How To Check Free Hard Drive Space in Windows

Here's How to Find Your Drive's Capacity, Used Space, or Free Space

Screenshot of the This PC area of Windows Explorer in Windows 10, once place to view a hard drive's free space
Free Disk Space in This PC (Windows 10).

You can't just add stuff to a drive forever, be it your main hard drive, the little flash drive in your pocket, or the giant external hard drive on your desk.

Even an arguably humongous 8 TB hard disk has a limit: 8 TB! As crazy as it sounds, it too can fill up. True, it'll take one million high quality photos to do it, but only about 75 feature-length 4K movies.

Regardless, I think you get the idea - you may need to check the free space on a drive from time to time, especially if it starts to slow down or act funny.

Unfortunately, especially in Windows operating systems, you don't get a friendly "Hey, your hard drive is almost full!" warning. Instead, you get cryptic error messages or serious problems like BSODs.

Luckily, it's super easy to check how much free space you have on any of your drives, and it only takes a minute. Here's how to do it in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP:

How To Check Free Hard Drive Space in Windows

  1. In Windows 10 only, tap or click the Start button, followed by File Explorer.

    In Windows 8 or Windows 10, search for this pc and then tap or click on the This PC result.

    In Windows 7 or Windows Vista, click the Start button, followed by Computer.

    In Windows XP, click Start and then My Computer.

    Tip: See What Version of Windows Do I Have? if you're not sure which you're using.
  2. On the left-hand side of File Explorer or Windows Explorer (depending on your version of Windows), make sure This PC, Computer, or My Computer is selected (again, based on your version of Windows).
  1. On the right-hand side, find the drive you want to know how much free space is left on.

    In Windows 10 & 8, all storage devices are listed in the Devices and drives area. In Windows 7, Vista, and XP, Hard Disk Drives and Devices with Removable Storage are listed separately.
  2. In newer versions of Windows, you can see right under the drive listing how much free space is left on it, as well as the total size of the drive, in a format like this:
    Local Disk (C:)
    [storage space indicator]
    49.0 GB free of 118 GB
    If that's all you need to know then you're done! However, there is a bit more information about your drive's capacity buried just a bit deeper:
  1. To see more, right-click or tap-and-hold on the drive you want more storage space information on, and then choose Properties.
  2. In the General tab, you'll see all the important details about the storage device you're looking at, reported in bytes as well as rounded GB... free space included:

    Used space: The sum total of every piece of data on this device

    Free space: The difference in the total formatted capacity of the device and the sum total of every piece of data being stored on it

    Capacity: The total formatted capacity of the drive

    Also here is a pie graph, showing used vs free space on the drive, helpful for visualizing how much space you're using on this hard drive or other device.

More About a Drive's Free Space in Windows

Microsoft has historically recommended that, to avoid problems, you should leave at least 100 MB of free space on whatever drive you have Windows installed to. Because I've seen problems at levels higher than 100 MB, I have always recommended 10% free space instead.

In Windows 10, much more detail about what sorts of files are using up your drive's capacity can be found in Settings -> System -> Storage. Just choose a drive you're interested in and Windows will analyze it, breaking it down into categories.

In any version of Windows, choosing Disk Cleanup from the drive's properties (Step 6 above) will start the Disk Cleanup utility, a one-stop-shop for removing files that are no longer needed by Windows.