Windows 10 Current Branch Upgrades – Taking up all my free space – Identify and Resolve


I found a potential bug where constant Windows Insider builds were bloating the Previous Windows Installations to over 10 gb.  This was causing other issues on my tiny storage tablet.  The newer interface of Windows 10 provides some guidance on finding the bloat.  But it was the classic tools of WinDirStat and Disk Cleanup that resolved the bloat… but not the cause.


As a windows insider I am constantly getting the Fast builds (Several a week).   My primary test device is a Dell Venue 8 Pro (DV8P) 5830 with 64gb of storage (and SD card extensiability).  I am also a Plex user and do a lot of offline sync to watch videos while I fly.

Recently, I started getting randon errors and super slow resume from sleep.  Even though my Plex app is space limited I was a bit surprised. To see I had less than 1gb free.   The following is how I figured out what was going on and fixed the issue.  As I fixed my DV8P space issue I used my laptop to do screenshots.   That’s why the space in the screen caps don’t match.

How does one find what is taking up space?

Windows 10 has a new feature called storage.  Which has some nice features like showing available space for each drive.  Great but doesn’t help me find out what is taking lots of space.  Even so lets explore.   Start >> type Storage


If we pick the primary system drive we get a screen eating display of used hard drive space categories.  45.4 GB looks excessive lets click on that


Keep on drilling down to System & Reserved (three clicks in still don’t know anything useful)


Huh, 20.3 gb of system files.  Rather extreme lets click Manage System Restore.  Ahh, back to legacy interface.  Picking the drive again notice that protection is only on for primary system drive.  Hmm 7.59 is not close to the 20+gb of system.  Lets keep looking


,Many many moons ago there was a tool called Disk Clean Up.    Start >> type Disk Cleanup


Pick your drive. Guess it won’t do the full system just specific partitions.


Oh this is new.  Clean Up system Files.  That 20+gb system files have to live somewhere. What happens when you click this?  Be aware,  I have already cleaned up my drive… but originally there was 10.9gb of Previous Windows Installations.  When I ran the cleanup I was provided a prompt that said you will not be able to roll back to a previous version of windows.  Okay but on my 64 gb tablet i needed the space.


An easier way?

To this day it surprises me that Windows Explorer does not have any easy method to show the size of directories.  This would allow me to easily identify issues.  One day when I am board i’ll setup a PowerBI 🙂   Until then you can use WinDirStat.

Use the following PowerShell from an elevated Command PowerShell prompt

install-package windirstat -ProviderName Chocolatey -Force -ForceBootstrap

This will allow you to see exactly what directories are taking up so much space (example from laptop)

WinDirStat Drive space.png

Wow, all drives at a glance.  Easy drill down and sorting.  This is fabulous.  I can instantly see that my temp directory is way beyond normal in size.  On my laptop it turned out I had several VM vhdx files backed up there.  Whoops 🙂





Author: shauncassells

Shaun Cassells, Senior Solutions Engineer, 1E Shaun is a Microsoft MVP Windows Insider MVP and executive at Central Texas Systems Management User Group (CTSMUG). Shaun is a frequent speaker at conferences like MMS, Gartner, TechEd Europe, TechEd North America, IT Dev Connections, System Center Rallies, and Systems Management User Groups (SMUGs). Shaun is an award winning blogger syndicated from Shaun specializes in analysis, optimization, and design of Tactical Solutions to Strategic Business Goals. Prior to joining 1E in 2010, he worked for a Global 100 company as the Configuration Manager Service Owner and Architect. Recently as a Principle Consultant at 1E, he accomplished design, review, and improvements to a variety of Configuration Manager environments from the very small to sites with a half million seats. He provided leadership that created a patented automated application rationalization and usage based OSD mapping solution in use by multiple fortune 500 companies. These days you can find Shaun traveling to help discover, review, and improve business productivity across the world.

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