Running Out of Room? Easy Ways to Clear Device Storage

April 29, 2024 | Blog
graphic of computer storing too many files

Running out of device storage space is a common problem Mac and Windows users face, especially nowadays when more of one’s life is online. Most of us use our computers to store all sorts of digital files like videos, images, word documents, games, and countless applications. 

Unfortunately, this adds up, and our computer storage becomes full. If you’re facing full device storage or are quickly running out of room, we’ve got you covered at My Computer Works. Our professional IT team encounters data storage woes often, so we’ve compiled this guide detailing the easy ways to clear your device storage. 

What Takes Up The Most Room On Your Device? 

Before we dive into the easy ways to clear device storage on your Mac or Windows computer, it’s an excellent idea to learn more about what takes up the most room on your device. 

Knowing what takes up space on your computer will help you manage your storage better. Here are the main culprits: 

  • Photos and videos: For most people, videos and photos are the main files taking up disk space on a computer’s hard drive. If you have many videos and photos, you should consider storing them on an external data storage device to free up space and protect them. 
  • Apps and games: In recent years, more and more people have been using their computers to play games and use applications like PhotoShop, Adobe, and Steam. All these applications and games take up considerable space on one’s hard drive, so it’s important to delete games and apps you don’t use often or at all. 
  • Multiple users: Not many realize that if they have shared a computer with another user before they’ve stored data on their computer, that is taking up space. Fortunately, it’s quick to delete a user and regain the space they were using. However, it’s important to note that deleting a user may delete that user’s data, like documents, music, photos, and other files. 
  • Disk backups: Regular backups of system data and files can occupy significant storage capacity. For example, if you back up messages and emails on your PC, this could add to your device storage. 
  • Documents: Document files with extensive content or intricate formatting add to storage usage. Unfortunately, most of us can do nothing about this since documents are what a computer is made to house. However, you can try compressing your files to make them smaller and thus use less device storage. Alternatively, you do have the option of storing them on an external USB or hard drive. 
  • Cache and temporary files: Accumulated data from browsing, software operations, and system processes contribute to storage consumption more than you would believe. So, periodically clear your cache and temporary files. 

How To Check Your Storage Space? 

Checking your storage space on a Windows or Mac computer is easy. 

To check your Windows device storage, navigate to File Explorer from your taskbar and choose This PC on the left. Once in this menu, you can see the available space for each drive under the devices and drives section. 

To check how much device storage is left on your Mac computer, click on the Apple logo at the top left of your screen. Once you click on the logo, select ‘About this Mac.’ Afterward, click ‘storage,’ which should allow you to see a stacked bar graph showing your computer’s total storage. 

Three Steps To Take To Make More Room On Your Computer 

Below, we’ve detailed the steps you must take to free up space on your Windows or Mac computer. If anything seems unclear, speak with an expert at My Computer Works. We’re here to help you address and overcome any storage issues you might face. 

Mac Computers

Step One: Delete System Junk

Even experienced Mac users find it difficult to delete system junk manually. That’s why it’s best to run CleanMyMax X once and let it do its job. CleanMyMac X is an app notarized by Apple, so you can trust it to work properly and effectively. 

  • If you don’t already have the app, download it. 
  • Once it’s downloaded, click the System Junk tab and run a scan. 
  • After the scan is complete, simply preview the files and click Clean to remove unnecessary data. 

Step Two: Remove Browser Cache 

Once you have removed system junk, you can remove unwanted browser cache. This is an especially important step if you use the internet frequently. Your Mac’s cache is a type of bookmark that is left on your drive by every site you visit. 

These bookmarks take up unnecessary space. Have a look below how to clear your cache if you use Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox: 

  • Chrome: To clear Chrome cache, open Chrome and click the three dots at the top right of your screen. Then click ‘more tools’ and select ‘clear browsing data.’ In this menu, you can choose the time range you want to clear browsing data, which is important so you don’t lose any important site info. 
  • Safari: To clear your Safari cache, open Safari and navigate to the ‘settings’ tab from the shown menu bar. Once in settings, go to the ‘Advanced’ tab and click ‘Show Develop’ menu. Once in this menu, go to Develop and click empty caches. 
  • Mozilla Firefox: Go to ‘settings’ and navigate to ‘privacy and security.’ Once in this menu, select cookies, site data, and clear data. This menu will allow you to mark cached web content and clear it. 

Step Three: Remove Unused Apps And Data

If you still do not have enough device storage after deleting system junk and clearing your computer’s cache, you must remove unused apps and their data. There are three primary ways to remove unused apps and data. 

You can use the Launchpad, a third-party uninstaller tool, or the trash bin from your applications folder. The easiest way is to use the Launchpad. Here’s how to use it: 

  1. Open the Launchpad from your Dock. 
  2. Once in the Dock, press the Command key and click and hold on any app you want to delete until it shakes. 
  3. When this happens, you’ll see an ‘X” symbol above the icon. If you click this symbol, you can delete the app and free up storage space. 

Windows Computers 

Step One: Delete files with Storage Sense

One of the simplest ways to delete files that are no longer needed and clear device storage is to use Windows Storage Sense. Storage Sense automates the process, making it far easier. 

Storage Sense will automatically remove temporary files, recycle bin items, and other unnecessary files, optimizing disk space.

Follow these steps to delete unwanted files using Storage Sense on a Windows computer:

  1. Open Settings and, go to System, and then navigate to Storage. 
  2. Toggle on “Storage Sense” and select “Configure Storage Sense or choose to run it now.” 
  3. Choose the frequency and types of files you want to delete.
  4. Then click “Clean now” to initiate the process. 

You can also turn on Storage Sense if you want Windows to delete unnecessary files automatically in the future. 

Step Two: Move Files To Another Drive

If you have multiple hard drives on your Windows computer and one of the drives is running out of space, you can change your default save location. Here is how you do this: 

  1. Open the ‘File Explorer’ on your Windows computer and navigate to the files you want to move. 
  2. Select the files or folders, then right-click and choose “Cut” or press Ctrl + X. 
  3. Navigate to the destination drive, right-click, and select “Paste” or press Ctrl + V. 

Should you follow these steps, the files will be transferred to the new location, freeing up space on the original device drive.

In addition, you can move apps, music, video, music, movies, or photo files to an external USB or hard drive to free up storage space. To do this, follow the following steps: 

  1. Connect a USB or external hard drive that has free space on it to your Windows computer. 
  2. Open ‘File Explorer’ and find the various files you want to move over and delete. 
  3. Once you have found the files, select them and right-click ‘cut.’
  4. Navigate to the external device and find the location where you want to paste the files. With the location open, right-click ‘paste.’ 

Step Three: Try Disk Cleanup 

Windows computers have a nifty tool called ‘Disk Cleanup’ that can be used to clear device storage and free up space on your PC. Have a look below to learn how to use it:

  1. Search for “Disk Cleanup” in the Windows start menu and open the app. 
  2. Select the disk you need to clean up and click “OK.” Disk Cleanup will calculate the space you can free up. 
  3. Click the displayed boxes for the various files you want to delete, such as old video and picture folders, temporary files, or items in the recycle bin. 
  4. Click “OK” and then “Delete Files” to confirm. You should immediately notice that you have more storage space.

It’s really this simple. Just be sure to delete files that unnecessarily take up space, not important system program files or computer data. 

Wrap-Up On Clearing Device Storage

Now you know why your computer could be running out of storage space, how to check its storage space and the steps to take with a Mac or Windows computer to clear device storage. 

Should you have any difficulties following the steps we outlined, or if you have followed them and still don’t have enough space, you can speak with one of our professionals at My Computer Works

We often help clients solve their storage issues and are happy to help you clear your device storage and make more space so your computer continues to perform optimally. Simply give us a call here and let us help you. 


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