We Understand Where They Come From

People looking to upgrade or do a clean install of Windows 11 have a growing concern about how much space their setup will take up on your hard drive/SSD. We understand where they're coming from, as most users like to install the operating system on their SSD (because it's faster), which is usually 128 or 256 GB in size, leaving little room for other things. This post discusses the actual storage space occupied by different editions of Windows 11, and how you can reduce it if needed. Microsoft has announced the minimum hardware requirements for installing Windows 11 on a physical PC or Virtual Machine (VM). It requires users to have at least 64 GB of storage space. This means their boot drive (usually drive C) must be at least 64 GB. However, this does not mean that Windows 11 takes up the entire amount, which is 64 GB. Microsoft has announced the number for two main reasons. When installing Windows 11, that doesn't mean it will only take up the amount of storage space you see during installation.

However, each of these editions uses different storage space on your hard drive.

On the other hand, a lot of data needs to be moved and duplicated, especially when you upgrade from an older version of Windows. Another reason to leave significant free space is to make room for other Windows applications, programs, and updates to install, so you can use the operating system, and not just install it. As you already know, Windows 11 comes in different editions, each with its own unique features and support. However, each of these editions uses different storage space on your hard drive. Also, the trace depends on whether you have done a clean install of Windows 11 or upgraded from an older version. If you upgrade from an earlier version, Windows retains the older version for the next 10 days if you want to roll back. Here is an insight into each of these editions. The Professional Edition for Windows 11 includes several features and programs that other editions don't have, therefore it can be considered a much heavier edition. However, when testing a fresh install for different editions of Windows, we found that all editions were using 21GB of space. The Home Edition is the operating system with the fewest features and capabilities (with the exception of S mode). However, it also takes up just over 20GB of space. The difference is mainly that it is designed for students in the education industry and does not require all the tools required by a working professional, but requires more than the average home user. Windows 11 Enterprise offers more features than the professional edition. However, many of them need to be activated, which also requires Windows to download. Without it, with a basic Windows 11 Enterprise install, the footprint is up to 20.2GB, negligible more than the Home edition.

Apart from this edition, Microsoft also released Windows 11 S Mode. S Mode is optimized for security and performance, which limits the installation of apps, both third-party and Microsoft Store, significantly reducing install size. If you are worried about the storage space on your PC for Windows 11, you can reduce the system file size so that the installation takes up less space. If you want to remove bloatware (applications and programs that you don't plan to use) from your Windows 11 ISO file, you can do so using streamlining. We have covered the streamlining process in another post that you can use to remove Windows components from an ISO image using the MSMG Toolkit. Once the bloatware is removed, you can proceed to install Windows 11 using a new ISO image which will reduce the installation footprint. Another way to reduce the installation size for Windows 11 is when you install it. Users will see the Out of Box Experience (OOBE) screen when setting up the computer for the first time. It includes various screens where users can back up OneDrive, configure keyboard layouts, etc. At this point, if the user selects not to back up their OneDrive, it will reduce the size of the Windows 11 installation to exactly the size of your OneDrive. However, deselecting to install/configure other components will still install them, but will not be enabled.

Alternatively, you can also delete the Windows.old folder using the Settings app.

Therefore, they do not affect the size of the installation. Once you've installed Windows 11, it's still not too late to free up some space and make room for other apps and programs. If you have upgraded from an earlier version of Windows to Windows 11, your system will likely retain a Windows.old folder, taking up significant space in the boot volume. You can free up that space by deleting the folder. However, keep in mind that you will not be able to roll back to a previous OS version once the Windows.old folder is deleted. 1. To delete a folder, you must enable the hidden folder view in File Explorer. Launch Explorer, click the ellipse (3 dots) from the top, then click Options from the expanded menu. 2. From the Folder Options window, switch to the View tab. From there, select the Show hidden files, folders, and drives radio button, then uncheck the box next to Hide protected operating system files (Recommended). At this point, you will see a confirmation box, click Yes, then click Apply and Ok. 3. Now, navigate to the system volume (usually drive C) using File Explorer. From there, you will see the Windows.old folder. Right-click on it and then click Delete from the context menu to delete this folder. Alternatively, you can also delete the Windows.old folder using the Settings app. If you have a Windows.old folder, the application will recommend you for the Previous Windows installation(s).

2. Now scroll down and click on Advanced System Settings in the related link section.

Check the box next to it, then click Clean up. Hibernation mode in Windows puts the computer to sleep while preserving all your open data in a file called hiberfil.sys. These hidden files are stored on the boot drive, and disabling hibernation mode automatically deletes them. Disabling this feature will automatically create almost 16 GB of free disk space on our boot drive. You will now find that some disk space has been freed on the boot drive. The pagefile is another hidden system file whose purpose is to compensate for the lack of RAM. Sometimes, the data in your system memory takes refuge in the Pagefile, which is on your storage drive (volume C), which then takes up a lot of space. While we don't recommend disabling the Pagefile completely, as it is an important feature that contributes to the normal functionality of the operating system, it can still be done if needed. You can determine the optimal page file size and then use the guide below to set it or disable it completely. 2. Now scroll down and click on Advanced System Settings in the related link section. 3. In the System Properties window, switch to the Advanced tab and then click Settings under Performance.

4. In the Performance Options window, switch to the Advanced tab, and then click Change under Virtual memory. 5. In the Virtual Memory window, uncheck the box next to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives. Once done, you should now select Custom size and then enter the minimum and maximum values ​​for the Pagefile size. Alternatively, you can select the No paging file radio button to disable the feature completely. Click Set and Ok when done. 6. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Disk Cleanup is a built-in feature in Windows 11 that deletes all unnecessary data that the system no longer needs, automatically. 1. Open File Explorer, then right-click on the boot volume. Click Properties from the context menu. 2. From the Properties window, click Disk Cleanup. 3. From the Disk cleanup window, check all the boxes under Files for deletion, and then click Clean up system files. 4. In the next window, check all the file boxes under Files to delete them again, then click Ok. 5. You will now be asked to confirm. 6. The deletion process will now begin and should only take a few moments. Once done, close the Properties window. You will now be creating significant free space, reducing the footprint of Windows 11 itself.

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