Regardless of whether you're using a Windows 10 tablet that has a small storage drive to start, or if you've managed filled up your hard drive, a lack of free space doesn't mean you have to miss out on important updates that fix bugs or add new features. Here's how to get around a lack of space for installing updates with just a pair of USB flash drives.
Of course, if you've got a decent-sized storage drive, you could try cleaning up your hard drive or temporarily moving some of your larger files (photos, movies, etc) onto an external drive. But if that's just not an option, here's how to get around a lack of space for installing updates with just a pair of USB flash drives.
How to install Windows 10 updates on low storage devices
In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to install a new major update of Windows 10 on devices with low disk space.
Hardware you'll need
Before you can install Windows 10 on a device with low free storage space, you'll need a few things:
- A second PC to create a bootable drive.
- Two empty USB flash drives, each with at least 16GB in size.
Two free USB ports on your device.
How to create an installation drive for Windows 10 updates
For this process, you'll need a USB flash drive with the latest installation files of Windows 10, which you can create using the Media Creation Tool.
To create a bootable media, do the following:
- Connect one of your USB flash drives to a PC other than the one you're trying to upgrade.
- Head over to the Microsoft support website to download the Media Creation Tool.
- Click the Download tool now button.
- Double-click the MediaCreationTool.exe file to launch the utility.
- Select the Create installation media for another PC option.
Click Next to continue.
Select your language, edition, and architecture.
Quick Tip: If you're trying to update a small tablet with low storage, it's likely to be using a 32-bit architecture. You can quickly check the device architecture by going to Settings > Devices > About and double-checking the System type information.
- Select the USB flash drive option.
- Select your USB flash drive from the list.
- Click Finish to complete the task.
How to install a Windows 10 update from a flash drive
To install feature updates of Windows 10, do the following:
- If necessary for your device, connect the USB OTG cable and/or the USB hub.
- Connect both the USB flash drive with the Windows 10 installation files and the other empty USB flash drive.
- Double-click the Setup.exe file to launch the Windows 10 installation from the USB flash drive.
Select the Keep personal files and apps option to only update your system.
- If you get the "Windows needs more space" option, click the Choose another drive or attach an external drive with 10GB available link.
- Select your empty USB flash drive to serve as temporary storage.
Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process as necessary.
Note: Some devices may only have a single Micro-USB port that is used for both charging and data transfer, which can make the battery-draining update process somewhat tricky when you also need that port to connect your USB drives. Your device will reboot during the installation process, after the first reboot you will no longer need either flash drive or the USB hub to finish, so you can unplug those and connect your power cable. Of course, if your PC has a dedicated power port, you can just leave everything (power included) plugged in throughout the whole process.
After the installation completes and after a few black screens and reboots, you'll be back to your desktop once again. Because this is technically an upgrade, you won't need to go through the out-of-box experience to finish setting up Windows 10.
Do you have a Windows 10 device with low storage capacity that still didn't get the latest major update? Did this process worked for you? Tell us in the comments below.
More Windows 10 resources
For more help articles, coverage, and answers on Windows 10, you can visit the following resources:
- Windows 10 on Windows Central – All you need to know
- Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks
- Windows 10 forums on Windows Central
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