Ever wondered how much space does Windows 10 take up on your disk? Before installing a new operating system on your device(s), it does make sense to have a look at the minimum storage space required for it. This is particularly true if your computer is more restricted in this matter (especially in drives under 128GB).
Unless you have a desktop PC or laptop with sufficient disk space, there could be a lot of storage issues down the road by opting for an operating system that doesn’t leave much free disk space.
Considering that, your best bet would be to make sure that your device has enough storage to efficiently run the operating system, while also having available space for storing apps and personal files. So, let’s cut to the chase and see the amount of disk space needed by Windows 10.
How much space does Windows 10 take up on your disk?
So, how big is Windows 10? When Windows 10 first came out, it took even less disk space than Windows 8: we’re talking 16 GB for 32-bit, and 20 GB for 64-bit systems. With that being said, this shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of features, since Windows 10 had loads of them.
Although the operating system was storage-effective in the beginning, the size of Windows 10 has been increasing and the May 2019 update took a big toll on the Windows 10 installation size. Accordingly, users now need to have at least 32 GB of free storage space, for both 32-bit and 64-bit architecture.
The reason why the installation size took such a huge impact was that the Windows 10 update process has been changed. Before the May 2019 update, the operating system only began updating when the host system had sufficient storage space. If not, it will return a message: “We can’t tell if your PC has enough space to continue installing Windows 10”
Now, on the other hand, 7 GB of storage space is specifically reserved for downloading and installing updates. Although 7 GB disk space shouldn’t be causing much trouble for a contemporary machine, each gigabyte of storage holds importance when it comes to older PCs or even some mobile devices, whose storage cannot be upgraded either.
How do I upgrade to Windows 10 with low disk space?
Accordingly, your device should have enough space to get the May 1903 update so that it can receive other future updates. However, if your system has less than 32 GB of disk space, you could be stuck with the Windows 10, version 1809 forever.
Luckily, Microsoft has extended the end-of-life of this version to May 11, 2021, all thanks to which you’ll still be getting continuous support and security updates for almost another year.
But, even then, you won’t have space for installing other apps or storing personal files (documents, photos, music, etc) on your phone. If you also happen to be facing the same issue, we’d like to tell you that there are a few ways with which you can free up some space in your device.
How much storage do I need on my Windows 10 laptop?
As stated above, the 32-bit version of Windows 10 requires a total of 16GB of free space, while the 64-bit version requires 20GB. But how much storage do I need on my laptop to run Windows 10 properly?
To properly use your system you should make those figures a bit higher. Remember you’ll have to store your personal data, documents, photos, etc. and there should still be space available for Windows updates that may take a lot of extra gigabytes of free memory.
Also, to keep your drive running properly and ensure its longevity, it is not advisable to fully load it with data, especially if it is a solid-state drive. Try to keep your drive, at least, 10% free.
So, considering all the mentioned above, let’s say that your system should have at least 64GB to run the 32-bit version and 128GB for the 64-bit version.
How to save disk space
If every byte matters to you, let’s see how you can get some of your storage space back after installing Windows 10.
Turn off hibernation
One of the countless features of Windows 10 is hibernation and it is enabled on your system right from the start. Hibernation mainly depends on the “hiberfil.sys” file which saves the primary settings of your system, allowing it to quickly go back to active mode from hibernation.
What can be troublesome to users with low disk space is the fact that this file can take up a considerable portion of your hard drive space. Another thing worth noting here is that the more RAM installed on your system, the more disk space taken by the “hiberfil.sys” file.
Considering this, the mentioned file can occupy up to 3 GB of storage if your system is running on 4 GB of main memory. So, if you feel like hibernation won’t do you any good, you can always remove the “hiberfil.sys” file and save yourself some storage space.
For removing this file, you’ll have to disable the hibernation feature by typing in “powercfg /hibernate off” into the command prompt and pressing Enter.
It is also possible to turn this feature back on any time you want by replacing the aforementioned command with “powercfg /hibernate on”. Just make sure that you run the command prompt as an Administrator.
If you’ve been previously using Windows on your system, there’s a good chance that a “windows.old” folder has been created once the Windows 10 installation has completed.
In this folder, you will find all your old system settings that can come in handy if the current version of Windows gets corrupted for some reason. Besides, this folder occupies a lot of disk space and can stay on your system for 10 days.
Although deleting this folder isn’t recommended, you can get quite some disk space back by doing so. Accordingly, if you’re in desperate need of more space, deleting the “windows.old” folder might just do the trick. For those who want to give it a shot, you’ll find this folder inside the disk drive on which Windows 10 is installed.
Once you’ve installed Windows 10, you are going to be welcomed by a plethora of pre-installed software, which includes Sport, Music, Weather, Money, Groove Music, Candy Crush Saga, Microsoft 3D Builder among others. As you can tell, most of these apps aren’t essential and you can easily do without them.
So, if you’re running low on storage space, it’s a good idea to start uninstalling those apps one by one. Nevertheless, this procedure can cost you quite a lot of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 256GB SSD enough for Windows 10?
Yes. We can say with some certainty that a 256GB solid-state drive will do for the majority of users.
Having in mind that the 64-bit Windows 10 operating system itself, plus some programs and apps we all end up installing will unlikely take more than 100GB of space, you still have another 100GB+ of extra space for your personal data, to store your photos, videos, games, etc.
For a vast array of users that should be adequate for a plentiful and peaceful Windows 10 experience.
Are there ways to free up space for Windows 10?
Yes, in this article we cover a few of them: turn off hibernation, delete Windows.old folder and uninstall bloatware. All of these options help. Click the link for more information on freeing up more space.
Albeit the fact that Windows 10 doesn’t come with high storage requirements, users with older machines or low-end systems might still have a hard time making space for other files and apps.
Our methods can definitely help you in getting back some storage space, but they can only do so much. Considering this, our advice would be to only opt for Windows 10 on systems with at least 40 GB of free storage space.
Also, take a look at these articles with related content:
- Using Windows 10 Migration Tool
- Ways to check if Windows is updated
- How to check which is my Windows 10 version
- The consequences of not activating Windows 10
- Can I get Windows 10 for free permanently?
- Do free upgrades to Windows 10 expire?
- Run Windows 10 from a Pen Drive
- Run Windows XP from a Pen Drive
- Run Windows 7 from a Pen Drive
- Run Windows 8 from a Pen Drive
- Space analyzer software for Windows 10
- How to rename files in Windows