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How to run the disk cleanup tool on Windows 10

Windows 10 isn’t a large operating system. It needs 20GB of space once installed. All the other disk space is taken up by other apps that you install and that’s to be expected. 

Most disk storage is taken up by the installation files of an app but many apps, and user activity tends to build up garbage files that need to be removed or your disk will fill up. The Downloads folder and the Recycle Bin are two examples of file containers that need to be purged.

Disk cleanup tool on Windows 10

Cleaning the Recycle Bin and the Downloads folder is easy but not all garbage files are as easy to access, identify, and delete. That’s why there’s a simple tool on Windows 10 that can clean garbage files called Disk Clean.

You can, and should, run the Disk cleanup regularly and especially after updating Windows 10 to a new version.

  1. Open File Explorer and go to This PC.
  2. Righ-click the C drive (or Windows drive) and select Properties.
  3. On the General tab, click Disk Cleanup.
  4. On the window that opens, click ‘Clean up system files’.

  1. Select the items you want to delete.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Confirm you want to delete the files and disk cleanup will begin.

Note: files once deleted cannot be restored. You can run disk cleanup for all drives on your system but the Windows drive is where you will be able to free up the most space. 

Other disk cleaning utilities

You can also clean up junk files, or files you no longer need from the Settings app where Windows 10 has another disk cleaning tool called Storage sense.

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to System>Storage.
  3. Click ‘Configure Storage sense or run it now’.

  1. Select where you want to delete files from, and how old they should be to be removed.
  2. Click Clean Now under Free up Space now.


Running the storage sense clean up tool after running the Disk Cleanup tool has not benefit. There is overlap between the files that these two tools clean however, Disk Cleanup cleans more locations and file types. 

There are also third-party tools available for managing storage space on a disk. You can use these tools if they offer better disk space management but be careful which files you choose to remove and remember that most files that are removed by a third-party disk cleaning tool are highly unlikely to be recovered. 

Disk Cleanup does not damage the Windows installation and it does not uninstall apps.

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