Prior versions of Storage Sense would make recommendations for what to clean up, and simplify the process of doing so by making cleaning unnecessary files a one-click process. The new Storage Sense available in Windows 10 build 17758 and newer gives Windows 10 users the ability to "dehydrate" files, as well as allowing Storage Sense to automatically remove various file types that are typically temporary in nature.
File dehydration, the biggest new feature to come to Storage Sense in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, involves getting rid of local copies of Microsoft OneDrive files that haven't been used in a specified time (30 days by default). Dehydrated files will still appear to be installed on the machine but are there in shortcut only—opening them will require being connected to the internet and logged in to the OneDrive account to which the files are associated.
SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research)
How to enable the new Storage Sense features
Toggling these new Storage Sense features on is as easy as following these steps.
Open the Windows 10 Settings app and click System (it's on the left side) to open System settings (Figure A).
Look for Storage in the list of options on the left side of the window and click on it. You should see the screen shown in Figure B. Be sure the option to toggle Storage Sense On/Off is set to On.
After you activate Storage Sense, you'll have to be sure it's set to dehydrate OneDrive files and automatically delete temporary files. Under the on/off toggle button, click Change How We Free Up Space Automatically.
The screen that appears should be the one shown in Figure C. In order to allow Storage Sense to automatically clean up unwanted files, make sure Run Storage Sense is set to During Low Free Disk Space.
To turn on OneDrive file dehydration, scroll down until you see Locally Available Cloud Content (Figure D). Under OneDrive you'll see a dropdown that will allow you to choose how often to dehydrate files—set it to however often you prefer.
Note: If you don't see the OneDrive option, be sure you've set up OneDrive sync on your Windows 10 computer and that you've opened it recently. When testing these steps I had to open my OneDrive folder, and the option appeared immediately.
Once you make these changes, you'll be all set—Windows 10 will ensure you keep your hard drive space free from clutter.
- How to avoid installing Windows 10 crapware (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 1809: Microsoft reveals features it's dropping in October 2018 Update (ZDNet)
- Top ten features in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 October 2018 Update: How to use cloud clipboard (TechRepublic)
- Manage storage in Windows 10 (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10: This new preview helps you free up disk space by clearing old files (ZDNet)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.