​Windows 10: This new preview helps you free up disk space by clearing old files

Microsoft updates its Storage Sense app for freeing up local disk space.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has released build 17758 of the forthcoming Windows 10 update for the Redstone 5 branch.

The latest preview includes several bug fixes but also brings a range of new controls to Storage Sense, Microsoft's smart storage tool introduced in last April's Creator's Update that will at some point replace the legacy Disk Cleaner utility.

This update to Storage Sense aims to help users of OneDrive Files on Demand, a feature for working with lots of data stored in the cloud from a storage-constrained device.

Files on Demand avoids using local disk space by making the files available online-only from OneDrive, but still searchable via File Explorer as if they were locally available. However, once users open an online-only file to work on, it's downloaded from OneDrive and takes up disk space unless it gets reset as online-only.

Storage Sense can now target older, unused, cloud files that have been made locally available and make them online-only. This builds on existing Storage Sense features that delete leftover temporary files and empty the Recycle Bin.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

One purpose of the new features is to free up just enough space for Windows to run smoothly. If a file hasn't been used in the last 30 days it will be eligible for "dehydration", where the file is moved to Microsoft's cloud, leaving only a placeholder on the device so they're still visible.

This feature can be enabled by going to the Settings app and navigating to System and Storage.

Microsoft has also added new controls to select how frequently to run Storage Sense for Files on Demand files that have become locally available. You can now choose to run it every day, every week, once a month or just to automatically run only when there's low free storage space.

If Storage Sense is set to only run when it detects low storage space, it will clean out temporary files, cache files, device driver packages, and a range of other files. And to clear up more space, Storage Sense can be set to delete older files in the Downloads folder.

Users can also set it to make Files on Demand content available online-only after 30 days or 14 days, as well as set select files to be always available offline.

Microsoft notes that the Disk Cleanup utility, cleanmgr.exe, is being deprecated, though it is retaining the feature for compatibility reasons.

Otherwise, build 17758 irons out a number of bugs ahead of next month's expected release of the October 2018 Update.


Researcher finds new malware persistence method leveraging Microsoft UWP apps

New malware persistence method works only on Windows 10 and abuses built-in UWP apps like the Cortana and People apps.

Microsoft updates 'Your Phone' for Android with SMS support

Microsoft also rolled out to testers yet another new Fast Ring test build of its October 2018 Update.

Microsoft's October 2 Fall Event: What to expect

Microsoft's Oct. 2 event in New York City is expected to feature more than just a couple refreshed Surface devices. Windows, Office, Cortana, and other software and services will likely get cameos, too.

Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 update: How to change the Command Prompt default to PowerShell (TechRepublic)

The Windows 10 April 2018 Update allows easier access to PowerShell through a Personalization setting.

Microsoft's new Windows 10 19H1 test build adds fixes, support for new app updates

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 19H1 Skip Ahead build, No. 18234, adds a bunch of minor updates and fixes, but still no major new features.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update: The 7 best new features (CNET)

See the biggest changes coming to Windows 10.

Editorial standards