How to find the biggest apps and regain disk space

Hard disk drives started out being quite small, then they got much bigger. Now they are small again. Finding the biggest apps and removing them can free up a lot of disk space. Here’s how to do it.

Old fashioned traditional mechanical disk drives can be very large indeed and capacities of 1TB or more are common. Most people are unlikely to run out of storage space on their hard disk drive.

Technology has changed to solid state disks (SSDs) and these have a much smaller capacity. Some SSDs in laptop computers are as small as 128GB and they are quickly filled with apps and other files.

When you are short of disk space, one of the ways to regain some of the space is to identify the largest applications and to uninstall them. There are several ways to do this and this article looks at a couple of them.

You might think that a third party utility would be needed, but Windows has sufficient tools to do it on its own.

Windows 10

In Windows 10, click the Start button and then click Settings. Click System in the Settings app and then select Apps & Features on the left.

A list of the apps installed in Windows is displayed. They should automatically be sorted by size with the biggest at the top, but if they are not, click the menu and select Sort by size (name and date are the other two sort options).

 Windows 10 settings

Some apps are essential of course, and you might want to keep some even though they are large. Look down the list and when you find one you can live without, click it and an Uninstall button appears. Use it to remove the app and free up the disk space.

 Windows 10 apps

Older Windows

There is another way to do this and it works in Windows 10 and older versions like Windows 8 and 7. Open the Control Panel in Windows 7 and in Small Icons view, click Programs and Features. In Windows 8 and 10 you can right click the Start button and open Programs and Features directly.

The programs are listed in columns and one of those columns is Size. You might need to widen the window or scroll to the right to see it.

 Programs and features

Click Size to sort the software by size. Click again if the sort is ascending – descending is best because the biggest programs are then at the top.

There is a little arrow to the right of Size and clicking it displays a list of sizes. Tick Gigantic and only those apps that are over 128MB are displayed and the rest are hidden. It lets you focus on the biggest space hogs.

 Programs and features

You can sort them by size by clicking the Size column header.

 Programs and features

Now you can find applications you do not need, select them and click Uninstall to remove them to regain disk space.

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