Maximize your PC storage: Become a storage ninja

Living with a 65-pound dog in just under 400 square feet for 2 years taught me to treasure my space, and to be fairly organized. The habit of maximizing space has carried over to my PC, and I try to squeeze the most out of my gigabytes. Organizing sounds terribly boring, but a teensy bit goes a long way. There’s no need to out-Martha Ms. Stewart: You can become a PC storage ninja with a modicum of effort.

Here are my best storage tips, arranged according to level of awesomeness:

1. Grasshopper: It’s best to start by doing a little basic PC maintenance.

Well done, Grasshopper.

2. Black belt: Get and use your free SkyDrive storage space. Saving photos on your hard drive? Why? You should use your free 7 GB of space (that’s enough for ~20,000 photos!) on SkyDrive for photos and documents. You’ll save space, and you’ll be able to get to them from any of your devices. Extra space + convenience = win, win.

Once you’ve got all or most of your photos and docs on SkyDrive, you can allocate the space you saved for your apps. More space available = more apps = more fun. So that’s more winning, also

Bonus points
: Go to PC settings, click on Search and apps, and take a look under App sizes to sort your apps by the amount of space each app requires. That’ll help you figure out which apps are space hogs. Not worth the hit? Just tap the app in the list, and then tap Uninstall. For desktop apps, go to the Programs and Features page in your Control Panel to check out file sizes and uninstall a few.

That black belt looks great on you.

App sizes screen shot

 

3. Ninja: If you don’t already have it, get Windows 8.1. Not only is SkyDrive built in, it also uses smart files so that your SkyDrive stuff takes up as little space as possible on your PC. Smart files only take up space when you open them. The files you don’t open on the PC stay off your drive.

Next, set your largest SkyDrive files to be “online only.” That’ll allow you to use them from anywhere, but keep them from downloading onto every PC or device you’re using to access them.

That lack of sound you hear right now is your ninja self, silently kicking butt.

SkyDrive folder showing online-only files

Congratulations! You’re officially awesome. We here at the Windows Experience Blog don’t do certificates, but as you know, awesomeness is its own delightful reward. Enjoy all that elbow room!