Step-by-Step Guide to Reducing Windows 10 On-Disk Footprint

March 14, 2017

It is true that Windows 10 has a relatively small footprint when compared to the older versions of Windows. Even so, if what you have is a Windows laptop or tablet with a low amount of storage, even a small amount of savings matters. Consider the fact that a fresh install for Windows 10 takes […]

It is true that Windows 10 has a relatively small footprint when compared to the older versions of Windows. Even so, if what you have is a Windows laptop or tablet with a low amount of storage, even a small amount of savings matters.

Consider the fact that a fresh install for Windows 10 takes up storage space of about 15 GB. Most of this 15 GB is composed of reserved and system files, whereas a space of 1 GB is taken up by the default games and apps that come pre-shipped with Windows 10. While that may not seem like a lot, when using a low-end laptop with 32 GB or 64 GB memory, this represents a significant amount of storage space for the OS.

Windows 10’s footprint can be reduced by various means, including disabling hibernation, uninstalling the default apps and adjusting the virtual memory settings. All of these settings can be used for the previous versions of Windows, apart from uninstalling the apps that come installed by default with Windows 10.

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How to uninstall the default apps that come with Windows 10

The apps that come installed with Windows 10 do not really take up much space. However, even this storage adds up and causes the Start menu to clutter up. The apps that are not needed can be uninstalled. These are the steps to uninstall the default apps.

  1. Open Settings from the Start Menu
  2. Click on System
  3. Now click on storage and subsequently, select the C drive
  4. Now choose and click the option for Apps and Features
  5. Now click on any app and then click the Uninstall button to have the app uninstalled
  6. Some of the apps, such as Mail and Calendar, Xbox, Groove Music, and Maps cannot be uninstalled from here. These have to be uninstalled using PowerShell commands.

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Turn Off Hibernation
What happens during hibernation is that Windows saves the current state of your computer in terms of the executing programs and open documents to the storage drive so that you can resume the work when you switch on the computer. If you do not use hibernation mode, the mode can be disabled and the hiberfil.sys file can be deleted. This can be quite useful because the hiberfil.sys file takes up several gigs of storage space.

These steps ensure that the hiberfil.sys file on your computer is deleted. It will also remove your option used to put your system into hibernation. You still have the ability to place your computer in sleep mode, which gives you the ability to save the state of your computer into memory instead of on the hard drive. This maintains your computer in a power-on state but which is, however, low power.

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Change the Size of Virtual Memory

The basic concept of virtual memory is that if your computer has physical memory that is insufficient to execute an operation or run a program, Windows will execute data moves temporarily to a paging file present on the hard disk from RAM memory. These are the necessary steps.

  1. Open the Control Panel by searching for the item on the Start menu
  2. Click on System and Security
  3. Then click on System
  4. Now, click on Advanced System Settings from the left menu
  5. Go into the Advanced tab and click on the button called Settings from within the Performance section
  6. Now, go into the Advanced tab and click on the Change button from within the Virtual memory section
  7. Now, uncheck the box next to the option for “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives”
  8. Select the option for Custom size. Then enter the maximum and initial sizes that you desire to be limits for the file’s growth. Now hit Set, followed by OK to finish.

As an alternative, you may select the option for “no paging file” or instead leave it to the system to manage file size. For reasons related to performance, you should always use a paging file.
These steps can help you free up to a few gigabytes of space on your hard drive by limiting the amount of space that is taken up by Windows on your computer.

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Unlike previous versions, Windows 10 does not require or use a recovery image. Simply by eliminating the system’s recovery image, users can get up to 4 GB of storage back. The way Windows 10 is implemented, the OS uses the files present in the system already. To be more specific, the files can be found in the winsxs subfolder inside the Windows folder.
Having said that, there is indeed one more additional component in the form of a compression mechanism known as Compact OS. The way this tool works is that it takes the Windows 10 files and places them into a hidden container where they are actually compressed. This helps to reduce the amount of space required. This method is an exact replacement for WIMBoot, which came in as a part of Windows 8.1. Compact OS is a lot easier to both configure and deploy. This is how to run Compact OS:

This tool will start the operation of the process, which will take between 10 and 20 minutes. What is even better is that we do not even need to restart the computer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I reduce the Windows 10 ISO file size?
There are a few different ways to reduce the Windows 10 ISO file size, including disabling hibernation, uninstalling default apps, and adjusting the virtual memory settings. Most of the default apps can be uninstalled through System Settings (Programs and Apps). Disabling hibernate also saves space by deleting the hiberfil.sys file.

Why does Windows 10 take up so much disk space?
Windows 10, though much smaller than previous versions, still takes up about 15 GB of storage space. Much of this is from reserved and system files, though about 1 GB is solely from default games and apps. File space is also used by hibernation support files (hiberfil.sys) and virtual memory.

How do I reduce the size of a disk?
You can reduce space used by NTFS drives using the optional compression mechanism, Compact OS. This tool installs compressed OS files (Windows/Program files and Store applications only). These files are not stored in a single WIM file, so individual files can be replaced/removed for better maintenance over time.

What happens if I compress C drive?
It is not recommended to compress C drive since this drive often contains critical files for ensure the computer can boot and install drivers. If you decide to compress C drive, exclude root and Windows directories. Compression can also strain performance since the computer must decompress files to open them.

Can I shrink C drive?
Compact OS is a tool that safely compresses Windows installation files and preinstalled apps. You can also clear space by deleting files, emptying the recycle bin, defragging disk drives, and shrinking disk drives. Defragging collects program files in one place. Shrinking partitions the drive to take advantage of unused space.

How do I shrink my C drive to 100GB?
Shrinking or partitioning drives enables users to optimize disk drive storage. Before starting, clean up the drive and create a system image. Then open the Computer Management app. Under “Disk Management”, right-click the C Drive and select “Shrink Volume” in the menu. Specify disk size constraints in the dialog box.

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By Team FileCloud