Windows 10 update issues on devices with low storage space

Symptoms

On Microsoft Windows 10 systems that have limited storage space (such as thin clients or embedded systems), when you run Windows Update, the update initialization may fail.

Cause

Windows Update does not check systems for adequate space requirements before it initializes.

Resolution

We recommend a regular regimen of system maintenance to help ensure that updates are successful. This includes deleting unnecessary and temporary files. It also includes maintaining awareness of available and allocated storage on systems. To free up disk space in Windows 10, use the following tasks.

Delete temporary files

Temporary files are files that formerly helped your apps load and run faster, but they're no longer used. To delete temporary files, follow these steps:

  1. On the Start menu, click Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Under Storage, click This PC > Temporary files.
  3. Under Storage, click This PC > Temporary files.

Delete downloaded files

Every time you download a file from the web, a copy of the file is saved in your Downloads folder. To see what's in your Downloads folder and remove the files that you don't need, follow these steps:

  1. On the Start menu, click Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Under Storage, click This PC > Temporary files.
  3. Under Downloads, click View downloads.

Empty your Recycle Bin

When you delete a file, it is usually moved to the Recycle Bin. To permanently delete the files in your Recycle Bin, follow these steps:

  1. On the Start menu, click Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Under Storage, click This PC > Temporary files.
  3. Under Recycle bin, click Empty recycle bin > Yes, I'm sure.
Tip To see what's in your Recycle Bin before you empty it, open it from your desktop.

Uninstall apps you don't use anymore

To uninstall apps you no longer use, follow these steps:
  1. On the Start menu, click Settings > System > Apps & features.
  2. Search for a specific app or sort them to see which ones are taking up the most space.
  3. Select the app you want to delete, and then click Uninstall.

Move files to another drive

If you have photos, music or other files that you want to keep but don't use very often, consider saving them to removable media, such as a USB drive. You'll still be able to use them when the drive is connected, but they won't take up space on your PC. To move files to external media, follow these steps:


  1. Connect the removable media to your PC.
  2. On the taskbar, open File Explorer.
  3. Select the files you want to move, and then click the Home tab.
  4. Click Move to > Choose location.
  5. In the location list, select your removable media, and then click Move.

Save new files to another drive

Instead of saving all your new files to the same drive, save some files to a different drive. To save files to a different drive, follow these steps:


  1. On the Start menu, click Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Under Save locations, select a drive from the drop-down menu. If the drive you want to use isn't listed there, make sure it's connected to your PC.

Save fewer OneDrive files on your PC

It's convenient to have your OneDrive files saved offline so you can use them when you're not connected to the Internet. But if you're running low on drive space, you can save fewer OneDrive folders offline. You'll still be able to get to them from OneDrive.com, but they won't take up space on your PC. To save fewer OneDrive folders offline, follow these steps:


  1. Go to the right side of the taskbar and find the OneDrive icon. If you don't see it, click the Show hidden icons arrow and see if it's there.
  2. Right-click the OneDrive icon, and then click Settings > Choose folders > Choose folders.
  3. Clear the check boxes for the folders that you don't want saved on your PC, and then click OK.

References

For more information about how to free up disk space in Windows 10, see the following Windows article: Free up disk space in Windows 10.
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