Saturday , November 25 2017

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Leaves Up to 30GB in Installation Files

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Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update (FCU) dropped earlier this week, to generally positive reviews. The new OS version isn’t a radical change from the previous Creators Update, but it does introduce some new features and improvements to Edge, OneDrive, GPU monitoring, battery meters, and more. One potential niggle, however, is that the OS apparently has a bloated footprint, and leaves up to 30GB of data behind it when finished, BetaNews reports.

We recommend taking this with a grain of salt, since the OS footprint can vary depending on how new your OS installation is and whether you’ve previously updated it or installed fresh. This can leave the aforementioned 30GB of files on your system, in at least some cases, which would be particularly impressive in my case considering my current Windows folder is 30GB. Google suggests this is roughly average, with a 20GB estimated footprint for Windows 10 64-bit and a range of 20GB to 35GB depending on the system. Since I’m actually using an OS image that was originally laid down as a Windows 7 install back in 2011, 30GB doesn’t seem unreasonable.

The conventional way for dealing with this problem is to either hit Start and type “Disk Cleanup” or to open File Explorer, right-click on the hard drive you wish to cleanup, and choose “Properties.” A variety of menu options will then be available, but the one you want, “Disk Cleanup” is shown in the default General tab. Click this tab, then the “Clean up System Files” option, and you’ll be able to select from the full range of system and non-system files (memory dumps, recycling bin, etc).

BetaNews helpfully details that there are now more options available than simply using the old Windows 7 disk cleanup menu. You can also navigate to System, Storage, and then the “Change how we free up space” option. This offers the option to run a disk cleaner automatically when you’re low on storage space, and to set specific rules for deleting temporary files, recycling bin, downloads directory (be very careful with that option), and to delete previous editions of Windows.

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Image by BetaNews

This is part of a longer-term push that we really haven’t covered much, but is worth remarking on. Microsoft has been reinventing the Control Panel in various ways almost since its inception, but Windows 8’s effort was a half-baked push. Microsoft’s “solution” in Windows 8 was to make some Control Panel features available in Windows 8 Metro, some available in the Windows 8 Control Panel, and to offer limited control or interfacing between the two. While I don’t want to say the company never updated its Settings app in Windows 8, there were functions that could only be controlled from the desktop Control Panel right up to the launch of Windows 10.

Since the first iteration of Windows 10, we’ve seen a slow progression of features that were previously limited to the Control Panel making their way over to the new Settings panel. The new storage pane is actually a sensible update that reflects Microsoft’s new UI design. It still doesn’t duplicate the precise functionality of the original Disk Cleanup, but there’s also no sign that Microsoft plans to remove classic Control Panel capabilities.

And this, too, makes sense. One of the reasons that Microsoft Windows has historically been argued to be less user-friendly than macOS is because Windows offered more granular options that were harder to sort through or more intimidating, compared with Apple’s emphasis on simplicity (although you can still get into the weeds in macOS via the command line in Terminal). There are valid arguments to both approaches and as a power user, I tend to favor complexity because I know how to make use of it. But there’s nothing wrong with offering users a simpler default and retaining the complex option when it’s useful or applicable, and Microsoft seems to be working towards a better blend of the two styles than it ever offered with Windows 8 and 8.1.

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