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)
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 🙂