If you use OneDrive or other similar apps on selective sync, you can manually free up space by removing synced files you no longer need. See our post Manage Storage in OneDrive Sync Folders for some tips on that.
Enable Storage Sense
Storage Sense is a relatively new feature in Windows 10 that helps you to find and clean up old files that you no longer need. It’s turned off by default (Windows won’t just decide to delete your files for you without asking first).
To turn it on, go to Settings > Storage and flip the switch at the top
Click on ‘Configure Storage Sense or run it now’ and we have an array of options.
Configure Storage Sense
Storage sense has a few neat options that helps you keep control over your storage. The default is to run it when you are running low on space, but I like to keep my PC free of any unnecessary files, so I have it set to run weekly.
Temporary Files & Recycle Bin
Tick the box to automatically delete temporary files that apps are no longer using. Apps will sometimes download files and store them to open them. Web browsers do this a lot, but many others do too, perhaps when running updates or for other reasons.
Common culprits of low storage space are the Recycle Bin and Downloads folders. Unless you periodically go through and empty these, you may be surprised how much space they are taking up!
Personally, if I’ve deleted something and haven’t noticed I needed it for a month, there’s a very good chance it wasn’t very important! Emptying items older than 30 days works for me. I also download items all the time, such as application installers, PDF invoices etc. These get used immediately and if needed stored elsewhere, so I never need to keep anything here for very long. Deleting downloaded items older than 14 days is a good option.
If we scroll down a bit further, we can now configure how Storage Sense automatically frees up space for content I’ve synced to my PC from OneDrive and SharePoint. All this does is remove the local copy if I’ve not opened it for more than X number of days, so it keeps items I use regularly, like templates, but not things I’ve opened once or intermittently. 14 days is again a good compromise for me (you can choose 1, 14, 30 or 60 days).
Just Leave it!
You may still need to periodically do some manual sweeping to tidy up, especially if you download items to other locations than your Downloads folder. Some applications may also extract temporary files to other places on your PC when they are installing that are not covered. But, by using Storage Sense, you can cover all the key locations and not have to worry so often about running out of space for your pictures.