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How to Use the Windows 10 Storage Sense Feature

It’s interesting how some people, including myself, describe Windows 10 as the new Windows 7 and how many steps back the Windows team made to make it more appealing to traditional desktop users. Surprisingly, Windows 10 adopts many of the functions of its mobile sibling on Windows Phone in this release. One such feature is the new Storage Sense. In prior versions of Windows; support for the redirection of personal folders was not a supported configuration, especially when you had to upgrade to a future revision of Windows or perform a repair install. Windows 10 changes this by making users redirect folders easily to other drives or partitions. I can’t tell you how much this is a welcome. Storage Sense provides some other capabilities too which we will look at in this article.

Using Storage Sense on Windows 10

Go to Settings > System > Storage, or use the keyboard shortcut Windows key+Q and type: storage sense then hit Enter. As you can see, there is not much to the user interface, but it does provide a list of drives i.e. internal, flash drives, SD cards. It also gives the option to change the save locations for common folders such as Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

Windows 10 Storage Sense

Clicking on my System drive where Windows 10 is installed, Storage Sense intelligently scans and calculates how much space is used by your personal data. Each category is represented by a color so you can easily identify each data type. Unfortunately, I discovered, it does not work as described at times since I have a large collection of files stored on the drive in all my personal folders, yet I am seeing zero bytes for common folders.

Storage Sense 2

When you click on any of the categories listed you will see further details about its contents. Shell folders such as Documents, Pictures, and Music do not lead to much other than viewing the contents of the folder. Trying out Storage Sense on another drive, I was able to see more details, in the screenshot below, you can see the power of storage sense, I was able to find videos I had stored at the root of drive which is outside of the default Video personal folder.

Storage Sense 3

Other sections such as Apps & Games provides quick access to your Application library where you can easily manage your apps such as uninstalling or moving apps. Speaking of moving apps, this feature was available in early Windows 10 Previews, and is possible in Windows Phone 8.1, but has been delayed on the PC. Hopefully the upcoming Windows 10 Threshold 2 release will see a return of the function soon. You can check out our article about the latest Windows 10 build (10547) here.

Storage Sense 4

Save Locations

As I noted earlier, Windows 10 officially supports the redirection of Personal folders which is just a fancy way of letting Windows save your files somewhere other than the local drive. This is great for configurations where you might have a small SSD and a larger mechanical hard disk installed. For example, if I want to change the default location where documents are saved, just click in the list box below and choose from one of the available drives where you would like to have your files saved, that’s it!

Storage Sense 5

Storage sense does not seem like an impressive enough killer feature at first glance, but it does make managing your data and configuration of personal folders much easier. Of course, the biggest advantage is seeing a birds eye view of your information and being able to easily manage it. With the coming ability to move apps, it will get only better.

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One Response to How to Use the Windows 10 Storage Sense Feature

  1. James September 20, 2015 at 8:47 am #

    At first report it seems like a nice facility –
    BUT
    If you move your ‘stuff’ wht happens if the removable drive with your ‘stuff’ on it is disconnected from the system.
    And – will it allow you to move your ‘Profile’ files – as in Documents and things associated with processes you have run – such as games profiles and scores, or web page files – as in “Temporary Internet Files”

    Certainly I would like to be able to have Windows pack up all my personal environment onto a mobile device – so that I could go to another PC, have the owner add my id and a change-it-on-logon password, and then run my thing on that PC – with any entries saved going to the mobile drive.

    Possible under win 3, and probably 95, but it seems to me that there is so much about, and enabling my use of my PC that is imbedded in the OS portions of the PC, that it unlikely to happen soon (as in this decade).

    As an aside from this discussion – I have my system setup with an admin ID I rarely use ( main admin one won’t go online to help recovery if my normal ID gets ruined) and installed ‘Godmode’ on both it’s desktop and my usual one – makes win7 approach to system management much easier.
    restore files from File History, take backups NOW etc.

    I also created toolbars on the taskbar that show all the programs (find \Programs ) as would be expected when you select “All Apps” and another for my most frequently used apps (shortcuts) and a third for the folder that has my personally typed-in data.
    That folder of my data is included in a cloud backup, “File History” backup, and other backups to alternatingly connected external drives.
    I ain’t gonna lose it again just because the PC decides that while I’m doing a backup of the data drive, it’s an ideal time to kill the external backup drive, internal data drive, and OS drive all at the same time.

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