Disk Cleanup is a handy system utility that is built-in to Windows. It can be used to delete temporary files, some logs, the Recycle Bin, and previous Windows installations.
The latter is extremely useful, as it allows you to free up Gigabytes of disk space after upgrades. Windows keeps a copy of the previous version of Windows on the disk after upgrades to provide rollback functionality.
Microsoft introduced the Disk Cleanup tool in Windows 7. Disk Cleanup was never as good at freeing up disk space than third-party solutions such as CCleaner, but the built-in nature of the tool made it useful in situations where third-party programs cannot be used.
Windows 10: Free up space now
Windows 10 Version 1803, the Spring Creators Update version of the operating system, comes with a new “free up space now” option in the Settings application that replicates the functionality of Disk Cleanup.
Here is how you open the new tool:
- Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings application.
- Go to System > Storage.
- Activate “free up space now” on the page.
The utility runs a scan when you open it and displays its findings in the interface. This works similarly to how Disk Cleanup handles this but with the difference that system files such as previous Windows installations are included by default.
Tip: You can run Disk Cleanup in clean up system files mode automatically as well.
Some file locations are selected by default, others are not. The list of locations and descriptions appear to be identical for all supported file locations. A minor difference between both tools is that Free up disk space omits locations with 0 bytes.
Disk Cleanup is still part of Windows 10 version 1803. You can run it just like before, and use it or the Settings application.
Microsoft revealed back when it released Windows 10 that it had plans to move all Control Panel items to the Settings application, and that it wanted to migrate tools to Settings as well.
The process is still ongoing and if the company keeps the current pace, it will probably take a decade or more before all Control Panel items are moved to the Settings app.
As for Disk Cleanup, it is unclear if Microsoft plans to remove the program from Windows 10. Considering that it moved the functionality to the Settings app in the Spring Creators Update, it seems likely that this is going to be the case.
Now You: Do you use Disk Cleanup or third-party tools?
- How to clean up the Windows Program Files folder
- PatchCleaner: remove orphan Windows installer files to free up disk space
- Windows 10 Disk Cleanup includes file compression option