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How to free up storage space on your Chromebook

Whether you’ve got a Chromebook with just 16GB of local storage or a device with 64GB. There will come a time when you need to free up extra space on your computer. So let’s take a look at how to free up some storage space on your Chromebook.

Running out of local storage space can be a real pain and a challenge. Especially if you had very little storage space to begin with. If you’ve got 16GB of storage you’ll regularly need to do the checks we’ll go through now on a regular basis.

The thing is, even if you’ve access to 64GB of storage. It’s still easy to run out of space because we tend to get more sloppy with managing our local storage when we’ve got more to play with.

Storage space will be more of an issue if your Chromebook is capable of Android Apps. This is because you need local storage space to install these apps in the first place.

WHAT USES UP YOUR CHROMEBOOK STORAGE

Before you can start to free up space on your Chromebook you need to know what uses up your storage. There are six main areas that take up your local storage space, which I’ve listed below.

  • My Files
  • Browsing data
  • Apps and extensions
  • Linux storage
  • Other users
  • System

So let’s take a look at these individually, so we can see what type of files are in each section. We’ll then take a look at what we can do to reduce or remove these files to free up your valuable local storage space on your Chromebook.

MY FILES

The ‘My Files’ section has the potential to take up a lot of your local storage space. This is where your downloads are saved by default. So it includes all the files that you download into the ‘downloads’ folder.

It will also include any other files you’ve downloaded into a folder other than the ‘downloads’ folder. Any files that have been used by Android Apps are also included in this section.

For example, if you’ve been using an Android App for image editing. Any files you’ve been working on with the app will also take up space in your ‘My Files’ section.

If your Chromebook supports Linux Apps. Again, any files you’ve created using a Linux App will be taking up space in your ‘My Files’ section of your local storage.

Although files you’ve used with Android and Linux apps are located in this section. It’s important not to confuse this with the actual apps, as these are located in separate sections, which we’ll get onto later.

BROWSING DATA

The amount of space used up by browsing data will vary hugely from person to person. It all depends on what you do when using the internet. Any files you download will not be in this section, as these would take up room in ‘My Files’.

The type of files that take up space in the ‘Browsing Data’ section are associated with different websites that you visit. It will also include cached files and cookies that have been stored along the way.

You’ll be surprised how quickly this section can take up your local storage space. It’s also usually the section where you can at least free up a little space without causing too many issues.

It includes browsing history, download history, cookies, cached images and files, sign in details for websites, data used when filling in online forms, site settings and app data used in the Chrome Browser.

APPS AND EXTENSIONS

This section is where all of your Android Apps are stored. If you’ve installed a lot of Android Apps you’ll notice that this may take up a lot of your local storage.

It’s not just Android Apps though. Any apps you use in your Chrome browser will also be installed in this section.

It does not include any files you’ve used with your Android Apps, as these are stored in your ‘My Files’ section.

LINUX STORAGE

This one speaks for itself. This is the storage that has been used by your Linux Apps. This has the potential to be very huge in size even if you’ve only installed a couple of Linux Apps on your Chromebook.

OTHER USERS

Is there more than one person using your Chromebook? If so you’ll see that local storage space is being used up because of this. Again, this has the potential to take up a lot of storage space.

Essentially, every user of the Chromebook will have their own downloads folder and access to Android and Linux Apps. This means all of their files will take up storage space just as your files do when using your computer on a daily basis.

The more users using the Chromebook, then the more likely this section will increase rapidly over time.

SYSTEM

This is where the system files are stored. This means files used by Chrome OS. Therefore, you’re unable to view these files or remove them. So you cannot do anything about reducing the file size under the ‘System’ section.

REDUCING THE MY FILES SECTION

It’s easy to reduce the amount of storage being used in the ‘My Files’ section. This is because a lot of the files in our downloads folder are not needed permanently. So it’s a good idea to regularly clean out the files you no longer use in this section.

If you do have files that you want to keep permanently. Then moving them to your Google Drive will help clear up your local storage on your Chromebook.

If you use a lot of Android Apps, which create further files, for example, image editing apps. You should also take a look at the files stored in your ‘Play Files’ inside the ‘My Files’ section. Delete any files you don’t need and move the others to your Google Drive.

Once you’ve done this you can stop your downloads folder taking up too much space in the future. You can do this by changing where your downloads are saved or by requesting your Chromebook to ask where to download each file. Watch this video on how to change your downloads location.

REMOVING BROWSING DATA FILES

If your Chromebook is taking up a lot of space in the ‘Browsing Data’ section. Then it’s time to do something about it.

It’s important to remember a lot of these files are not files you’ve requested to save. Instead, it’s websites you’ve visited who request certain files to be saved locally.

Websites do this so when you visit them in the future they are faster to load. So you’ll need to consider what is more important. A website you visit regularly loading faster or more space being available on your Chromebook.

If you delete cookies this may mean that any websites that automatically log you in on each visit. Will need you to enter your login details again when visiting the website. If you don’t want to do this, just ensure you do not remove ‘passwords and other sign-in details’.

To look at the files you can delete from the ‘Browsing Data’ section follow the steps below:

  1. Open your Chrome Browser
  2. type in the address bar chrome://settings
  3. Click Clear Browsing Data under Privacy and settings

You should see something similar to the image below.

How to clear browsing data on your chromebook

From here you can choose the type of files to delete and the time range. As you can see above it’s set to delete all sections apart from passwords and sign-in data from the last 24 hours. You can choose a longer time range such as the last seven days or last four weeks or even all time.

APPS EXTENSIONS AND LINUX

To reduce the amount of storage space being used up by these sections is all about removing extensions, Android and Linux Apps.

I’m almost certain you’ll find Android Apps that you no longer use. If this is the case it’s just a matter of removing these. Again, you can do the same with Chrome Browser extensions.

Linux Apps is a little trickier because just setting up your Chromebook to use Linux Apps takes up space. You just need to remember Linux Apps can take up a lot of your local storage space.

REMOVE USERS

If you have more than one user and you’re struggling for space. Then maybe it’s time to consider buying a separate laptop for each user. Having multiple users on your Chromebook can increase the amount of local storage being used very quickly.

If buying a separate laptop isn’t possible. Then you’ll need to make sure any other users also reduce the amount of local storage they use. There is no point in you following this guide if others do not.

Everyone using the Chromebook is responsible for ensuring they only use the amount of storage that is absolutely necessary.

CONCLUSION

I think we can all agree that local storage space on your Chromebook is more important than ever. It’s also really easy to run out of this storage space if you’re not regularly checking in on this.

However, providing you follow these checks on a regular basis. There is no reason why you should not be able to use your Chromebook without having to worry about running out of storage space.

Always save in the cloud where possible and try to keep that downloads folder as empty as possible. You can always add further storage to your Chromebook if your local storage is not enough for your needs.

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