I have an amount of devices that have a small hard disk (120 Gb or smaller), and finally the disk is running out when saving all the pictures, installing applications etc. Is there anything with Windows 10 that can help me minimize the footprint of the operating system?

Yes, there have been a lot of work to minimize the footprint of Windows, both for the desktop and mobile

  • It will compress certain system files and store apps, with an algorithm that is optimized for your hardware
  • Microsoft uses more junctions instead of saving the file multiple times
  • Optimizing recovery scenario to remove the need of a separate recovery image
  • The servicing process have been changes

As many other features you may think this is depended on UEFI, but it is not. You will benefit these optimizations for both UEFI and BIOS.

Example savings on 64-bit Windows 10

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Switches for deployment

When you do a in-place upgrade the compress OS part will be done automatically to save you disk space.

During deployment add a switch to compress operating system files, Windows will choose the right files for you.

Setup.exe /CompactOS enable

If you are using DISM

DISM.exe /Apply-Image /ImageFile:windows10image.wim /Index:1 /ApplyDir:D:\ /compact

 

How to verify is has been enabled?

Open an elevated prompt and type

Compact /CompactOs:Query

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System Restore

Also to save space in an enterprise environment I highly recommend to disable System Restore

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\System Restore

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As always some resources if you want to dig into the details

https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2015/03/16/how-windows-10-achieves-its-compact-footprint/

Compact OS, single-instancing, and image optimization

Windows Setup Command-Line Options

What have been done in previous versions of Windows?

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2014/03/06/what-s-new-in-windows-servicing-part-1.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2014/03/27/what-s-new-in-windows-servicing-reduction-of-windows-footprint-part-2.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2014/04/21/what-s-new-in-windows-servicing-service-stack-improvements-part-3.aspx

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