all versions)

https://www.digitalcitizen.life/11-ways-start-disk-cleanup-windows-all-versions

 .

2016 04 04 How to clean up system files with the Windows 10 Disk Cleanup tool

 .

https://www.howtogeek.com/256594/how-to-enable-hidden-options-in-windows-disk-cleanup-tool/

.

If you want to do a general cleanup you can use the built in diskclean tool. Here are a couple of articles on using the tool

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-clean-up-system-files-with-the-windows-10-disk-cleanup-tool/

.

2016 04 04 How to clean up system files with the Windows 10 Disk Cleanup tool

https://www.howtogeek.com/256594/how-to-enable-hidden-options-in-windows-disk-cleanup-tool/

 CCleaner

.

If you want to do more “advanced” cleanup, including cleaning up some application specific temp files a tool like CCleaner is what I use. You can get it here:

https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

When you download CCleaner, make sure you get version 5.34 or later

.

Why You Should Stop Using CCleaner on Windows Right Now

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/stop-using-ccleaner-windows/

This article makes a couple of reasonably valid points

  • the core features of CCleaner are available in native Windows features
  • CCleaner has added a "spyware" component
  • CCleaner has been "improved" to make it more difficult to stop
  • In Sept 2017 the CCleaner installer file was infected with malware at the company server

I've used CCleaner for years, and these points definitely give me a pause for reflection. You should decide for yourself.

.

5. After 2018 Fall Update the "Storage Sense" feature will help keep your drive clean

Quickly free up space using Storage Sense on Windows 10 Version 1803

https://pureinfotech.com/free-up-space-storage-sense-windows-10/

.

<snip>

If you're running low on space on Windows 10, you can use Storage sense to quickly remove temporary files to free up space — Here's how to do it.

.

On Windows 10, Storage sense is a feature to free up space when your device is running low on available storage. Similar to Disk Cleanup, it allows you to get rid of files that are only taking up space, such as temporary files, recycle bin items, and other unnecessary files. However, Storage sense is a lot easier to use than Disk Cleanup.

.

Storage sense offers two ways to reclaim disk space. You can select and remove the same junk files listed on Disk Cleanup manually, and it’s also possible to configure the feature to free up space automatically when you’re running out of space.

.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to quickly free up space on a hard drive by deleting junk files using the Settings app on Windows 10.

</snip>

2018 04 30- What's New in Win 10 Version 18003: #3. Storage sense (enhancements)

https://pureinfotech.com/windows-10-april-2018-update-1803-hidden-features/

<snip>

You no longer need to use the Disk Cleanup tool, as it’s now possible to delete all the junk files on your computer using Storage sense.

Here are some of the items that you can remove using the Settings app.

  • Windows upgrade log files.
  • System created Windows Error Reporting Files.
  • Windows Defender Antivirus.
  • Thumbnails.
  • Temporary files.
  • Recycle Bin.
  • Previous Windows installations.
  • Temporary Internet Files.
  • Device driver packages.
  • Delivery Optimization Files.
  • DirectX Shared Cache.

2018 02 23- How to Enable and Configure Windows 10 Storage Sense

https://www.groovypost.com/howto/use-windows-10-storage-sense/

Windows 10 has a bad habit of keeping old temporary files lying around which don’t do anything other than take up hard drive space. A new feature in Windows 10 called Storage Sense helps solve this issue by automatically deleting temporary files and content from your recycle bin. It’s not enabled by default so let’s jump in and review hot to enable and configure it to keep your hard drive nice and clean.

.

.

Free up space now settings page

It’s worth noting that Windows 10 is updating the experience to run Storage sense automatically with new options to decide when to run the tool to free up space.

</snip>

.

.

6. Use an external drive as a supplement for the update install

.

2017 10 22 How to Upgrade to the latest Windows 10 Feature Update on a Drive with Limited Space – External Drive

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install-winpc/how-to-upgrade-to-the-latest-windows-10-feature/d7cdba8b-c59b-4a23-86e2-6635a7e44489

This article explains how to tell Windows Install/Update to use an external HD for temporary storage.


7. Use the "Compact OS" feature to use file compression on the Windows installation

2017 05 01- CompactOS, single-instancing, and image optimization

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/compact-os

<snip>

You can now compress the files for the entire operating system, including your preloaded desktop applications. Compact OS lets you run the operating system from compressed files (similar to WIMBoot in Windows 8.1 Update 1), and single-instancing helps you run your pre-loaded Windows desktop applications in compressed files. The new processes helps maintain a small footprint over time by using individual files, rather than combining them in a WIM file.

Here's some ways to shrink the image, optimize the image, and some considerations when deploying to low-cost devices.

To deploy Compact OS with a USB bootable drive

</snip>

Using CompactOS can save UP TO 5GB on Windows, depending on the specifics of your installation.

Check to see if CompactOS is enabled

Please check if your Windows is compacted by command

compact /CompactOS:query

2015 10 13- Reducing OS footprint by compressing system files

https://www.petri.com/windows-10-disk-optimization

If you are short of space on a small drive try the techniques described in his article, ie;

open a command prompt and type compact /CompactOS:query and press ENTER.

 .

How to Use NTFS Compression and When You Might Want To

http://www.howtogeek.com/133264/how-to-use-ntfs-compression-and-when-you-might-want-to/

 .

The NTFS file system used by Windows has a built-in compression feature known as NTFS compression. With a few clicks, you can compress files, making them take up less space on your hard drive. Best of all, you can still access the files normally.

 .

Using NTFS compression involves a trade-off between CPU time and disk activity. Compression will work better in certain types of situations and with certain types of files.

 .

You do NOT want to compress program files, EXE COM, especially ones that you use frequently. Compressing will only slow the program down, especially when starting them.

 ,

Compression does not work well on:

  -  COM EXE program file types

  -  Office 2007 and newer “X” and “M” file types. They are already compressed.

 ,

Compression works best on large text files such as TXT and HTM.

8. For some devices, install a larger SSD drive, min 64GB,

The price of SSD drives have come down to amazingly affordable levels (compared to initial prices).  Installing a larger SSD to replace a small HD will also have the benefit of making your whole computer seem to be running much faster. It really is amazing the difference that simply switching to SSD will make.

Unfortunately this is not an option for some very small devices like some tablets and laptops .

9. Last resort, do a full "clean install" of Windows.

You can download the full installation file with the new updates already incorporated. Then you can do a "clean install" of Windows that will completely over write the existing files. That means ALL files, including personal user files would be wiped out on the C: drive.

On the other hand, if your drive is large enough, ie 128GB or more, you can "partition" the drive.  Partitioning is a way to define 2, or more, "logical" drives on the single physical drive. I've done that. The technique I use is define the "C:" drive for Windows and installed applications, and a separate logical "D:" drive for "Data", all of my personal data files, including my Windows user Profile.  That way, I can do a clean install of Windows without impacting my personal data files. Of course, I still have to re-install all of the applications.

Partitioning the physical drive can also make system backups easier and faster.  Windows itself does not need to be backed up as frequently

A clean install will wipe out all of the temp files cluttering your drive.

"Traditionally", super users have been in the habit of doing clean installs every year or so. They found that it was easier to install windows (and their required applications) to speed up their system.

A "clean install" of Windows will also wipe out any malware that has sneaked into your system, even if you are not aware it is there.

10. Delete the Recovery partition

An additional, "advanced" technique is to delete the "Recovery" partition and allocate the space to your "C:" drive. 

The Recovery partition contains a clean copy of Windows that is only used to do a clean install of Windows. It is not large, only a few GB, but on a small (ie 32GB) drive even that relatively small amount can be significant.  Computer builders started including the recovery partition when MS stopped providing Windows installation disks for users to do clean installs.  But since then, MS came up with an easy to use system for users to download the most up to date, including the most recent updates, Windows installation files.  You can download the installation file to a bootable USB (or DVD) and do a Windows install from there.

Note: before doing this sort of significant work on the hard drive, deleting a partition and re-allocating the space to an existing drive is a significant operation so you MUST make image copy backups of your HD BEFORE starting this work.

**************************************************************

Why does the free space on my drive keep disappearing

2015 05 29- Why does my C Drive Keep Filling Up? – Explained

https://www.infopackets.com/news/9597/why-does-my-c-drive-keep-filling-explained

·    Running a utility like ‘crap cleaner’ will help to delete some temporary files and free up some space temporarily, but the low space warning will eventually come back because you may not be fully addressing the issue.

·    The Definition of Gigabytes and Terabytes

·    The Swap File and Hibernation File

·    Temporary and Cached Files

·    Windows Restore Points

·    Volume Shadow Copy Service

.

2018 06 15- How Do I Clean Up After Windows Update?

https://askleo.com/how-do-i-clean-up-after-windows-update/#comment-561590

This article briefly discusses some of the concepts behind cleaning up disk drives.

.

2019 01 08- Win10 to grab 7GB of your storage so big updates don't fail

https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-windows-10-to-grab-7gb-of-your-storage-so-big-updates-dont-fail/

The 'reserved storage' coming with the next Windows 10 version is another reason to avoid PCs with little storage.

.

.


Optional Readings – For “Geeks” Only


.

2015 09 28- How to Disable & Replace OneDrive in Windows 10

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/disable-replace-onedrive-windows-10/


.

*********************************

.

Win Side by Side - SxS - Files aka Component Store

.

One commonly asked question is, "Can I delete the WinSxS folder to regain some disk space?" The short answer is no. You can, however, reduce the size of the WinSxS folder using tools built into Windows.

.

Previous versions of some components are kept on the system in the WinSxS, Side by Side, folder allowing you to rollback if necessary. After a period of time, these older components are automatically removed from the installation.

.

Clean Up the WinSxS Folder 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/clean-up-the-winsxs-folder

  This MS article lists several ways to trigger cleanups of the WinSxS folder

  • StartComponentCleanup task in Task Scheduler
  • /Cleanup-Image parameter of Dism.exe
  • /ResetBase switch of Dism.exe
  • /SPSuperseded parameter of Dism.exe
  • Disk Cleanup

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-clean-up-windows-10s-winsxs-folder-using-the-startcomponentcleanup-task/

Task Scheduler offers a preconfigured task that may help you clean out additional files from the WinSxS folder. This walk-through shows you how it works.

Greg Shultz · March 11, 2016, 2:47 PM PST

.

.

2016 03 21- use the DISM tool to reveal the true size of Windows 10's WinSxS folder

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-use-the-dism-tool-to-reveal-the-true-size-windows-10s-winsxs-folder/

A special option in the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool will give you the real scoop on how much space WinSxS is occupying.

.

There is a command, and calculations to calculate space used by SxS

There is a command to perform the a lite cleanup, duplicated items only

There is a command to perform a Full Cleanup of all backups

.

.

2016 03 11- Dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /AnalyzeComponentStore

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-clean-up-windows-10s-winsxs-folder-using-the-startcomponentcleanup-task/

Task Scheduler offers a preconfigured task that may help you clean out additional files from the WinSxS folder. This walk-through shows you how it works.

.

.

***********************************

System check points / restore points are supposed to be cleaned up by the system as they get "too old".  Sometimes Windows doesn't do that. Here is a technique you can try to free up that space.

.

2017 12 11- How to Fix: Can't Delete Restore Points (C Drive Full) – How to Free up a Lot of “Missing” Space

https://www.infopackets.com/news/10241/how-fix-cant-delete-restore-points-c-drive-full

I have examined directory on my system and it appears that 244 GB of available space is unaccounted for.

 .

************************************

,

Another desperation technique is to start using NTFS File Compression on folders and files:

.

.

After doing updates and upgrades, Windows is supposed to do some cleanup. Sometimes that doesn't happen, here is a process to do that cleanup if it is needed.

.

Delete Windows.OLD and $Windows.~BT Folders after Windows Upgrade

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2066-delete-windows-old-folder-windows-10-a.html 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/delete-windows-old-folder/

<snip>

When you upgrade your current version of Windows to a newer version, the upgrade process will create backups of important directories from your previous version of Windows. These directories include your user profiles, Windows folder, Program Files directory, and other important locations. These backups are then stored in two folders called Windows.old and $Windows.~BT, which can be used after the upgrade to recover any data that may not have been properly migrated over to the new version of Windows.

Before deleting the backups of your old Windows folders, please make sure that you have all of your data migrated to the new version of Windows. Unless you have created a backup, these folders will be permanently deleted from your computer.

</snip>

 .

Additional ‘undocumented’, Cleanup Tips for Office 365 CTR related files

https://winaero.com/blog/free-about-several-gbs-of-disk-space-after-installing-office-2016/

<snip>

We will see how to free up disk space after installing Office 2016 Click To Run (CTR).  The problem is caused by the Click To Run system, which downloads very huge updates, e.g. about 1GB per update. But it does not do any form of cleanup. Since it does not delete them later even after updates are applied, lots of disk space is taken.

  </snip>

The comments to the article show that some users were able to free up multiple GB of space. But when I checked that location on my machine it was essentially empty. I'm guessing that is because I've used the other techniques identified in this article.  But it is still a place to look for a quick space fix.




**********************************************************

Lists and Articles by other Authors

**********************************************************.

6 Ways to Free Up Hard Drive Space Used by Windows System Files

http://www.howtogeek.com/173713/6-ways-to-free-up-hard-drive-space-used-by-windows-system-files/

Erase Win Update Uninstall Files
Remove the Recovery Partition
Disable the Hibernation File
Shrink the Paging File
Configure System Restore
Tweak Your Windows Installer Disc

7 Hidden Windows Caches & How to Clear Them

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7-hidden-windows-caches-clear/

Windows Update Cache

Windows Store Cache

Temp Files Cache

Thumbnail Cache

System Restore Cache

Web Browser Cache

DNS Cache

 .

How to Clean Your Windows Computer: The Ultimate Checklist

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/clean-windows-ultimate-checklist/

Delete Windows.OLD and $Windows.~BT Folders after Windows Upgrade

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2066-delete-windows-old-folder-windows-10-a.html 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/delete-windows-old-folder/

<snip>

When you upgrade your current version of Windows to a newer version, the upgrade process will create backups of important directories from your previous version of Windows. These directories include your user profiles, Windows folder, Program Files directory, and other important locations. These backups are then stored in two folders called Windows.old and $Windows.~BT, which can be used after the upgrade to recover any data that may not have been properly migrated over to the new version of Windows.

.

Before deleting the backups of your old Windows folders, please make sure that you have all of your data migrated to the new version of Windows. Unless you have created a backup, these folders will be permanently deleted from your computer.

******************


2018 01 25- Office desktop now available via Microsoft Store on Windows 10 – Customize Install

https://office-watch.com/2018/office-desktop-now-available-via-microsoft-store-windows-10/

<snip> Now Word 2016, Excel 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016, Access 2016 and Publisher 2016 are all available via the Microsoft Store without the ‘Preview’ label.

… any Windows 10 machine can install Microsoft Office desktop via the Microsoft Store. 

</snip>

This article tells how to get them.

So, the trick would be to uninstall Office, then install only the store apps you need to MAYBE save some space.

If anyone tries this could you do some note keeping for me and report back so I can pass the info on.

#1 Starding space used: in file explorer, right click on the C:\ drive, select Properties, not “Used Space”

#2 Uninstall Office

#3 Note space used again

#4 Install a store app

#5 Note space used again

Repeat with each app

Report back

Take a look at the next article for some details about how the Store delivery works. It is specifically about running Office on “non-PC” chips like “ARM” chips in phones and some tablets. While Office applications from the MS Store running on a “full” PC chip won’t need those extra layers one currently unanswered question for me is does the store impose ANY additional layers to the application.  Additional layers of code introduce additional chances for bugs. And that add to the space used on disk …  The reason I am wondering is that I know, have experienced, problems with Windows Store apps that appear to have been triggered by problems in the Windows Store environment.  Many people have reported that fixing the Windows Store environment has fixed problems with other store apps.

2017 12 08- Details about Store versions of Office on ARM Chips

https://office-watch.com/2017/microsoft-office-work-arm-windows-10/

<snip> Microsoft is releasing a new version of Windows 10 that works with ARM chips instead of the usual Intel processors.  That’s a major change which affects Office users lured by the promises of ‘Always Connected’ devices.   Which MS Office should you choose with these new machines, if any?</snip>

How To Delete Old Windows Installations

https://davescomputertips.com/how-to-delete-old-windows-installations/

February 12, 2018by Marc Thomas 1

.

<snip> You know what it’s like. You bought a new hard drive, likely an SSD, but you can’t bring yourself to nuke the old Windows installation because either you want to keep it in case the new install goes belly up, or worry that pressing the wrong button may cause irreparable damage, leaving you without a working operating system. Then you buy a bigger, better hard drive and before you know it, you’ve got two or more drives stuffed with Windows folders and files that you’re never likely to need again. Over the years I’ve installed Windows on my own PCs more times than I could shake a stick at and, for whatever reason I’ve ended up with at least five old Windows installs on different hard drives that I would never be booting from again. And that’s the key; if you’re never going to use the system, either format the drive or selectively prune it right back.

</snip>..

.
.


DriverStore

.

DriverStore is where Windows keeps the Drivers that it uses to make specific hardware elements ("devices") run. For example Video cards, Audio cards, keyboards, mice. including old versions. It is in C:\Windows\System32\Driverstore

Right click on the folder and select Properties to see how much space is being used.  On my system it shows it is using 16GB.  In DriverStore Explorer I found most of that space, roughly 14GB was used by 37 copies of NVidia (video) drivers.  But they all have the save version number. So now I have to figure out which, if any I can cleanup. (any suggestions would be welcome)

.

.

2015 05 11- The Importance of DriverStore Cleanup

By Ed Tittel
.

http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/windows-enterprise-desktop/the-importance-of-driverstore-cleanup/

.

2015 11 05- How to reduce unnecessary drivers in Windows 10

Like its predecessors, once you've run Windows 10 for a while, it can suffer from driver bloat. But using DriverStore Explorer and some simple techniques, you whittle down the number of obsolete or unused drivers that might be slowing you down.

What happens when you install a Windows Driver?

Getting the lowdown on device drivers in Windows 10 - use DriverStore Explorer (Rapr.exe)
When is DriverStore clean-up action needed?

<snip>

An old saying on the Internet regarding system optimization and cleaning earns the YMMV acronym (Your Mileage May Vary). It means that different systems will inevitably exhibit different behaviors, values and so forth. With that caveat in mind, take a look at the properties for your DriverStore directory: if it's over 1 GB in size, I'd fire up RAPR and see what it can find; if it's over 2 or 3 GB, you'll definitely want to see what's in there and get rid of what you no longer need or want. I've seen some instances where the folder's size exceeded 4 GB, and read about some cases where it topped 10 GB. Trust me: you don't want to let things go that far.

</snip>

.

.

How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/find-replace-outdated-windows-drivers/

.

.

DriverStore Explorer [RAPR] - download site
https://github.com/lostindark/DriverStoreExplorer

.

<snip>

.

Overview


DriverStore Explorer [RAPR] makes it easier to deal with Windows driver store. Supported operations include enumeration, adding a driver package (stage), adding & installing, deletion and force deletion from the driver store.

.

Features:

  • Enumerate / List all the packages staged in the current driver store.
  • Export the list as CSV.
  • Add a driver package to the driver store (called staging)
  • Install & Add a driver package to the store.
  • Delete a package from the store. Force deletion supported.
  • Deletion of multiple driver packages (batch mode)
  • Full fledged GUI Supports grouping / sorting on any column.
  • Supports re-arranging of / Selecting specific columns.

Download the latest version here: https://github.com/lostindark/DriverStoreExplorer/releases/latest

.

Version I (Ron007) looked at was  v0.9.5   released 2018 02 17.

.

2013 11 31- NVIDIA drivers consume 12GB disk space

https://gyorgybalassy.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/nvidia-drivers-consume-12gb-disk-space/

.

*****************************

This article provides some basic suggestions for speeding up your computer performance if it seems slow after a couple of years of use, including disk cleanup.

The Best Ways to Speed Up Your Computer  https://www.lifewire.com/speed-up-your-computer-3506852

.

.

2017 11 12- How to Optimize the Performance of Windows 10

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/26120-optimize-performance-windows-10-a.html

.

Tips from other Experts

1 Sarah K

As for cleaning up your drive.
Go to search and type disk cleanup.
Let that run.

.

If that still doesn’t give you enough space you can delete some of the Windows app manually.
Before you do this please backup your machine and\or create a system image.
https://www.pcworld.com/article/3011736/windows...
.
To get rid of some of the windows apps you will need to open Powershell as and Administrator.
Go to search and type Powershell.
Right click on it and select Run as Administrator.
.
Run the following command.
Get-AppxPackage > c:\apps.txt
.

This will create a apps.txt file on your C drive with all the windows apps.
Easier to see this way.
From this file look for any apps you don’t want.
For example Xbox.
.
To delete all the Xbox apps you would run the following in Powershell.
.
Get-AppxPackage xbox | Remove-AppxPackage
.
Use the same command for any other app. Just replace the xbox.
.
https://www.howtogeek.com/224798/how-to-uninsta...

Another thing I would suggest if you haven’t already is use a cloud drive like onedrive to store your files.
Then go to file explorer right click onedrive and select “Choose onefolders drive to sync” and pick which ones you want... don’t select to many or this will take up space.
.
As for Defender you want to keep that up to date because it will protect against viruses.
As for Updates you can run updates from a USB drive so it doesn’t take space on your machine. You will need to make sure you keep on top of the Security and Critical updates, they also protect you.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/323166...
.
And I use an external drive for all my documents.
I use bitlocker to encrypt the drive in case i lose it or it’s stolen.
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff4...
If you do this you never have to have the files on your computer because you just work off your USB device.
That will save a lot of space too.

.

2 Andre JA

First, check out this article how you can use an external drive to facilitate the upgrade:
.
https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wik...
.
Ways you can free up space:
.
1 – OneDrive On Demand Files

- https://www.groovypost.com/howto/enable-onedriv...
.
If you have Windows 10 running on a limited capacity device, you probably are looking for the most affordable option to recover some space. Starting with Windows 10 1709, Microsoft reintroduced OneDrive Files on Demand. This nifty functionality lets you keep all your files on OneDrive and only download the ones you need. Our recent article covers all the details how to set it up and configure it.
.
2 – Disk Cleanup and Storage Sense
.
Windows 10 is notorious for creating archived files you don’t need. Two features in Windows 10 that can help you with that are Disk Clean up and Storage Sense.
.
Open Start, type: disk cleanup then hit Enter.
.
Once Disk Cleanup opens, select the drive where Windows is installed if it’s not already. Windows will scan your hard disk for files it can clean up.
.
After Disk Cleanup completes its scan, click the button Clean up system files.
.
This will perform another quick scan including every file that can be removed. Browse through the list then check off what you don’t need. Pretty much everything in Disk Cleanup can be safely removed. If you keep files in Recycle Bin for safe keeping, you probably should remove them.
.
Storage Sense helps automate storage management by automatically deleting files like temporary files and content in your Recycle Bin. Starting with Windows 10 1709, you can delete files in your Downloads folder that haven’t changed in 30 days. Storage sense can also be set to run automatically when you’re low on disk space.
.
To set it up, open Start > Settings > System > Storage. Click Change how we free up space.
.
Enable and modify the settings you would like to be applied when you are running low on space.
.
Within the Storage interface in Settings, you can get a bird’s eye view of what’s stored on your drive and what might be using up a lot of space. Under Local Drive, click your Local drive where Windows 10 is currently installed.
.
There you will see a list of locations and the amount of space being used by each. As you can see, Temporary files are using about 7 GBs of space, installed apps and games 6 GBs, and Documents 2 GBs. If you click on one of the locations listed, you are not given many options except viewing the contents of the location and manually removing files you might no longer need.
.
3 – Delete Data Stored by Apps and Games
.
Going back to apps and games a bit, sometimes data no longer in use is kept by the app. If you have exhausted all the options previously mentioned, maybe it’s time to see how much data is being stored by each app installed from the Store.
.
Open Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & features. Select an app then click Advanced options.
.
Click Reset which will delete all the data stored by the app.
.
4 – Delete Your Recovery Partition
.
The recovery partition used to reinstall Windows 10, can eat up a significant amount of disk space. It’s used rarely, if ever, so there is no need to keep it. If that makes you nervous, you can back up your recovery partition to a USB thumb drive, which you can use to reinstall Windows 10 when you need to.
.
To do that, open Start, type: create the recovery drive and hit Enter.
.
Connect a USB thumb drive with enough space—16 GB should do—then click Next. At the end of the wizard, you will be asked if you would like to delete the recovery partition. Proceed to do so.
.
5 – Use Treesize to Find Hidden Large Files (Free)
.
We previously reviewed Jamsoft’s TreeSize (https://www.groovypost.com/howto/map-hardrive-u...) and found it handy for finding large files not readily visible in Windows 10. The program is simple and easy to set up. Our previous article covers the details for scanning your drive and looking in the right places. Jamsoft provides a portable version of Treesize, so you can run it from a thumb drive and scan your system without using up disk space for the program itself.
.
6 – Archive Large Files to an External Hard Disk
.
Storing large files on your local drive that you are not using doesn’t really make much sense these days. Moving infrequently used multimedia, like photos and videos, to an external drive can free up significant amounts of disk space. Because of my Internet limitations, I still need to keep my music locally, so that means my iTunes library probably consumes the most space on my Surface Pro.
.
Archiving files to an external drive is easy. Before you do that though, you need to invest in an external drive. It’s fairly easy to find one that is really cheap with lots of space. Once you have one, I recommend you check out our guide on how to partition a hard drive for macOS Time Machine and Windows 10 Backups. https://www.groovypost.com/howto/partition-hard...
.
There are several backup methods you can use, but I always go with the manual method, which involves copying files from your personal folder to a backup folder on your external drive. Select the files or folders then performing a drag and drop action using the right mouse button to your external drive. When the context menu appears, click Move here.
.
Repeat this step for other folders where you keep large files.
.
7 – Install an SD Card for Apps.
.
For devices with an SD card slot, Windows 10 lets you move large apps and games from the main drive. These days, you can get an SD card with as much as 256 GBs of space. This is more than perfect for a system with limited onboard space.
.
Note: This only works with Microsoft Store apps. Classic desktop apps and those that come built into Windows 10 cannot be moved.
.
In Windows 10 open Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & features. Select an app or game downloaded from the Windows Store, then click Move.
.
Click on the Select a drive to move this app to: list box, choose the drive representing your SD card then click Move.
.
Sources: https://www.groovypost.com/howto/maximize-stora...

.

 

Forum Article Info


Last updated April 4, 2020 Views 14,486 Applies to: