It’s smart to buy a small SSD to run your OS, but this can lead to its own problems. All too often, temporary files and deleted items can build up, getting your drive so clogged that it can affect performance. Because of this, Microsoft has created the Windows 10 disk cleanup tool, which you can utilize to free up space on your C: drive or any other drive.
Unfortunately, low disk space notifications don’t tend to direct you to this tool, instead taking you to Windows storage settings. This leads many to wonder where disk clean up is in Windows 10. Though it isn’t displayed prominently in the settings app, you can find it quite easily in Control Panel or via the Start Menu.
Running Disk Cleanup in Windows 10 can free up space by deleting files that you don’t need. The most savings are often found by deleting previous Windows installations and files left in the recycle bin, but it also looks for temporary internet files, thumbnails, error reports, and more. Cleaning up Windows 10 also gives you the option to enable system compression, which can make your windows binaries and program files smaller. Let’s get started on how to use it:
How to Run and Use Windows 10 Disk Cleanup
You can open the regular Windows 10 Disk Cleanup via the Run tool, or proceed to the second heading for advanced disk cleanup.
- Open Disk Cleanup
Press “Windows + R” to open the Run dialogue, type “cleanmgr”, and press “OK”.
- Clean up system files
Back in the main Disk Cleanup window, click on “Clean up system files” near the bottom.
- Accept the permanent deletion
- Open Disk Cleanup again as an admin
In the Start Menu, type “Disk Cleanup”, click the first result, and then the “Run as administrator” option.
- Tick “Downloaded Program Files” and “Temporary Internet Files”
Then click on “Clean up system files”.
- Open “More Options”
Switch to the “More Options” tab and click on “Clean up…”.
- Uninstall unused programs
You can now uninstall the programs you use the least by clicking on them and pressing “Uninstall” in the top bar. When you’re done, cross out the window.
- Clean up system restore and shadow copies
Back in the “More Options” screen, look for the “System Restore and Shadow Copies” heading and click “Clean up…”.
- Confirm the deletion
Deleting your system restore points will still keep the latest one should you need to revert anything. Press “Delete” to remove all of the ones before that and free up space.
- Wait for the process to complete
It should only take a couple of minutes.
How to Open Windows 10 Extended Disk Cleanup via Command Prompt
You can clean up Windows 10 even more via the extended Disk Cleanup tool, which can be accessed via the command line.
- Open Command Prompt
Press the Windows key and type “command prompt”. Select the first entry under ‘Best match’ and choose “Run as administrator”.
- Run the Cleanmgr command
In the Command Prompt window, type the following and press “Enter”:cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 & Cleanmgr /sagerun:65535
Disk Cleanup Settings will now launch. Tick the files you’d like to delete – you’ll notice that you have more options than in the regular version, including Chdsk files and Microsoft Defender and press “OK”.
- Wait for the process to complete
Windows will take a little time to remove the files you selected. Make sure Command Prompt stays open while this happens.
How to run Extended Disk Cleanup via Shortcut
In all likelihood, you’ll need to free up space in Windows 10 more than once. To speed up the Extended Disk Cleanup process, you can create a shortcut on your desktop.
- Create a new shortcut
Right-click on your desktop and select “New > Shortcut”.
- Enter the CMD command
In the location field, paste the command we used in the previous step, which is:cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 & Cleanmgr /sagerun:65535
- Give it a name
Name your shortcut whatever makes the most sense to you. In our case, that’s “Extreme Disk Cleanup”. Press “Finish”.
- Open the shortcut
Double-click the shortcut to open it. It should automatically open command prompt and then the Advanced Disk Cleanup tool. Use it as normal, ticking the items you’d like to delete and also running the “Clean up system files” tool.