How to Use the Windows 10 Settings App to Free Up Disk Space

In Windows 10, relics of the old versions, like the Disk Cleanup utility. Microsoft wants to change that with its Settings app. Here’s a look at using it to clear disk space.

The Windows Team is serious about making Control Panel obsolete. I would not be surprised if it disappears within the next few revisions of Windows 10. We have showed you how to use features like Disk Cleanup to free up drive space, which comes in handy if you upgraded from an older version of Windows. When you upgrade, Windows 10 setup will preserve your old Windows installation just in case you want to go back. The Disk Cleanup utility has been around for a long time. But now there’s a new and easier way to delete useless files and free up space using the new Settings app in Windows 10.

Use Settings in Windows 10 to Delete Windows.old and Temporary Files

First, hit Windows key+i on your keyboard and select System.

Settings 1

On the next screen select Storage tab and then click your system drive where Windows 10 is installed.

Settings 2

Next, scroll down then click Temporary files.

Settings 3

You will see common locations where you can easily free up disk space such as temporary files, Downloads, Recycle Bin, and Previous versions of Windows.

Settings 4

What I like about the new interface that it’s not as busy as Disk Cleanup. Presented are the essential areas you will often want to clean up, not to mention it is easy to find with a few mouse clicks. You won’t find every option here, so you’ll still need to use the classic Control Panel and other settings that you’re used to in Windows 7.

Also, if you want to clean up other areas of the system that tend to use up disk space such as System Restore, check out our article for instructions.

What about you? Do you like where Windows 10 is heading with the new Settings app and phasing out the Control Panel? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.



  1. James  

    What could be useful for many users would be if you (the user) could, having set what you want cleared, get Windows to remember that, so you can in future just go to the settings Storage and select ‘Apply’ to have the process run using the remembered settings.
    Indeed, that would be a useful facility for quite a few of the ‘facilities’
    So maybe they could be gathered together in a linking ‘Systems actions’ panel, so there will be 1 place for users to go to in order to run their periodic system maintenance activities –

    Check last update applied, and if any are outstanding to be applied
    Check last Defender profile loaded, and initiate an update check/install
    View status of File History
    View Status of partition recovery image
    View available Recovery/restore points
    See space that could be recovered by a clean-up run
    See fragmentation indication on partitions
    See wasted space in the MFT – and recovery amount if it was ‘cleaned-up’

    • Windows 10 does delete the Windows.old folder after 30 days. If you are connected to the Internet, Windwos Defender definitions are automatically updated, you are also notified about backup activity by Action Center. Also, Windows 10 has a low priority defragger that runs in the background. There could be some automation yes, but it could always be better and more centralized.

  2. Bob Slipper  

    Yes, I think they are definitely heading in the right direction – it’s getting easier and easier to find settings that were previously hidden deeper than King Tuts tomb.

    • Well, it has gotten pretty easy since Windows Vista introduced Instant search, you could click start then enter a term and it would be presented.

  3. mfiatx19  

    My laptop version of Windows 10 Home v1703 does not offer the “view downloads” button shown above. I can only mark Temporary, Downloads and/or Recycle files for deletion or not. It would be nice if I could view the files to verify those files…even the temporary files. I want more control over what Windows does with my files.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To Top