Windows Disk Cleanup: Free Up Disk Space

Use the Windows Disk Cleanup to Free Up Hard Disk Space

The Windows Disk Cleanup is a component of Microsoft Windows and has been around since Windows 98. The range of options the utiliy offers differs between Windows versions, but the core feature remains the same: Remove unneeded files to free up hard disk space.

The Utility deletes temporary files and other space hogs a user might want to rid their computer of. It analyses the hard drive and offers a list the user can choose from. Disk Cleanup targets a range of file categories in its initial analysis. A few examples are:

  • Recycle Bin
  • Temporary Internet files
  • Temporary Windows files
  • Downloaded program files
  • Log files (such as setup logs)
  • Cached offline web pages

In addition to removing files, users can also select to compress files that haven’t been accessed for a certain period of time.

First Step: Disk Cleanup Analysis

To start Disk Cleanup simply right-click on the hard drive you want to clean and select „Properties“. Disk Cleanup will analyze your disk

Cleanup offers a number of file types it can delete for you – simply make your selection and click „Clean up system files“ to have Windows start working.


Second Step: Clean Up and More Options…

After clicking „Clean up system files“ the Windows Cleanup utility will once again calculate the number of files it can remove. You will then be offered the option to delete programs you no longer use or free up more disk space by deleting System Restore Points and Shadow Copies.

If you decide to clean up the latter, make sure that your computer runs flawlessly. The option removes all but your most recent restore points. There is no way to get those points back, so think before you click.


Third Step: In-Dephth Analysis (Optional but Strongly Recommended)

While Windows Disk Cleanup will provide a quick fix, professional disk space management should include an in-depth analysis of your disk space usage. Disk space management software like TreeSize or SpaceObServer will help you gain an insight into your hard drives and will tell you exactly which folders and files are taking up most disk space.