Software

How to clear storage space on your PC for Windows 10 updates

Windows Update initializations may fail in thin clients or embedded systems with full storage.

Running OS updates on your devices is a great way to stay up to date on the latest features, but also to stay secure. Unfortunately, these updates can also take up a lot of storage space.

For certain Windows 10 users—especially those using thin clients, embedded systems or other devices with limited storage—this space requirement can cause problems with the initialization of the update. According to a Microsoft support post, this is because the Windows Update doesn't check for the proper amount of space before it starts.

However, there are quite a few methods for freeing up space for these OS updates. "We recommend a regular regimen of system maintenance to help ensure that updates are successful," the post said. "This includes deleting unnecessary and temporary files. It also includes maintaining awareness of available and allocated storage on systems."

SEE: Windows 10: The essential guide for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)

Here are seven tasks that can help Windows 10 users free up some space:

  1. Delete temporary files
  2. Delete downloaded files
  3. Empty your Recycle Bin
  4. Uninstall apps you don't use anymore
  5. Move files to another drive
  6. Save new files to another drive
  7. Save fewer OneDrive files on your PC

Many of the above tasks take up additional storage space without the user knowing. Temporary files, for example, can help an app launch faster (similar to caching), but they're useless once they're no longer needed.

In the same way, once a file is downloaded from the web in Windows 10, a copy will be saved in the Downloads folder. And that takes up space. Opening up that folder and removing the downloaded files will help free up space as well.

All in all, a best practice is to be aware of the files that are actually in use, and get rid of the ones that aren't. In the same way, files that aren't regularly used don't necessarily need to be readily accessible from your on-device drive.

For more information about Windows 10 OS updates, and the steps to follow for the above tasks, check out the full support page from Microsoft.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Windows 10 OS updates can run into problems with initialization if the device has limited storage, especially for thin clients and embedded systems.
  • Windows 10 users can follow certain steps to free up storage space on their device and prepare it for OS updates.

Also see

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Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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