Free PC house is a valuable commodity, particularly in the event you’re a cussed bastard like me and refuse to only purchase a brand new SSD when it is best to. Spending cash on a modest storage improve? That is the coward’s means. As a substitute, I unfold backups throughout a drawer filled with outdated USB sticks, and spend an hour each month or two clearing out my PC’s inner storage to make room for no matter I am attempting to obtain.
Though it pains me to delete even probably the most trivial file (what if I want that Garfield gif later?), many of the knowledge that accumulates on my inner SSDs could be despatched to the digital afterlife with out consequence.
Throughout my common PC storage clearing sprees, I’ve sometimes stored psychological notes of what I eliminated and the place I discovered it for future reference. Now I am publishing these notes right here with the hope that this map of my very own deletable knowledge will assist others uncover and filter the web sediment clogging up their very own PCs.
Individuals are typically extra related than not: After I requested my colleagues at PC Gamer for recommendations on what to delete, it turned out that we had most of the similar knowledge hoarding issues. I used to be mildly stunned, nevertheless, when Affiliate Editor Tyler Colp admitted to storing over 70GB of Remaining Fantasy 14 screenshots. That’s too many Remaining Fantasy 14 screenshots, so that is the laborious drive area the place we’ll begin.
1. Shadowplay highlights that are not as cool as I believed they had been on the time (150GB)
After I smash my Nvidia Shadowplay instantaneous replay hotkey to save lots of the final minute of gameplay as an mp4, it all the time seems like I simply captured the primary convincing proof of Bigfoot. After I watch the clip later, although, it simply seems like anybody enjoying an FPS—wow, three kills, cool—or scoring a Rocket League purpose that is value, at finest, a pat on the again. I additionally discover numerous random crap in my Shadowplay folder: Simply now I deleted clips from Wreckfest, Neon White, Descenders, Chivalry 2, and a sport referred to as Turbo Golf Racing that I performed one time. Deleted.
2. Movies of my desktop that I unintentionally captured (10GB)
One other simple one to begin with: I incessantly hit the moment replay hotkey I arrange for Shadowplay whereas doing issues that don’t name for immediate replays, reminiscent of writing an e-mail. If you have not regarded via Shadowplay’s “Desktop” folder not too long ago (or wherever your recording software program stashes movies of your desktop), it is a good place to search for junk.
3. Video games I put in outdoors of Steam after which forgot about (8.33 GB)
When was the final time you opened up Origin and logged in? Are you positive you uninstalled Battlefield 4? How about Mass Impact 3? It is value a glance. After which there’s Uplay, Battle.web, the Epic Video games Retailer, your GOG obtain folder, and game-specific launchers. Whereas engaged on this text, I remembered that I performed Valorant for a number of months when it launched in 2020, after which forgot I might ever put in it. 8.33GB reclaimed.
4. All the pieces in my Downloads folder (270MB)
I haven’t got my net browser set as much as routinely ship recordsdata to Home windows’ formally designated Downloads folder, preferring to manually choose a hastily-named folder on my desktop each time I obtain one thing, as God supposed. Nonetheless, a rogue utility or misclick will generally stuff one thing in there: I discovered and deleted 270MB value of installers, photographs, and PDFs that in all probability weren’t vital.
5. Previous Home windows replace recordsdata (2.18GB)
Protip: WinDirStat (opens in new tab), quick for Home windows Listing Statistics, is a free program that may scan your drive and generate a visible illustration of all of your recordsdata, which makes it simple to determine what’s taking on probably the most house in your drives.
If you replace Home windows, the OS holds onto a replica of the replace so that you could roll again if wanted. If you wish to do away with them, you’ll be able to. Discover the Disk Cleanup app by looking for it from the Begin menu or taskbar, then run it and choose the drive you’ve got Home windows put in on. Hit the “Clear up system recordsdata” button and it will ask you to pick out a drive once more after which load some new cleanup choices. The one you need is “Home windows Replace Cleanup.” I had over 2GB of outdated updates hanging round on my C: drive, and I’ve by no means had a cause to roll again but, so I wiped ’em. A few of us simply stay on the sting.
6. The Home windows.Previous folder (12GB)
If you improve to a brand new model of Home windows, it retains the outdated model in your major drive in a folder referred to as Home windows.Previous in case you wish to roll again. Home windows eliminates this folder routinely after some time, and that had already occurred by the point I regarded. In case you upgraded not too long ago and wish the house again straight away, although, the Disk Cleanup instrument can care for it. The strategy is similar as within the earlier entry: Run Disk Cleanup, hit “Clear up system recordsdata,” after which choose “Earlier Home windows set up(s).”
7. A bunch of Home windows thumbnails (355MB)
Home windows shops thumbnails of the pictures and movies in your folders in order that it could rapidly show them while you’re searching File Explorer. That is one other cache of knowledge that may be wiped with the Disk Cleanup utility, in the event you’re actually scrounging for additional house. Home windows will autogenerate new thumbnails, however I in all probability did not want the 355MB value of tiny photographs that had constructed up on my Home windows drive.
8. Pre-installed Home windows apps and different junk applications (1GB)
Why did I’ve Sweet Crush Pals put in? 256MB. What the hell is Farm Heroes Saga? 276MB. I do not understand how these King.com video games ended up on my PC, however they’re gone now, and I am going to sleep higher now that such grossly pointless knowledge is now not uglying up the quantum fields round my PC. Browse the “Add or take away applications” part of the Home windows management panel for your self and you might also discover some bizarre packages which were deposited in your PC. It will not unencumber a lot house, however you can even do away with Microsoft apps you will by no means use like 3D Builder, Blended Actuality Portal, and Groove Music.
9. Previous betas hiding in EA and Battle.web folders (18GB)
Did you attempt the Battlefield 2042 open beta again in 2021? Or Name of Obligation: Fashionable Warfare 2 this yr? Did you put in the general public testing server model of an MMO sooner or later after which overlook about it?
These folders are a dream discover for house hunters: They’re often massive, and deleting them is solely with out consequence, since no matter beta interval they had been for ended months or years in the past. I did not discover any beta builds in my most up-to-date hunt, however I did discover a tech demo I’ve no cause to maintain round: The Unreal Engine 5 CitySample demo that I checked out in April. 18GB taken again from The Matrix.
10. Previous mods I do not use anymore (1GB)
This could take some looking out, as a result of mods find yourself in every single place and are available in many types: Steam Workshop subscriptions, executable installers, compressed zip and rar recordsdata, directories organized by mod managers, and folders stuffed into sport set up directories. Video games which have built-in mod browsers is perhaps dumping them into your Paperwork folder, too. Mods that embody plenty of textures, audio, and different belongings could be big, so remembering that you simply downloaded and by no means performed an The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion whole conversion in 2015 might be a clutch house reclamation transfer.
11. Junk sport knowledge within the Paperwork folder (118MB)
Talking of the Home windows Paperwork folder, it is ineffective as an precise place to retailer paperwork, as a result of video games fill it up with save recordsdata, settings presets, and infrequently heftier packages of knowledge. I discovered that Baldur’s Gate 3, which I do not even have put in on Steam anymore, had stashed 118MB within the Larian Studios subfolder. I additionally discovered 271MB value of Rocket League replay recordsdata, however I stored these, in fact, as a result of who is aware of after I’ll must rewatch a purpose I scored in 2017?
Watch out with this one, in fact: You do not wish to unintentionally delete a valuable save sport that is not backed up within the Steam cloud or elsewhere.
12. Backups I may put within the cloud (3GB)
I am horrible about backing up knowledge: I often simply let mildly vital photographs and different information construct up on my inner drives till I’ve no alternative however to dump it onto no matter house I can scrounge up on my varied exterior backup drives. It will by no means cease maintaining my very own sloppily organized bodily backups, however contemplate primarily backing up your cellphone and different vital knowledge within the cloud, which is way much less more likely to fail you than an SSD or HDD. (In fact, Google Drive and iCloud and different web storage companies replenish, too. It is a battle.)
13. Junk I discovered within the AppData folder (1.75GB)
One time I made a decision I ought to develop into acquainted with the ideas of machine studying, so I began tinkering with Python programming and Google’s TensorFlow library. After a number of days of struggling to do something fascinating with it, I concluded that type of getting the essential concept behind machine studying was adequate. Why ought to I’ve to be taught if machines are doing it for us now anyway? I deserted the venture, but it surely seems that the venture didn’t abandon my AppData folder, the place I simply discovered a 750MB Python library file.
The AppData folder could be present in your person folder on Home windows (eg, C:UsersTylerAppData), but it surely’s hidden, so to see it you need to open the Folder Choices menu in Home windows (you may get there from any File Explorer window) and underneath the View tab, choose “Present hidden recordsdata, folders, and drives.” You may as well sort %appdata% within the search bar.
It is a mildly dangerous place to go looking for undesirable recordsdata, since you’ll be able to wind up deleting one thing a program wants and trigger minor messes. In case you discover a massive file related to a program you do not use anymore, it is higher to uninstall this system correctly relatively than simply deleting its cached knowledge. However not every little thing could be disposed of by the guide: Whereas searching my AppData folder, I additionally discovered an entire gig of Nvidia Broadcast crash dumps. That is the worth of RTX-powered nnoise cancellation, I assume.
14. The earth (2GB)
One other hidden Home windows folder value poking round in is ProgramData, which is discovered within the root listing of your foremost drive. It is mainly the identical as AppData: a hiding spot for vital program-specific knowledge which is not all the time cleared out when it must be. For example, sooner or later I attempted out Google Earth VR, thought it was mildly cool, after which removed it, and but the earth remained on my PC as a 2GB database file stashed in C:ProgramDataGoogleVREarthearthdata.
Goodbye, Gaia. I’ll now use the opening left by your absence to retailer clips of me enjoying Name of Obligation.
You won’t get to take pleasure in liberating up 2GB by deleting the planet all of us stay on, however maybe you will discover another long-forgotten knowledge hiding right here. Once more, watch out in system folders, and keep away from deleting something that may be eliminated by uninstalling a program correctly.
15. Video games I have not uninstalled as a result of they’re tiny and hardly taking on any house, however now there’s like 100 of them sitting forgotten on the backside of my Steam library
This final one is a visitor entry from Information Lead Andy Chalk, as a result of I really hold a really tidy Steam library: Rocket League, Rainbow Six Siege, and Ratz Instagib are all the time put in, and only a few different video games are allowed to rotate out and in at a time. However I am guessing lots of people can relate to Andy, who writes:
“I have not performed Edith Finch since November 2017, but it surely’s nonetheless consuming up 2.4GB of drive house. Tiny and Large: Grandpa’s Leftovers has gone untouched since Could 2018, and that is one other 2.4GB. Kentucky Route Zero: PC Version, which I nonetheless have not completed, has been ready for me to return again to it since September two-thousand-goddamned-thirteen. There are dozens of video games like this mendacity round. They’re like water: It would not appear like a lot while you’re holding it in a glass, but when I throw you into the ocean, you’ve got obtained an actual drawback.”