My HP Stream with 32 gig eMMC storage is full and I can't update it. What can I do?
I had earlier posted a journal of my experiences with a Lenovo laptop having a 32 gig eMMC and attempts to update it from Windows 10 Build 1709 to 1803, where so many users were running into limited storage issues. Here is that post reproduced with some minor edits:
We have had a lot of posts on here for months now from Users who purchased HP Stream and similar laptops with 32 gig eMMC storage disks and Windows 10. They are sometimes called Cloudbooks. I just had a user tell me he had contacted HP Support, Microsoft support and multiple local computer technicians all of whom told him the computer is useless and cannot be made to work. I cannot accept that. I decided to go out and see if I could locate one of these things for cheap and try it myself and see what happens. I went to our local Best Buy. They had no Stream or any other HP laptop with a 32 gig eMMC. They did have a Lenovo 10 inch laptop very similar to a Stream that had been discounted down to $130. When I asked the sales person about it she first tried to talk me out of buying it but when she heard what I intended to do with it she confided in me that Best Buy has told its floor people to talk customers out of these machines as they are also getting a lot of heat from them. She flat told me "you will not be able to upgrade it and it will very quickly become unuseable".
Out of the box the hard drive had 10 gigs of data on it. I then proceeded to do all the Windows updates and when I got to
updating to Build 1803 got this:
So I backed up the desktop background and the original drivers to a thumb drive and went to the Microsoft Media Creation tool site and downloaded an .iso of Build 1803. Using an usb DVD drive I installed fresh Windows 10 wiping all the preexisting partitions and letting the installer make all new ones.
Immediately after install the drive held about 15 gigs of data. I then used the "Compact OS' command to compress the drive. You open an elevated command prompt and type:
Takes a few minutes, reboot and you are down to 10 gigs used out of 28 or so.
I then turned off hibernation and set the swap file to be a constant 1 gig rather than the default 2 gigs the system was using and turned off system restore services.
setting swap file to constant 1 gig
Because of the weak processor and 2 gigs memory on this model I also set visual effects to "best performance". This model had a free one year Office 365 license so I had saved off the Key Code and installed fresh from the Office 365 website using the Key Code. Lastly I installed CCleaner, Malwarebytes and Avast Free.
When all is said and done I had the latest Windows 10 version plus Office 365 plus security apps running in about 12.9 gigs of space.
I then turned off automatic Windows 10 and Office 365 updates. The laptop is actually fairly useable and now there is enough available space to store some documents and pictures. I plan to add a 16 gig micro SD card and move the Music, Downloads, Documents, etc. folder to it to make sure future use does not fill up the hard drive.
For those users who are threatening to abandon HP because their sub-$200 laptop is not working as they say they were told it would I offer this option. I actually have seen people saying they bought one of these to run a business or use for college.
So much for the Lenovo Cloudbook. I donated it to charity and flash forward about a year I wanted to revisit and see how the situation has evolved. These Cloudbooks continue to be offered and we continue to get reports of mass dissasatisfaction with the product. So this time I did find an HP Stream 14 inch model in shocking neon purple color:
And a couple more pictures of the machine and identification decal on the bottom:
This laptop came with Windows 10 64 bit in S mode Build 1803. So it was already at the level we struggled to get to on the Lenovo.
As with the Lenovo, this model came with a year subscription to Office 365 for free (a very good deal for a $200 +/- laptop) which I installed and activated in addition to Avast Free, CCleaner, and Malwarebytes as well as Adobe Reader. Windows 10 gave me the option to turn off "S" mode and allow installation of apps from sources other than the Microsoft Store, and I gladly accepted so no longer in S mode.
Then I simply went to the Microsoft Media Creation Tool site (google it that way and you will find it) and downloaded Build 1809 aka October 2018 Update, selecting upgrade now:
The Update went through but left the purple Cloudbook with very little storage: it would be basically useless at this point:
I checked whether it would be possible at this point to compress the OS as I did above with the Lenovo but HP ships these with the OS already compressed:
So I simply used the Disk Cleanup with the Clean Up System files option to remove the old Windows files:
Make sure to select the options to clean up files from the prior version of the OS.
You can also manually check to see if the update storage file is empty:
Windows 10 stores its upgrade files in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
Thanks to @erico for that tip.
You can also set the paging file at a static amount. By default the paging files was set to use up to 2 gigs. I chose 768 megs (freeing up 1.2 gigs permanently) as this laptop has 4 gigs of RAM (most Cloudbooks have 2) and does not need quite as much paging:
And as I did on the Lenovo I set the Windows effects to best performance as these units tend to have budget processors and struggle to handle any kind of multitasking so do not need to be bogged down with Windows visual effects:
When all is said and done there are 11+ gigs of free space after updating to 1809, installing Office 365 and some common utility apps:
11.1 gigs free is enough to make the computer useable. I would also suggest installing an SD card and moving the documents, photos, downloads, etc. over to it.
So with the above we have two different ways of approaching the issue. You can wipe and reload to the Build you want to have or use Windows 10 built in management tools to free up disk space. Its also going to take some file organization and moving of Library files to a separate storage partition on an SD card. Overall, the purple Cloudbook is not fast, but the word I keep coming back to is "useable". It can stream a youtube, it can create a business report on Excel and Word, and it can do email and internet, albeit a little slow.
Some may want to go to somewhat radical lengths to turn off Windows Update's automatic features to keep from losing several gigs of space overnight:
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