Windows 10 updates provide the latest features and security improvements to help keep your PC more current and more secure. Before the installation process starts, Windows checks to make sure there’s enough storage space on your device for the installation process and for these new features and security improvements.

If there isn’t enough open space on your internal drive, you’ll see a message (like the one below) that tells you Windows requires more space.

Windows needs space to update

We can't install the latest Windows 10 features and security improvements on your PC due to low disk space. 

Get more space with external storage

You can temporarily gain extra space by using an external storage device like a USB drive, an SD card, or an external hard drive.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An external storage device with 10GB or more of free space, depending on how much additional space you need.

  • An internet connection.

Here's how to do it: 

  1. Select Start  > Settings > Update & Security .

  2. From the Windows update page, select Fix issues. This launches the Windows update tool that lets you update your PC using an external storage device.

  3. Before you use an external storage device for updating, make sure you back up any important files.

  4. Connect your external storage device and select it from the drop-down menu.

  5. Select Next and follow the instructions to finish installing the update.

  6. Once the installation is complete, you can safely remove your external storage device.

Even after selecting external storage, if you don't have enough free space on your internal drive, you might be prompted to free up more space. 

If you don't want to use external storage, select I don't want to use external storage.

Free up space on your device

Here’s how to get more storage space on your device’s internal hard drive:

  1. Open your Recycle Bin and remove deleted files.

  2. Open your Downloads and delete any files you don’t need.

    • Note: if you don't know how to find your Recycle Bin or your Downloads, search for them in the search box on your taskbar.

  3. If you still need more space, Open your Storage Use.

  4. This will open Settings  > System Storage.

  5. Select Temporary Files and delete any files you don’t need.

  6. Return to Windows needs space to update.

  7. Select Refresh.   

  8. If you still see Windows needs space to update, repeat the process or consider deleting unneeded files from other folders. Alternatively, consider moving some files to external storage if you haven't already.

  9. When finished, select Start  Power > Restart.

Related info

Free up drive space in Windows 10

Get the Windows 10 May 2021 Update

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