How much data/space do I have?

There are two ways to check storage space (or amount of data) on your computer. You may want to check just specific files or folders to see how much space they take up. Or, you may want to get an overall estimate for your entire computer.

On most any devices, you can:

  • Find a "Storage" option under "Settings" or "About"
  • Select your desired files/folders, right-click on them, and select "Properties" or "File Info"

A certain amount of your storage space will be taken up by the computer's necessary files (for example, Windows itself).

For more detailed steps for your operating system, see below.

For Mac instructions, please see Apple's  official article.

What's MB and GB?

Data is measured in "Bytes" -- most commonly a kilobyte (KB), a megabyte (MB), a gigabyte (GB), and a terabyte (TB). These are different levels of measurement, just like "inches and feet" or "centimeters and meters". The average individual files you might use for work (like Microsoft Office files) are usually only a few megabytes, or kilobytes. Media files like photos will be larger, and videos especially may even reach GB levels. The quality and literal size of these files can affect how much space they take up; a 30-minute long 4K video will take up much more than a short clip recorded on a cheap webcam. The photos you take on your phone today will use much more space than photos taken on a phone years ago.

Windows (Dell)

For The Whole Computer:

  1. Open your System Settings. You can quickly open this menu by entering "Storage Settings" in the search bar on the bottom left of your screen.
  2. It will take a moment to load and analyze your computer.
  3. A series of bars should appear with different categories, such as "Apps & Features" and "Pictures"
  4. Click on "Show more categories" to view categories that have less data.

Do not reference the overall numbers listed for "OS (C:)" or the amount "used" in the top bar graph. This will include the data used up by Windows itself, and other files that you would not be backing up. If requested by a technician, give the sum total of the categories for the kinds of files you use, such as Pictures, Desktop, Videos, etc.

A screenshot of the Storage tab in the Windows 10 System Settings

For Specific Files and Folders:

  1. Open up your Windows File Explorer. If you do not have a shortcut icon, you can search for "File Explorer" in the search bar on the bottom left of your screen.
  2. Find the files and/or folders you want the size for. 
  3. If you only want one, simply click on it once. If you want multiple, be sure to select all of them at once. You may use Shift+Click, or click and drag the mouse to highlight them.
  4. Right-click on your selection and choose "Properties" in the menu.
  5. A new window should appear. "Size" will be listed near in the top-middle of the window.
    (Note that Size and Size on Disk should be similar enough for estimation purposes)

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