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Clear storage space on Windows or Mac PC
Photo © Yuri Arcurs |
Tech tips

How much free storage should you have on your computer?

If your computer is slow, check its hard drive. You may need to clear storage space to make your PC run more smoothly. Simply put, your device needs a certain amount of free space to work correctly.

How much free space your computer needs will depend on the brand and model. We’ll give you details in this tech tip. In the meantime, you should also look for signs that your hard drive is failing. Watch for things like strange sounds.

If you hear strange noises, it might be time for an upgrade. Tap or click here for six more ways to keep your device going strong. Scroll down for ways to make your computer high-performance again.

How much free hard drive space do you need?

Want to find out your drive’s capacity? We can help you see how much wiggle room you have.

Windows computers need at least 100 MB of free space

👍 This rule of thumb applies to computers running Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP.

🦖 Are you still running Windows 7? That’s dangerous! It doesn’t get patch updates. You’re making it easy for hackers to break into your computer.

🖥️ However, even 100 MB may not be enough. Your computer needs at least 10% of free space available to install updates, Dell reports.

Easy ways to clear storage space

One easy way to free up storage space is to use Disk Cleanup, a built-in tool that finds files to delete. You can also use OneDrive Files On-Demand.

If you’re feeling extra technical, you can use Windows command prompts. Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide to clearing storage space on your Windows computer.

Macs need at least 5GB of free space

💻Your hard drive should have anywhere from 5% to 15% of its capacity freed up.

📹 The exact percentage depends on how much you’re doing on your computer. If you love gaming or editing videos, go with 15%.

😊 If you mainly browse the web and rarely download files or apps, 5% may be OK.

Are you in need of an upgrade?

Sometimes it feels like the world is throwing everything it has at you. To succeed, you need someone to guide you through. That’s where our sponsor Dell comes in.

Dell Technologies Advisors have the tech advice and expertise to help you navigate whatever challenges you’re up against — and get you safely to where you want to be.

Call a Dell Technologies Advisor at 877-ASK-DELL or go to for free expert support.

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