How to install Windows 10 on devices with limited disk space

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
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Upgrading to a new operating system isn’t always easy. For example, you might encounter some issues about hardware requirements.

One common question that many users have is how to install Windows 10 on devices with low free disk space or small hard drive. Worry not, we’re going to explain you how to do it.

Can I install Windows 10 on low disk space computers?

windows 10 upgrade low disk space computer

According to Microsoft, Windows 10 can be installed on devices with little hard drive space, so if you have device with only 32GB or less hard drive space you can still upgrade to Windows 10.

Free up disk space before installing Windows 10

When you start upgrading to Windows 10 setup will perform a compatibility check to see if you have enough hard drive space. If you don’t have enough hard drive space, the setup will inform you how much space do you need.

In most cases Windows 10 takes about 10 GB of your hard drive, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some more for additional files and software.

If you don’t have enough space the easiest way to free up some space is to perform a Disk Cleanup or to manually delete large files. Make sure that you leave some extra space available because you’ll need it for updates and additional software.

During the installation you can use external hard drive or USB stick, but before you do that you need to make sure that your external device is formated in NTFS so you can avoid any FAT32 errors due to file size limitations.

Use an SD card

In addition, you can use an SD card as well, but be vary because SD cards drivers are not migrated if the device doesn’t support Connected Standby. You don’t have to use external hard drive or USB for installation. But if you don’t use it, you’ll see that on your hard drive there’s a previous version of Windows available.

Don’t worry, this version will be automatically deleted after 30 days, or you can delete it manually right now if you want. If you decide to use USB stick or external hard drive during Windows 10 installation, your previous version of Windows will be moved to that external device.

As you can see you don’t need that much space in order to install Windows 10, but if you want to save maximum space, you might want to use external storage to store your previous version of Windows.

Alright, so now that you have all the information you need to upgrade your low disk space device to Windows 10, let’s quickly sum up the steps to follow.

Steps to install Windows 10 on a low disk space computer

  1. Check your hard disk space. Make sure the you have at least 10 GB of free space.
  2. If you don’t have enough disk space, use disk cleanup to delete unnecessary files or transfer your files to a USB flash drive.
  3. Once you’ve got at least 10 GB of free space, your Windows 10 install will begin.
  4. Wait patiently and follow the on-screen instructions.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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