Microsoft on freeing up space for Windows 10 Updates

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 19, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft published a new support article "Windows 10 update issues on devices with low storage space" yesterday.

Released in time for the next feature update for the operating system, Windows 10 version 1809 also known as the October 2018 Update, it highlights that updates may fail when disk space is low and provides suggestions on how to free up disk space.

Microsoft's resolution to avoid the issue is to run a series of operations to free up disk space on the device.

windows 10 storage updates

In particular, Microsoft suggests:

  • To delete temporary files in Settings (Windows-I) > System > Storage > This PC > Temporary Files.
  • To delete downloaded files in Settings > System > Storage > This PC > Temporary Files > Downloads > View Downloads.
  • To empty the Recycle Bin in Settings > System > Storage > This PC > Temporary Files > Recycle Bin > Empty Recycle Bin (tip: you may also reduce the available storage space for the Recycle Bin)
  • To uninstall apps that are not used anymore in Settings > System > Apps & Features.
  • To move files to a USB Drive or another drive. Select the files in File Explorer, the Home > Move To > Choose location.
  • To save new files to another drive.
  • To keep only some OneDrive files on the system. To do so, right-click on the OneDrive icon and select Settings > Choose folders and uncheck folders that you don't require on the PC to free up space.

The common sense instructions read almost like an advertisement for using the Settings application more as the first part five of the eight suggestions ask you to use it. It is certainly possible to clean the Recycle Bin using Microsoft's suggested method but it is equally possible to right-click on the icon on the desktop to clean it right from there. The latter may be faster.

Some users may use the Disk Cleanup tool for some of the operations but Microsoft revealed that it is deprecated. While still available, it will be removed eventually.

Storage Sense supports the automatic deletion of temporary files on Windows 10; so that may be an option going forward.

As for moving, I suppose using the menubar is the easiest way but most users will probably either use "cut" from the right-click menu or hold down the Shift-key to move files instead of copying them to another drive.

The cause

More telling is Microsoft's explanation for issues caused by low disk space during upgrades besides the obvious elephant in the room that devices with low amounts of disk space are sold as Microsoft's minimum requirements for Windows 10 devices don't prevent manufacturers from doing so.

Microsoft Surface devices are offered with 64 Gigabytes of storage space which is not a lot either but some manufacturers produce devices with 32 Gigabytes of storage space. A large portion of the space is already occupied by Windows.

The cause according to Microsoft? Microsoft confirms that "Windows Update does not check systems for adequate space requirements before it initializes".

The company does not reveal why Windows does not check for sufficient storage space before updates are initialized. Doing so would certainly help users as Windows could "tell them" to free up a certain amount of disk space before running the installer.

While it is certainly helpful if users clean certain files, temporary files or old downloads, regularly on their devices, it should be the developer's responsibility to implement proper checks during the initialization of updates.

As Woody Leonhard puts it so eloquently: "You'd think that with all the hundreds of millions MS has spent on Windows installers, it would've fixed the ooops-it's-too-small bug a while ago. Right up there with the "SSU before LCU" ridiculousness".

See also: Windows 10 version 1809 removed or deprecated features

Now You: Did you run into Windows update issues recently?

Microsoft on freeing up space for Windows 10 Updates
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Microsoft on freeing up space for Windows 10 Updates
Microsoft published a new support article "Windows 10 update issues on devices with low storage space" yesterday that includes suggestions on freeing up disk space.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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