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How To Enable & Disable Storage Sense in Windows 11

One of the most common issues faced by many Windows users is that their C drive fills up pretty quickly. Especially on systems with smaller hard drives. Some of the main reasons for this are a lot of files in the Downloads folder, recycle bin files, system cache, restore points, and more. To make sure your storage doesn’t run out of space, you have to actively manage the Windows storage using the Disk Cleanup tool. However, with Storage Sense, you no longer have to do that. Once you enable Storage Sense, it runs periodically to automatically delete several temporary and unnecessary files to free up disk space.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to enable Storage Sense, configure it, and use it to better manage your system storage. Of course, I will also show you how to disable Storage Sense so that you can turn it off when you don’t need it. Let’s get started.

How to Enable Storage Sense on Windows 11

Storage Sense can be turned on using the Windows Settings app. Here’s how:

  1. Open Windows Settings by pressing the Windows key + I shortcut.
  2. Select System on the sidebar.
  3. Click on the Storage option on the right panel.
  4. Turn on the Storage Sense toggle.

This action instantly enables Storage Sense with its default configuration. From now on, it will run in the background to periodically delete temporary files and clear the recycle bin. To customize the behavior of Storage Sense, follow the steps in the next section.

turn on storage sense in Windows 11

How to Configure Storage Sense in Windows 11

Out of the box, Storage Sense is configured optimally for a wide range of users. However, if you want to customize when Storage Sense runs and what it deletes, you can also configure it manually. Here’s how.

First, open the Settings window by pressing the ‘Windows key + I’ shortcut.

In the Settings window, go to System > Storage and click on the Storage Sense option.

Cleanup of Temporary Files

To allow Storage Sense to delete temporary files automatically select the Cleanup of temporary files checkbox. If you don’t want that, uncheck it.

Schedule Storage Sense

By default, Storage Sense cleanup only runs when the disk space is low. If you want it running on a regular schedule, choose one of the following options from the Run Storage Sense dropdown menu. For example, if you select ‘Every Month,’ Storage Sense will clear up files once every month regardless of whether you are low on disk space.

  • Every Day
  • Every Week
  • Every Month

Recycle Bin Cleanup Settings

When deleting recycle bin files, by default, Storage Sense will only delete files that are older than 30 days. This gives you a chance to recover files if you delete them accidentally. For example, if you delete a file yesterday and Storage Sense runs today as scheduled, Storage Sense will not delete that file from the recycle bin as part of the cleanup process as it has not yet been 30 days since you deleted the file.

If you don’t want Storage Sense to delete files from the recycle bin, select Never from the Delete files in my recycle bin if they have been there for over dropdown menu.

Downloads Folder Cleanup Settings

You can also choose how Storage Sense deals with the Downloads folder. By default, it’s set to Never, so nothing gets deleted unless you change this setting. If you choose a different time frame, such as 30 days, any file not opened within that period can be automatically removed to free up space.

If you download a lot of files and forget to delete them, select 30 Days or 60 Days from the ‘Delete files in my Downloads folder if they haven’t been opened for more than dropdown menu.

Cloud Content Cleanup Settings

OneDrive users can configure Storage Sense to automatically flag synced files as online-only if they are not opened in a specified amount of time,30 days by default. This means, those files won’t be stored on your device anymore, freeing up disk space.

You can change the time frame by selecting the number of days from the ‘Content will become online-only if not opened for more than‘ dropdown menu. For example, if you select ’60 days,’ any file that’s not opened for the last 60 days in the OneDrive folder will be flagged as online-only, and the local copy on your PC will be removed.


  • While Storage Sense removes the local copy and flags it as Online-Only, the file is not deleted from your OneDrive cloud account. You can still open it. It’s just that OneDrive will have to download it again.
  • Files flagged as “Always keep on this device” will not be affected by this setting.
configure storage sense in Windows 11

How to Run Storage Sense on Demand in Windows 11

Along with scheduling Storage Sense, you can run it on demand. This helps you delete temporary files whenever you want. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the System > Storage page.
  3. Click on the Storage Sense option.
  4. Scroll down and click the Run Storage Sense Now button.

As soon as you click the button, Storage Sense will run immediately and delete files according to the configuration. Once done, it shows how much space it freed up under the button.

run storage sense on demand in Windows 11

How to Disable Storage Sense in Windows 11

The settings app lets you disable or turn off Storage Sense with a single click. Here is how.

  1. Open Windows Settings by pressing the Windows key + I shortcut.
  2. Select System on the sidebar.
  3. Click on the Storage option on the right panel.
  4. Turn off the Storage Sense toggle.
turn off storage sense in Windows 11

As soon as you do that, Storage Sense is disabled and it will not run automatically. However, you can still run it manually by opening the Storage Sense settings page (see the run-on-demand section above).

Wrapping Up – Managing Storage with Storage Sense

Storage Sense is one of the most useful features of Windows 11 as it makes managing the storage space easy by automatically deleting unnecessary and temporary files. After enabling Storage Sense, you can leave it alone and it works in the background to make sure you don’t see the low disk space warning. However, advanced users can configure Storage Sense to tweak when it deletes the temporary files.

If you have any questions, comment below and I will answer.

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