Follow these simple free methods to find the largest files in Windows in order to free up disk space easily. Sort files from largest to smallest, and locate the largest files on the computer, hard drive, inside a folder, and all its subfolders or on the entire network.
- Find the Largest Files in Windows Explorer (aka File Explorer)
- Find the Largest Files on Computer, HDD (SSD), Folder, or Network
- Free up Extra Disk Space by Eliminating Large Duplicate Files
Many new computers and laptops use fast SDD drives in order to reduce weight and improve performance. Those SSD drives are really good, but to reduce cost the manufacturers put small capacity ones as they are pricey. Such SSD or eMMC drives are usually 256GB and can go as low as 32 GB. That is really small and you may quickly run out of disk space on your system drive. Fortunately, you can follow the steps below to clear out unnecessary files and free up disk space. In the first example, we will use File Explorer ( Windows Explorer ) to locate large files. Take a look at the second example if you want to find the largest folders too.
You can be sure that you have huge files that you do not need and that still reside in a long-forgotten folder. Such files could be installation files of already installed applications, log files, temp files, and old Windows update files. Here’s how to find your largest files.
Find the Largest Files in Windows Explorer (aka File Explorer)
You can find large files in Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7 using File Explorer only. You do not need to install any additional tools. Follow the steps below to get rid of big files that you don’t need. If you want a simpler and more flexible approach take a look at the next paragraph in which I provide a powerful free solution too. Probably you have noticed that folder sizes are not available in File Explorer. You can use a free Folder Size Explorer tool to view them.
Steps to Find Large Files
- Open File Explorer (aka Windows Explorer)
- Select “My Computer” or “This PC” to search your entire computer. If you only want to look at a drive or folder then click on them instead.
- Type “size:” in the search box.
- Select the sizes that you want to search for. You have the options to search for “Empty”, “Tiny”, “Small”, “Medium”, “Large”, “Huge”, and “Gigantic”. Select the “Gigantic” option to find the largest files first.
You may have to wait a bit for File Explorer to search your whole computer. Wait until the green status bar at the top fills up. The search may take some time depending on the size and speed of your drive.
- Click the “Change View” icon at the top-right and select “Details”
- Click the Size column to sort the files from largest to smallest.
Review the Largest Files List
Look through the list of the largest files and delete the ones that you don’t need. Most important, be careful not to delete important files. Undoubtedly, if you are not sure about a file just Google it up. Certainly, you don’t want to delete important data or break a program by deleting its files. Overall, things that you can safely delete are your own files. Certainly, you can easily decide if you need them or not. For example, these are music, videos, photos, old documents, etc. Unquestionably, the other type of files that you can easily get rid off is the temp and log files. Those are usually .tmp, .log, .$$$, etc. Old application installer files are something that you don’t need either. You can easily spot them as they have an installer icon and an .exe extension.
Finding Large Files in File Explorer Verdict
While you can find large files in Windows Explorer, the feature is a bit clumsy. Certainly, the fact that you have to choose a size range like “Huge”, “Gigantic” etc. is a bit unpractical. Obviously, after you get rid of the “Gigantic” files, you have to perform a new search for the “Huge” files. Then you have to search again for “Large” files and so on. For this reason, follow the instructions in the next paragraph for a simpler and much more visually pleasing solution,
Find the Largest Files on Computer, HDD (SSD), Folder, or Network
This is a simpler and way more versatile solution than using File Explorer. It requires installing a free tool. If you do not like installing applications it has a free portable version that you can use too.
- Download and install Folder Size
- Start the tool and select the drive that you want to analyze and press the “Scan Selected Drive” button. It is the one with the green arrow next to the drive list. You can also use “Scan folder…” or “Scan multiple locations…”
- From the toolbar select the “Largest files” report.
- Click the drive or folder for which you want to view the largest files in the tree view on the left
- You will find all the largest files in the currently selected drive or folder listed in the right panel
- Review the files and delete the ones that you don’t need
Largest Files Report
You can access the Largest Files Report from the toolbar. There you can choose the type of report for the details view. By default, the application displays the “Files and folders” report which is similar to the one of Windows Explorer but provides details for the sizes of the folders, the count of files and sub-folders inside, and many more. In order to activate the Largest Files report, click the arrow next to the currently active report type and select “Largest files”. (see the image on the left).
The report in this mode looks like the one on the picture above but lists the top 100 largest files in the currently selected folder and all its sub-folders. The additional column displays the path for every file.
Selecting a different folder from the folders list on the left instantly updates the report with the largest files that are located inside. There is no need to scan anything further.
Free up Extra Disk Space by Eliminating Large Duplicate Files
Remove Large Duplicate Documents and Files
To free up additional disk space you can delete your duplicate files too. Use the Free Duplicate Finder to remove repeating files. That tool can find duplicate files even if they are in different locations and with different names. It can find similar documents and archives and also files with similar names. This is the winner of the best duplicate file finders list.
Remove Large Duplicate Photos in Your Image Library
Undoubtedly, you should check your image library for duplicates too. Image files are quite large and occupy a lot of disk space. Unfortunately, the common duplicate finders can not find similar images. Please note that even if two photos are almost the same they are not duplicates – they are similar. Even if exactly the same photo is stored in different image formats, the common duplicate finders will not identify it. Therefore, You should use a dedicated tool like Visual Similarity Duplicate Image Finder for that. It is the number one choice in the list of the best duplicate photo finder tools.
Remove Large Duplicate Songs in Your Audio Collection
Finally, you should check your audio collection for repeating songs too. Similar to the example with the photos above, if a song is stored in different audio formats the common duplicate finders will not detect it. Audio Dedupe is a tool that can find similar and duplicate songs. It will listen to your songs in order to determine if they are similar or duplicate. Audio files are quite large so you can save a lot of disk space by deleting repeating songs.
Share this information with your friends and family. They will thank you for providing these tools that help with the free disk cleanup process.