Reserved Storage Hero

Starting with the May 2019 Update, Windows 10 will reserve about 7 GB of your device’s storage for updates and optional files. This will ensure easy installation of updates in the future—but you can recover that space if you want.

What is Reserved Storage?

Windows requires a certain amount of free disk space to update. Updates will fail to install if your PC doesn’t have enough free space. With the recent May 2019 Update, Microsoft aims to fix this problem by reserving disk space for future updates.

Before, if you had insufficient free disk space on your PC, Windows would fail to install updates properly. The only workaround is to free up some storage space before continuing.

With “reserved storage,” Microsoft makes Windows 10 set aside at least 7 gigabytes of space on your hard drive to ensure updates can download—regardless of how much disk space you have.

When not being used by update files, Reserved Storage will be used for apps, temporary files, and system caches, improving the day-to-day function of your PC.

In other words, reserved storage doesn’t mean that Windows is using a full extra 7 GB of storage—it’s likely storing some temporary files there that it would normally be stored elsewhere on your system drive.

RELATED: Windows 10 Will Soon “Reserve” 7 GB of Your Storage for Updates

How to Check If Your PC Has Reserved Storage

Before you go any further, you should make sure that your system is using Reserved Storage. If it doesn’t, then there’s no need to go on, because Windows isn’t reserving any additional storage on your device. You can check whether or not the system is using extra storage—and how much—through the Settings app.

This feature will be enabled automatically on new PCs with Windows 10 version 1903 (that’s the May 2019 Update) pre-installed, along with clean installs of Windows 10 version 1903. If you’re updating from a previous version of Windows 10, Reserved Storage will not be enabled.

To check whether Windows is using Reserved Storage, head to Settings > System > Storage. (You can quickly open the Settings app by pressing Windows+i on your keyboard.) Click “Show More Categories” under the list of items taking up space.

Under your main drive, click Show More Categories

Click on “System & Reserved.”

Click System & Reserved

If enabled on your PC, you will see the “Reserved Storage” section with 7+ GB of storage space in use. If you don’t see “Reserved Storage” here, your system doesn’t have the “Storage Reserve” feature enabled.

Example of Reserved Storage space

Should You Disable Reserved Storage?

You can free a bit of reserved storage space by uninstalling optional features (Settings > Apps & Features > Manage Optional Features) and language packs (Settings > Time & Language > Language.)

However, if you want to free up the maximum amount of space, you’ll need to disable the reserved storage functionality altogether. Microsoft recommends against this, explaining:

Our goal is to improve the day-to-day function of your PC by ensuring critical OS functions always have access to disk space. Without reserved storage, if a user almost fills up her or his storage, several Windows and application scenarios become unreliable. Windows and application scenarios may not work as expected if they need free space to function. With reserved storage, updates, apps, temporary files, and caches are less likely to take away from valuable free space and should continue to operate as expected.

But, if you need the space, feel free to continue and disable reserved storage. After all, most Windows 10 PCs in the real world still have this disabled and are working fine.

How to Disable Reserved Storage

Before you continue, know this: Your change won’t take effect immediately. We tested this, and the reserved storage won’t be deleted from your system until after the next time Windows installs an update. Thankfully, a simple cumulative update—the kind Microsoft releases every month—resulted in the reserved storage being removed after we made the below change. (This may change in the future—Microsoft clearly doesn’t want people removing this.)

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way let’s look at how to disable Reserved Storage using the Registry Editor.

Standard Warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack, and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

Open the Registry Editor by hitting Start and typing “ regedit .” Press Enter to open the Registry Editor and then permit it to make changes to your PC.

Open Registry Editor App

In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key. You can also copy and paste it into the Registry Editor’s address bar.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ReserveManager

Once here, locate ShippedWithReserves and double-click on it.

Locate ShippedWithReserves and double-click on it

Change the number under “Value Data” from a 1 to 0, then click “OK.”

Set the Value Data to 0, then click OK

That’s it. Close Registry Editor, then reboot Windows to apply the changes.

Your change is now made, but you may have to wait a few weeks before Windows installs an update and deletes the reserved storage.

RELATED: Everything New in Windows 10’s May 2019 Update, Available Now

Download Our One-click Registry Hack

Disable Reserved Storage Registry files

If you don’t feel comfortable diving into Registry Editor yourself, we’ve created a registry hack you can use instead. Just download and extract the following Zip file:

Disable Reserved StorageRegistry Hack

Inside you’ll find a REG file for disabling the Windows forced reserved storage, along with a second file to re-enable it. Once extracted, double-click the file you want and accept the prompts asking whether you’re sure you want to make changes to your Registry.

This hack changes the value of ShippedWithReserves to 0, just like we talked about in the previous section. The other hack included re-enabled reserved storage by changing the “Value Data” back to 1, reverting it to how it was before. If you enjoy fiddling with the Registry, it’s worth taking the time to learn how to make your own Registry hacks.

RELATED: How to Make Your Own Windows Registry Hacks

Brady Gavin Brady Gavin
Brady Gavin has been immersed in technology for 15 years and has written over 150 detailed tutorials and explainers. He's covered everything from Windows 10 registry hacks to Chrome browser tips. Brady has a diploma in Computer Science from Camosun College in Victoria, BC.  
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Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6 and Chicago's WGN-TV, and his work has been covered by news outlets like The New York Times and the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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