How much space do you need to run Windows 10?

Many times, it happens that you want to completely remove the Windows 10 operating system for many reasons. So the goal is to create an installation package that can adapt to your needs. Since depending on the device you are using, it will determine which operating system you should install.

Of course, there are tools that you can use to remove Windows 10. Some tools eliminate bloatware and others reduce seemingly useless services that only apply to specific circumstances. Now let's see how you can keep your Windows 10 installation to a minimum.

How much space does Windows 10 really need?

At its launch, Windows 10 was smaller than its predecessor, Windows 8. So that state has changed since then.

The period of development between the two operating systems gave Microsoft time to rationalize aspects of the code, make the transition and introduce new features to keep the footprint of the operating system low. Although Windows 10 arrived with a good amount of new features, the responsibility was to work with mobile devices of limited capacity.

However, some of the cuts were not instant hits with users of desktop PCs and laptops. While it made sense to eliminate features such as creating default recovery images for mobile devices; while increasing the boot time by a few seconds. Those who use laptops or desktop PCs would probably have preferred this to remain intact.

That said, it is reduced to the user's preference. For example, if you have a 1 TB hard drive and a 128 GB Solid State Drive (SSD) on which the operating system will be installed, it will boot very fast. In addition, you will have more space to save backups and recovery copies. But someone who has a 64GB tablet with Windows 10 installed cannot say the same.

Windows 10 increases in size

The Windows 10 May update of this year brought some unwanted news. Microsoft used the update to increase the installation size of Windows 10 from 16 GB for 32 bits and 20 GB for 64 bits, to 32 GB for both versions.

The drastic increase in size is related to an alteration in the process of updating the operating system. Previously, an update would have to wait until there was enough space on the host device to download and install.

Windows Update 1903 permanently reserves 7GB of disk space to ensure that future updates can be completed without failures.

So most desktop and laptop users will not consider the size requirement a problem. But mobile users with limited storage will certainly do so, especially since storage on many mobile devices is almost impossible to replace or upgrade.

What does that mean for Windows 10 users who use devices with smaller storage?

Unfortunately, it will remain stuck in Windows 10 version 1809 for the rest of the life of the device. That support ends on May 12, 2020. There is also a long-term service branch for 1809, which offers bug fixes and security updates until January 2024, and then security fixes only until January 2029.

Since May 2020 is already less than a year old, and users have done nothing wrong, Microsoft should consider offering each user extended support.

How does Windows 10 save space?

At its launch, Microsoft proudly announced that Windows 10 "takes advantage of an efficient compression algorithm to compress system files." The operating system compression returned "approximately 1.5 GB of 32-bit storage and 2.6 GB of 64-bit Windows storage."

The Microsoft system works with your hardware. Instead of compressing a standardized file list, Windows 10 uses the amount of RAM installed to determine how often a file is likely to be recovered. Similarly, if your system has a fast CPU, Windows 10 will compress more files to start, which offers greater space savings.

Compact operating system and WIMBOOT

Part of the compression of Windows 10 for smaller devices comes from the WIMBOOT (Windows Image Boot) updates. WIMBOOT originally appeared on Windows 8.1, "allowing specially prepared Windows 8.1 devices to have all the goodness of an efficient compression algorithm without compromising responsiveness."

However, only a small number of Windows 8.1 devices were ready for WIMBOOT to be used.

That changed with Windows 10. The WIMBOOT compression algorithm is fully integrated with the operating system. It also has a new name: CompactOS. The greatest potential savings that CompactOS can achieve is the elimination of the recovery partition, which occupies about 4 GB of space.

However, when manufacturers include a custom recovery partition, it often comes loaded with bloatware and steals even more valuable storage.

Windows 10 installation size reduction

Now, you will see some other easy methods to reduce the installation footprint of Windows 10.

1.- Remove Bloatware

Windows 10 comes with a reasonable amount of bloatware. Some preinstalled applications of Windows 10 include Microsoft 3D Builder, Candy Crush Saga, Groove Music, Money, Weather, Music, Sport, etc. Most users will have an alternative preference for these applications. However, Microsoft groups them.

In addition, removing them takes a long time and only returns a fraction of space.

2.- Reduce or eliminate Hiberfil.sys

Windows 10 comes to your system with hibernation enabled by default. It is not necessarily a bad thing, especially for those with large amounts of storage. Hiberfil.sys is the hibernation storage file that tracks the vital elements of your system. The file stores the key configuration that the operating system requires to quickly restore it from hibernation.

The size of your hiberfil.sys file is directly related to the amount of RAM of the installed system. You can also occupy up to 75% of that amount. For example, if you have 8 GB of RAM installed, the hiberfil.sys file could use up to 6 GB of storage, (storage on the hard drive, not your RAM). The more RAM you have, the more space the hiberfil.sys file will consume.

Do you want to turn it off?

Type "command prompt" in the search bar of the Start menu, right-click on the best match and select: Run as administrator.

Now, enter powercfg / hibernate off. That's it; Hibernation is off.

To turn it on again, enter powercfg / hibernate on. And you will activate hibernation again.

When you disable hibernation, the hiberfil.sys file should disappear immediately, freeing up space.

3.- Adjust your paging file storage

Windows has a built-in feature called Paging File. It can be defined as a virtual memory relief.

Your system has a set amount of RAM installed. You cannot exceed the amount of RAM installed in your system, so the amount installed is the limit. However, there are times when your system will face the amount of RAM you have installed.

When that happens, Windows will try to use the paging file to offer temporary relief. Some of the important information that is currently in RAM will be temporarily transferred to a file on your hard drive.

Since the hard disk memory is much slower than super fast RAM (even SSDs are slower), recovering this information takes longer. It also increases the wear of your unit as the system performs more read and write operations.

You can control the size of the paging file or delete it completely.

To do this, go to Control Panel followed by System and Security, and finally, to System. In the left pane, select "Advanced System Settings." Now, select the Advanced tab. In Performance, select the "Settings" section.

Go to the Advanced tab. You should now see a virtual Memory panel. Then select "Change."

As you can see, now you have three options:

Custom size.

System managed size.

No paging file.

You can delete the paging file, but it is not recommended. Although the paging file exists, it does not necessarily take up space, especially if you are not using all the available RAM for your system. If desired, reduce the size of the paging file.

4.- Windows.old

When Microsoft releases an important update, Windows 10 creates a folder called Windows.old. The Windows.old folder contains the previous system configuration, in case something goes wrong with the new version. It is a practical system.

But the Windows.old folder can remain on your hard drive for ten days, taking up valuable space, before it finally destroys itself. At one time, for several reasons, users end up with three Windows.old files, taking up a lot of space.

You can delete the Windows.old folder manually. However, it comes with the warning that once it is gone, it will not return. Since it is usually too large to be sent to the Recycle Bin. If you need to return to the previous version of Windows 10 for some reason, within ten days, do not delete the Windows.old folder.

It contains the system configuration and old files, and deletion without proper backup could lead to all kinds of problems.

Free disk space

The best way to delete the Windows.old file is to use the built-in Windows disk cleaning tool.

Type "free up" in the search bar of the Start menu and select the best match. In the storage sense, select “free space now”. The operating system will automatically calculate how many temporary files it can delete, including your Windows.old folder.

Be sure to check the Windows Update Cleanup box. You can also delete the Windows update log files, as they may take up additional space.

Decrease the space of Windows 10 with WinReducer EX-100

WinReducer EX-100 is a third-party tool that you can use to further decrease the installation size of Windows 10. WinReducer is a known tool for minimalist Windows installation. It allows you to remove the installation, eliminating services and utilities as you see fit.

Just make sure you know what you are eliminating. Some Windows services depend on others. After installation, you may discover that something you considered harmless is vital to the tool you want to run.

WinReducer EX-100 comes with many useful tips and an information panel to give you an overview. But if you're not sure, search the internet and find out if removing a tool could crash your system.

If you are a beginner in the Windows 10 installation reduction job, we recommend that you stick to the WinReducer presets, on the first tab.

Windows 10 could not be smaller

As of update 1903, the system requires a space of 32 GB. If your device has a 32 GB hard drive, there is no way to create enough space for Windows 10 1903. Unfortunately, there is no indication that this size requirement will decrease in the future.

In addition, even on a device with more storage, you can delete additional applications, destroy bloatware, keep your temporary files clean and more, but you will still have difficulty saving more than 4 GB.

Unfortunately, Windows 10 is not getting smaller. Though Microsoft It is simplified during development, as the demand for the operating system increases, so does its size.