7 files and folders Windows can delete to free up space - Windows Basics


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

7 files and folders Windows can delete to free up space

Windows contains lots of unnecessary files and folders from the hidden cache, old files you can delete to free up space. But knowing whether to delete those folders and files is safe or not seems to be a challenge.

Let's take a look at a few Windows files and folders that are really safe to remove and why we can do that. Some files are in protected area so care should be taken before deciding to delete them.

1. Hibernation File

Located at location C:\hiberfil.sys

Hibernation is similar to Sleep mode but the other thing is that the system saves all open work to the hard drive before shutting down the computer. You can remove the battery from your computer and leave it in this mode for a few weeks, after starting the backup and what you did before will remain intact. Of course, this also takes up space.

The hibernation file will take up a few GB or more depending on the size of the hard drive. If you do not use this feature and want to disable them, you can easily do it through the Command Prompt. Remember that you should not delete the hiberfil.sys file as Windows will recreate it. Open Command Prompt (Admin) by right-clicking Start on the desktop. Type the following command to disable hibernation:

powercfg.exe / hibernate off

This video is full of steps to disable hibernation function. When the operations are done, Windows will automatically delete hiberfil.sys, you can choose whether to delete it or not. Note that stopping this mode also means your computer will stop booting quickly on Windows 10, but it won't have a major effect on booting.

2. Temp folder

Located at C:\Windows\Temp

As you know, Windows temporary files will no longer be valid after first use. These files and folders contain information that is used only by Windows. You can delete all the items inside by opening the folder, press Ctrl + A to select all and then press Delete. When it does this, Windows may error some items, but ignore them and continue cleaning up the rest.

3. Recycle Bin

Located at shell: RecycleBinFolder

The Recycle Bin is actually not a folder and obviously many people already know about it, but for some unknown readers, we can explain to you the following: whenever you delete a file above system, Windows will move it to the Recycle Bin. This is a special place to keep deleted files until the user permanently deletes them or restores them. If you do not pay attention to the trash, there may be many GB of old data still in it.

You can access the Recycle Bin on the desktop. If you can't find it, type shell: RecycleBinFolder in the Run menu (press Windows button + R) or in the File Explorer navigation bar. There, you will see all the recently deleted things. Click on individual items and choose Delete to permanently delete or Restore to move them back to their original location. On the Ribbon, you'll see the Empty Recycle Bin or Restore all items buttons.

To tweak how the Recycle Bin works, click Recycle Bin Properties on the Ribbon. In this section, you can limit the trash size or choose Don't move files to Recycle Bin (don't move files to Recycle Bin). This customization permanently deletes items and bypasses the recycle bin completely. But we do not recommend using this option because when accidentally deleted, the Recycle Bin is the place to find them again.

4. Windows.old folder

Location at C:\Windows.old

When you upgrade your version of Windows, your system stores a copy of the old Windows files called Windows.old. This folder essentially holds everything made up of your old computer in case the conversion goes awry. In a bad situation, you can use this folder to restore to an earlier version of Windows, or you can also open the folder and retrieve some of the lost files as needed.

Windows automatically removes folders after 10 days, but you can manually delete them when you need more space. It won't delete from File Explorer, so type Disk Cleanup into the Start menu and launch the tool. Click Cleanup system files at the bottom of the window and let it scan for system files. Once done, find Previous Windows installation and delete it using this tool.

Obviously, getting rid of these files is harder than recovering them. With the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, we recommend that you keep this folder until you are sure everything is working properly.

5. Downloaded Program Files

Located at C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files

This file essentially holds the files used for Explorer ActiveX controls and Java applets, so if you use a feature on the same website you won't have to download it twice. As a result, this directory is completely useless because ActiveX is an extremely mature technology with a lot of vulnerabilities, and Java applets are quite rare. ActiveX is exclusive to Internet Explorer and you will probably only find it on old company websites. Most home users don't use IE anymore. So the Downloaded Program Files file will probably be empty, but if so, we can still delete its contents.

6. LiveKernelReports

Located at C:\Windows\LiveKernelReports

The LiveKernelReports folder is another folder that may appear when you are scanning large files on your computer. This directory is where the dump files (the persistent records of information that Windows keeps). If your computer crashes, you can analyze the contents of these files to begin troubleshooting your problem.

Any large files ending with the DMP file extension in this directory can be safely deleted. However, like the above locations, we recommend using Disk Cleanup instead of manually deleting files.

When Windows crashes or you have other major computer problems, don't delete these dump files immediately. You can use a program like WhoCrashed to get more information.

7. Directory Rempl

Located at C:\Program Files\rempl

Although the Rempl folder is not large, you might be surprised to see it appear on your system. It contains a few small files and you may even notice a few Task Manager processes connected to it.

This folder is connected to the distribution of Windows 10 updates. It includes "reliability enhancements" to keep Windows 10 updates going smoothly and fixing compatibility issues.

So can you delete the Rempl folder? There don't seem to be any side effects from doing so. However, since it only takes up a few megabytes and can make Windows upgrading less frustrating, it's best to keep it.

The best way to delete these folders

We have just covered a few items that you can remove, but manually deleting is not the best way. Also, you should use a safer automatic cleaning tool. This avoids accidentally deleting necessary files.

Windows Disk Cleanup is very functional and easy to use. For more control, third-party cleaning tools like CCleaner can also be considered, which allow cleaning more locations and provide some additional features.


Windows contains many unnecessary files or folders. Remember, your computer does a pretty good job at keeping themselves clean so you don't have to delete the contents of these folders unless the capacity is low. Run the Disk Cleanup tool once or twice a month to keep your computer clean.

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