How to fix error code 0x80070070 when upgrading to Windows 11

The Windows 11 ISO file is 4.5GB in size. This isn’t very large for a desktop OS but during installation, or if you’re upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11, the files in the ISO expand and when they do, they take up much more space than 4.5GB. Free disk space is essential when you install any OS and Windows 11 is not exception.

Error code 0x80070070 upgrading to Windows 11

If you’re upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10, and the upgrade process is interrupted by the error code 0x80070070, it means you have a storage space issue. Specifically, you’re low on disk space on your Windows drive. You need to first free up space on the drive, and then upgrade the OS. 

Ideally, you should have 20GB of free space on the Windows drive to prevent problems during an upgrade.

How to free up space to install Windows 11

If you want to free up space on Windows 10 so that you can upgrade to Windows 11, there are a few easy ways to do so. 

1. Empty Downloads and Recycle Bin

The Recycle Bin stores files indefinitely. It will not automatically remove them after a certain period of time. As long a files are in the Recycle Bin, they will continue to take up space on your drive. They do not leave your system until you remove them from the Recycle Bin.

Right-click the Recycle Bin.
Select Empty Recycle Bin from the context menu.
Wait for the files to be deleted.

You should also audit the Downloads folder. You will have to do this manually. Delete anything you no longer need. Move the items you do need to a different drive.

2. Remove Temporary files

Temporary files can end up taking several GBs of space on your drive. These files are often residual files left after previous updates have been installed. 

Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
Go to System.
Select Storage.
Click Temporary files.
Click Remove Files.

3. Uninstall unused apps

If you have apps installed on your system that you do not use, remove them. They may seem like small apps that take little space, but if you have a large number of them, you can end up wasting a lot of space.

Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
Go to Apps.
Select the Apps & Features tab.
Sort the apps by size.
Go through the list to see which apps you do not use.
Select an app.
Click Uninstall.
Repeat for all apps that you do not use.

4. Clean Documents and Pictures library

If you’re still pressed for space, consider moving files from the Documents and Pictures library to an external drive or a different internal drive. If you have a large music collection, and it’s stored on your Windows drive, move it to a different drive as well. You can move it back once you’ve successfully updated to Windows 11.

Conclusion 

Microsoft doesn’t tell you how much free space you should have on your drive before you install a major feature update for Windows 10 or how much free disk space you should have before you attempt to upgrade to Windows 11. That said, the 20GB is a safe value. You can always have more free space and it won’t hurt you but try to have at least this much. On that note, if you’ve managed to free up a few GBs of space but you cannot quite make it to 20GB, you can attempt the upgrade again and it may work.