How to Stop Windows 10 from Reserving 7GB or More for Windows Updates (Microsoft Doesn’t Recommend Doing So)

disable Windows 10 Reserved Storage
Original Shot: Adam Patrick Murray / IDG

One of the most talked-about changes that arrived with Windows 10 May 2019 Update, version 1903, was the Reserved Storage feature. Microsoft has started to allocate some storage space specifically for Windows updates, apps, and system use. While this was initially followed by some user outcry, since then Apple has also introduced a similar feature with the release of its latest macOS Catalina.

This is done not only for easy installation of the operating system updates but also, as Apple said, to avoid that "nothing can accidentally overwrite critical operating system files." In both cases, between 7GB+ is being reserved for the purpose.

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Coming back to Windows 10, if you don't want Microsoft to reserve storage, you do have the ability to turn it off. Here is how to do that.

Confirm if you actually have Reserved Storage enabled

As mentioned earlier, Reserved Storage isn't enabled on every Windows 10 machine. If you have bought a new device with Windows 10 May 2019 Update preinstalled, it will have the Reserved Storage turned on. Similarly, if you clean installed version 1903, you will have it enabled. However, if you updated to May 2019 Update from an earlier version of the OS through the Windows Update process, Reserved Storage won't be enabled.

To check if you do have Reserved Storage enabled:

  • Head over to Settings. windows settings
  • Click on System and then click on Storage. windows 10 storage settings
  • Click on Show More Categories under the list of items.
  • Over here, you will see a System & Reserved section.
  • Click on that to get to Reserved Storage, which will show you exactly how much data has been reserved by the OS. [You won't see reserved storage option if it hasn't been enabled.]windows 10 reserved storage

Once you have made sure you actually have storage space reserved, you can go through the following steps to disable Windows 10 Reserved Storage. Do note that Microsoft advises against doing so. The company had said that the goal of this is to "improve the day-to-day function of your PC by ensuring critical OS functions always have access to disk space." The Windows maker added:

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.

Here is how to disable Windows 10 Reserved Storage (Windows 10 May 2019 Update and newer versions)

Step 1: Type "regedit" in Search to open the Registry Editor. Click on YES to confirm.

Step 2: Either navigate through the left panel or copy paste the following key in the Editor's address bar:

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Step 3: Look for ShippedWithReserves.

Step 4: Double click on it and set its Value Data from 1 to 0 and click OK.

Step 4: Exit the Registry Editor and restart your machine.

It should be noted that in some cases, the reserved storage will be only be deleted after a new update has been installed. But this doesn't have to be a feature update as the monthly cumulative update also does the job of cleaning it up. Microsoft might introduce changes in the future to make this process even more difficult but right now these few steps are enough to disable Windows 10 Reserved Storage.

- Relevant: how to upgrade Windows 7 to W10 the legit, official way for absolutely free

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