Disk Cleanup Guide How to Use Disk Cleanup to Clean Drive

Disk Cleanup keeps your operating system running smoothly. This article will teach you how to use it and also enlighten you on why it’s so beneficial to your PC.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Aug 10, 2022 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

The primary job of Disk Cleanup is to go through your computer's drives and delete the files in them. That's why its icon has a brush going to work on a drive. Disk Cleanup essentially cleans your drives, but it neither affects your system's functionality and nor does it touch your files.

  • Part 1: What Is Disk Cleanup
  • Part 2: How to Run Disk Cleanup in Windows 10
  • Part 3: How to Troubleshoot Disk Cleanup
  • Part 4: Answers to Common Disk Cleanup Questions

Part 1: What Is Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is a native tool of Microsoft's Windows operating system. You likely see Disk Cleanup anytime you turn on your PC and start using it, but just like many of the other tools and features of your Windows, you're unaware of its full functionality. The simple truth is, you don't know half of what Dis Cleanup is capable of, but that's the whole point of this guide, isn't it?

The tool is so convenient and effective it has thus far been included in all of Microsoft Windows' operating systems starting from Windows XP to Windows 10.

Knowing all that is fine and good but what does the tool do? In a nutshell, it gets rid of cache, temporary and log files dumped by your operating system and the programs installed on it. But is there more? Yep. A lot more, even.

1. Keeps Your Hard Disk from Becoming Obese – Any hard disk that is clogged up by redundant files will fail to perform properly. It will also prevent you from storing more files in it.

2. Makes Sure Your New Apps Don't Suffer Hiccups – Be wary of old files because they can interfere with any new applications you install to supplant them. This is what happens:

Say you uninstall VLC media player to make room for the newest version of the app; the uninstalled version still leaves some files. Even though these files are harmless, they could still mess up how the just-installed update functions. Disk Cleanup easily gets rid of these redundant files.

3. Protects You from Cyber Burglars – Yeah, this one is quite a surprise, isn't it? The tenacity and deviousness of cybercriminals know no bounds.

This time, the problem even goes beyond the files on your local drives because your cache and internet history can render you open to cyber-attacks. These "web crooks" can access your sensitive data while leaving you in blissful ignorance.

Using Disk Cleanup to clear such information regularly means your files won't even be in your system, let alone for someone to try and access them.

Part 2: How to Run Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

Running Disk Cleanup on your Windows is pretty much a straightforward affair. Once you open up the tool, select a disk from the list you see in the drop-down menu (it will probably be drive "C"), then click "OK."

Disk Cleanup will pick up from there, calculating the amount of free space you can get on the chosen drive. In the next window you see, choose the files to be deleted (temporary internet files, setup log files, etc.). Click "OK" again.

There are several ways you can open and run Disk Cleanup, of course, but they all lead to the same end goal. 4 methods will be discussed here, and they are specifically meant for Windows 10, but that's not to say they won't work for previous Windows versions.

If you're upgrading your Windows, especially to Windows 10, Disk Cleanup is especially necessary because it enables you to permanently get rid of previous installation files without the need for any expensive third-party software (thank you, Microsoft!)

You won't have any trouble with running Disk Cleanup if you can follow the set of concise instructions given below.

Method 1: Via Search

This method is probably the easiest. All you need to do is press the "Windows" key to bring up the Start Menu. Type "cleanmgr" in the search box. When the tool appears, click it.


Method 2: Via Run

Once more, the "Windows" key comes into play here. Click these keys together: "Windows" + "R" to launch the "Run" dialog box. Type in "cleanmgr" once more in the search field provided, then click on "OK."


Method 3: Via Windows PowerShell

Do you see that little magnifying glass on your Windows taskbar? That's the "Search" button. Click it and type "power" in the search field. The results will reveal several tools and "Windows PowerShell" will be one of them. Click it, then type "cleanmgr" in Windows PowerShell. Hit "Enter."


Method 4: Via Command Prompt

Open up Command Prompt by clicking the "Windows" button and typing "cmd" in the Start Menu. Click on "cmd" and Command Prompt will open up. Now go ahead and type "cleanmgr" in the Command Prompt window.


Part 3: How to Troubleshoot Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is an important tool, so when errors spring up and prevent it from performing its duty, consider yourself in trouble. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but those errors suck.

They freeze your Disk Cleanup so it can't work properly; matter of fact, it can't work at all. And when it happens while you're in the process of cleaning the files, that's when your frustration meter kicks into overdrive.

Disk Cleanup can cease to function for several reasons, ranging from corrupt video drivers to glitches in your Windows operating system itself. You can't stop that from happening, though you can take measures to limit the errors. One thing you can do is fix any problems the Disk Cleanup encounters, so do that by going over the solutions below.

Solution 1: Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

1. Press the "Windows" key. Type in "Settings" while on the Start Menu. Once it spears, click on it, then click on "Update & Security. You'll see "Troubleshooter". Click on it too and then finally select "Run the troubleshooter."

2. It should automatically fix any errors if they are found. Reboot your PC and run Disk Cleanup.


Solution 2: Delete Temp Files

1. Press the "Windows" + "R" keys and type this in the search bar: %temp%.


2. Click "OK" and you will see the Temp folder. Highlight all the temp files, right-click on them, and select "Delete." Restart your PC and run Disk Cleanup. See if the problem has been fixed.


Solution 3: Run SFC (System File Checker) Scan

1. Press the "Windows" + "X" keys. When you see a menu pop up, left-click on "Command Prompt (Admin)". But the latest Windows build has replaced this with "Windows PowerShell (Admin)."


2. In the next window you see, Press "Enter" once you type this: sfc /scannow


3. The scan should take about 10 or 15 minutes. Once it concludes, reboot your PC. Launch Disk Cleanup again and see what happens. The problem should be no more.

Solution 4: Fix Via DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) Tool

1. Once more, open up "Command Prompt" by pressing the "Windows" and "X" keys.

2. Copy this command and paste it into Command Prompt, then hit "Enter": DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth.

3. Once the command has been executed, check to see if DISM has detected any errors. If all is well, reboot your PC and start-up Disk Cleanup.


Part 4: Answers to Common Disk Cleanup Questions

"How safe is Disk Cleanup, anyway?" "What about my downloads? "Will Disk Cleanup tamper with my files?" "Can Disk Cleanup cure cancer?" It's almost as if PC users never get tired of asking questions about Disk Cleanup. Rest assured, your files are safe; matter of fact, using Disk Cleanup consolidates their safety because there is less risk of your hard drive being clogged up and suffering errors. Anyway, below are a few common questions people ask about Disk Cleanup. If your question is among them, read on for the answers.

1. Is it Safe to do a Disk Cleanup?

Yes, using Disk Cleanup is perfectly safe. The only exception is if your PC isn't functioning properly. In such a case, deleting files could complicate matters further because you won't be able to uninstall updates, roll back your OS, or even troubleshoot certain problems.

So, contrary to what Disk Cleanup does, deleting the files in your drive might not be a necessity if you have the space to spare; the files may seem redundant, but they have their uses too.

2. Does Disk Cleanup Delete Everything?

No, Disk Cleanup won't delete everything. If it could do that, do you have any idea how many times Microsoft would have sued by now? The tool removes the cache and log files that pile up in your PC, but never touches your documents, programs, or media. So, don't worry, you're safe.

3. What files Should You Delete in Disk Cleanup?

Well, that's up to you. If you have the space to spare in your drive, just select a few files and delete them. But if you want to clear all the temporary files, select everything. Below are the 10 file categories you can clean using Disk Cleanup.

answers-to-common questions

4. Does Disk Cleanup Delete Downloads?

Seriously? You're still asking this same question? Look, Disk Cleanup doesn't delete your downloads. Your files will be as safe as a tortoise under its shell. Your downloads, files, and any other sensitive data won't be deleted. Stop asking already. Sheesh!

5. Can You Recover Files After Disk Cleanup?

Yes, you can, but not through conventional means. Windows can't recover your files once Disk Cleanup deletes them. Your Windows lacks the features to do that, but Recoverit doesn't.

Recoverit Mac Data Recovery is a data recovery software that's worth it's salt; that just means it can recover any type of data, the size and number notwithstanding. Download and install it because honestly, it's a tool you're supposed to have in your PC. Make it one of your staple software.

Closing Words

Windows is a great operating system but it has a tendency to leave your drives in a bit of a mess anytime files are deleted or moved to different directories. The developers were well aware of this, which is why they integrated Disk Cleanup into the operating system.

It can scan every sector of your OS, from the tiniest to the largest, and weed out all the unnecessary files taking up space without your knowledge. Bets of all, it does all this without posing a risk to the files you deem important and sensitive.

It's quite pleasant to know Windows has such a feature in it. You can even use Disk Cleanup to clean external drives, not merely your default drive. Microsoft did good with this nifty utility, don't you think?

Other popular Articles From Wondershare

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

Home > Resources > Answer Hard Drive Problems > Disk Cleanup Guide How to Use Disk Cleanup to Clean Drive