How to Get More Storage on a Laptop: A Complete List of Useful Tips

storage on a laptop

Roughly 75% of America owns a laptop or a desktop. While we’re seeing those numbers drop as more people opt to leverage their mobile phones and tablets for traditional computing tasks, it’s undeniable that formal personal computers are popular.

Looking at laptops specifically, it’s hard not to love the fact that manufacturers can make those machines insanely powerful despite their small, portable stature.

Unfortunately though, as laptops become increasingly powerful, more hardware needs to be crammed into their tight shells which have trade-offs.

One of those trade-offs is less data storage space.

Curious to know how to get more storage on a laptop that you own? If you are, keep reading.

Below, we explore some data expansion solutions.

1. Pick up a Thumb Drive

We’ll open our suggestions for how to get more storage on a laptop with a simple tip. If you need to expand your laptop’s storage fast, run out to your local big-box store and buy a thumb drive.

Thumb drives are small, USB devices that fit on a key chain and plug into your computer’s side. Despite their small stature, these drives can pack a punch when it comes to data storage with some drives providing up to 256gb of additional space.

For best results, consider getting a USB 3.0 thumb drive (assuming your computer has 3.0 ports). 3.0 drives will transfer data much faster than legacy, 2.0 drives.

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2. Go for an SD Card

You photographers out there may have storage expansion solutions laying all across your home in the way of SD cards. SD cards are the mini, floppy-disk like objects that you slide into a camera in order to take high-end pictures.

If you have spare SD cards lying around, you can plug them directly into your computer (or into your computer through an adapter), format your card and use it as a storage expansion solution.

SD cards that plug directly into your computer should read and write data quickly to your machine. That’ll make for a seamless experience when accessing files from your card.

SD cards that need to run through a USB adapter will likely perform much more slowly.

3. Add in a Second Hard Drive

This is a great solution for desktop owners. When you find yourself running out of hard drive space, just pick up another HDD or SSD and hook it into your motherboard.

With laptops, this isn’t always a possibility.

Most laptops will only have room in their encasements for a single drive. If you have a special case that allows for an additional internal drive, take advantage of that.

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4. Upgrade the Hard Drive You Have

A more viable data expansion solution for laptops is to forgo getting a second internal drive and to instead get rid of your existing one in favor of a drive that has more space. You might also want to do this if your internal drive is an HDD as SSDs run more efficiently.

If you swap out your internal hard drive, you now have a leftover drive that can be put into a USB case and used as a massive thumb drive to further expand your storage possibilities.

5. Clean up Your Junk Data

An obvious laptop storage increase solution that a lot of people don’t bother with is cleaning up the files on their machine.

Do you have old pictures you couldn’t care less about? What about tons of movies you never watch?

All of that data could be taking up hundreds of gigabytes on your machine that you can free up at the click of a button.

There is also hidden junk data you can clean up that lurks in internet browsers and temp folders. Using tools like CCleaner can help you find and remove that stuff.

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6. Compress Files

If you don’t want to get rid of your movies, photos, etc. but don’t anticipate accessing that data regularly, you might want to compress those files so they take up less space on your machine.

When you compress files, certain aspects of its data are removed which saves your computer space. When you decompress your files later, that removed data can be replaced by your compression software.

Most computers have built-in “zip” tools that will help you compress your data. WinRar is a popular third-party compression solution.

7. Move Your Files to the Cloud

In the 21st century, most people’s data storage preferences aren’t thumb drives or hard drives but “the cloud”.

Storing items in the cloud is a fancy term that describes backing up your data to someone else’s hard drive, over the internet. In exchange for letting you park your data on their drive, companies will charge you a monthly fee.

You can learn how to access iCloud from your Mac at this link. If you have a Windows machine, you might want to explore OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox as cloud storage solutions.

You Now Know How to Get More Storage on a Laptop

Laptops are great but as we mentioned, limited space can make them impractical for certain types of users. With the help of our how to get more storage on a laptop tricks though, you can enjoy all of the storage space you might expect with a desktop without sacrificing the awesome portability that comes with laptop ownership.

If that sounds good to you, try some of the data solutions we’ve presented today!

You’re also welcome to browse more of the content on technology we have available in our blog.

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