Windows 11 is filling your hard drive with unwanted apps – so why not switch to Linux?

Sad business man and laptop
(Image credit: Ollyy / Shutterstock)

Windows 11 comes with a host of default apps that are pre-installed, and a new report suggests they take up a significant amount of hard drive space.

Microsoft has been coy about how much space these apps take up, and until now, figuring it out has been difficult as they are are installed across various locations. However, as the Out of Office Hours website reports, there’s a PowerShell script that can give us a good idea of just how much storage space these apps actually use, and the news isn’t great.

According to Out of Office Hours, the preinstalled apps take up around 1.6GB of storage space. That’s quite a bit, especially if you have a smaller hard drive of around 128GB or so, and if you rarely – or never – use those apps, you may be rather annoyed to see that space going to waste.

Even worse, many of these apps can’t be easily uninstalled, which means you’re left with them clogging up your hard drive.

Analysis: Whose PC is it anyway?

While it may seem a bit churlish to complain about 1.6GB – especially when hard drives often offer capacities over 1TB – it’s not an insubstantial amount of space, and the fact that Microsoft makes it difficult to uninstall these apps highlights an issue many people have been increasingly having with Windows operating systems.

If you buy – or build – a PC, you’d expect to own it, and have full control over what’s installed and what apps you’re going to use. However, if you install Windows 10 or Windows 11, you seem to be giving up some of that control, with Microsoft dictating what you can and can’t install or remove on your PC.

One obvious alternative to this is to use an open-source operating system, such as Linux, which gives you much greater control over your PC. While there’s a learning curve to switching to Linux, there are user-friendly distros that can help, and as we’ve seen with the Steam Deck and Steam OS, you don't have to stick with Windows if you want to play your PC games.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.