Cleaning Windows is necessary to keep your computer in optimal condition, remove unnecessary and obsolete files, and save disk space. Any user sooner or later faces the need to clean up the system to remove unnecessary digital information.
Windows update files that are no longer needed are stored on the computer, duplicate files are created, there are remnants of uninstalled programs, etc. All this does not need to be permanently stored on the computer’s disk, so this data should be deleted from the PC.
Cleaning and optimizing Windows will help remove unnecessary data from the system disk, free up space, and improve the operation of the operating system. Due to lack of free disk space, the system and installed programs begin to work with delays and freezes.
How can a user verify that a Windows 10 junk cleanup is required on a computer? This will manifest itself in the fact that when working on a PC, the brakes have begun, in addition, for clarity, in the Explorer window, the problem disk will be colored red.
The operating system warns the computer user about the lack of free space on this disk.
You must have at least 15% free space on the disk, which is used for temporary files, downloading updates, etc. Less free disk space will prevent Windows from properly defragmenting. Because of this, the disk will become more fragmented, which can slow down the system and programs.
To optimize the system and remove unnecessary files, users often use specialized programs: “optimizers” and “cleaners”. This guide provides instructions on how to clean up a disk on a Windows computer using the operating system.
The user decides on his own what he will use: a third-party optimization application or system tools. In this regard, it is worth paying attention to the following: often such cleaners, working according to their own algorithms, delete the necessary system files.
Some users, when launching programs or games, encountered messages about the absence of a required library or file. Moreover, by default, these files should have been located in the operating system or its components.
In most cases, this is the result of the work of optimizer programs that remove these “unnecessary” files during cleaning, so using system tools will be safer for the computer.
Before performing measures to clean up the system from unnecessary garbage, create a Windows restore point.
Windows 10 Device Storage feature
In the settings of the Windows 10 operating system, there is a “Device Memory” section (in earlier versions, the section was called “Storage”). Using the built-in automatic cleaning tool, unnecessary and temporary files are removed from the PC.
You can access the memory control settings as follows:
- Enter the Start menu, launch the Settings app.
- In the Windows Settings window, enter the System option.
- The “Device Memory” section contains options for working with memory usage and freeing up space on the PC’s disk.
With default settings, the “Device Memory” feature is disabled in Windows 10. To activate the automatic cleaning feature, you need to go to the “Device Memory” option and then turn on the memory control feature.
Windows 10 Automatic Cleanup in the Background
The user needs to configure the operation of the automatic tool to clean the system. In the “Device storage” option, slide the switch to the “On” position.
The “Local Disk (C:)” option displays information about disk space usage. The user can see problem areas on the disk, clarify the distribution of space. For more information, click on the “Show more categories” link.
The operation of the memory control needs to be configured. Click on the “Set up storage sense or run it” link.
The “Configure Memory Sense or Run It” window contains the options for running the system tool.
In the “Memory Sense” option, you need to configure the launch of the system tool. In the “Start Memory Sense” setting, select one of the options:
- When there is not enough disk space left, memory monitoring will start automatically when disk space runs out (default setting).
- Daily – the function will run every day.
- Every week – launches the tool in weekly mode.
- Every month – automatic launch of memory monitoring every month.
Adjust the settings for deleting temporary files. In the “Temporary files” section, you must select the frequency of deleting temporary files that are not used in installed applications.
Deleting files from the trash will be carried out at the following intervals:
- 30 days – automatically empty the trash once a month (default option).
- Never – files are not deleted from the trash, the option is disabled.
- 1 day – daily cleaning of the contents of the basket.
- 14 days – Delete files from the Recycle Bin once every two weeks.
- 60 days – automatic cleaning of the basket every two months.
Selecting the frequency of automatic deletion of files from the Downloads folder:
- Never – files in the downloads folder are not automatically deleted.
- 1 day – cleaning files once a day.
- 14 days – Delete files once every two weeks.
- 30 days – data cleaning once a month.
- 60 days – automatic deletion of files once every two weeks.
Use files from OneDrive on demand
Windows 10 comes with built-in OneDrive cloud storage. By default, files uploaded to the storage are simultaneously stored on the computer’s disk and in the “cloud”.
With the Locally Available Cloud Content option, you can remove a number of files from your computer that have a saved copy in the cloud. This function will not affect some of the files marked “Always save on this device”, which will remain on the computer.
In the “OneDrive” option, you need to configure the availability of the contents of the storage only from the network if the data has not been opened more:
- 1 day.
- 14 days.
- 30 days.
- 60 days.
Copies of files deleted from the PC will remain in OneDrive. They will become available to the user if there is an Internet connection to a remote Microsoft server.
Free up Windows space manually from system settings
In the Windows 10 operating system, it is possible to manually start deleting some files, according to the settings made in the Device Memory tool.
On the Configure Storage Sense or Run It page, in the Free up space now option, click on the Clear Now button.
In the “Device memory” section, in the “Local disk (C:)” option, there is information about the distribution of disk space.
The Temporary Files option displays a list of files that can be deleted right now. By default, the operating system will select some of the files that are no longer needed, they can be deleted immediately.
Some file types are not selected due to the fact that this data may still be needed by the user, for example, data located in the “Downloads” or “Trash” folders. You can also select these options to delete files from these locations.
After selecting the options, click on the “Delete Files” button.
After completing these steps, the manual cleanup of Windows garbage on the computer is complete.
Deleting Files with Disk Cleanup
The Windows operating system has a built-in Disk Cleanup tool with which you can remove unnecessary files from your PC.
Do the following:
- Open File Explorer, right-click on Local Disk “C:”.
- Select “Properties” from the context menu.
- In the “Disk Cleanup (C:)” window, in the “General” tab, click on the “Disk Cleanup” button.
- In the window that opens, the free disk space is calculated.
- The Disk Cleanup tab displays the types of files that can be deleted. By default, the items “Downloaded program files”, “Temporary Internet files”, “Thumbnails” are activated.
The user can select these options or add other types of files to delete.
- To start deleting unnecessary data, click on the “OK” button.
- In the window with a warning about the permanent deletion of these files, click on the “Delete files” button.
As a result, the files will be deleted from your computer.
If the user needs to delete more files, including system files, go through the following steps:
- In the “Disk Cleanup” application window, you must click on the “Clean up system files” button.
- The utility again calculates the amount of space that can be removed from the computer.
- In the “Disk Cleanup” window, in the “Disk Cleanup” tab, new types of files will appear available for deletion.
- After selecting the file types, click on the “OK” button.
- In the warning window, agree to delete files.
The specified files will be deleted from the PC.
Deleting temporary files from a disk manually
During active work on the computer, a large number of temporary files are created that occupy a fairly large amount of disk space. The user can delete temporary files manually to free up free space.
Temporary files in the Windows operating system are stored in the following folders:
C:\Windows\Temp C:\Users (Users)\UserName (User)\AppData\Local\Temp
Temporary files are deleted according to the following algorithm of actions:
- First, the user needs to exit running programs.
- Enter these folders one by one to delete the files there manually.
- After deleting temporary files, restart your computer.
Deleting some restore points to save disk space
Using the system disk cleanup utility, you can remove unused programs and components, as well as part of the system restore checkpoints.
Open the Disk Cleanup window, in the Advanced tab. Here are the following options:
- In the “Programs and Features” section, there is an opportunity to free up disk space by removing unused programs.
- From the “System Restore and Shadow Copy” section, you can delete Windows restore points, except for the most recent one.
To delete files, click on the “Clear…” button.
All Windows restore points except for the most recent one will be deleted from the computer. For security purposes, the system retains the ability to restore from the most recent restore point if something goes wrong.
Shrink disk function to free up space
To save space, Windows has an option to shrink the drive, which will free up some space. In this article, we are looking at cleaning up the system disk, so we will compress the “C:” drive.
- After right-clicking on the system drive, select “Properties” from the context menu.
- In the “Properties: Local Disk (C:)” window, select the “General” tab.
- Check the box next to “Compress this disk to save space” and then click on the “OK” button.
- In the “Confirm attribute changes” window, click the “OK” button.
In Windows 10, it is better to use the Compact OS feature to compress files on the system drive. Read more about disk compression in the article on my website.
Saving personal files on another drive
Moving system folders to another drive will save space that will become available for use by other files. In addition, if files are saved to another drive, these data will not be deleted from the computer, for example, in the event of a sudden reinstallation of the operating system, which must be carried out due to problems or the impossibility of restoring Windows.
The user can move the “Documents”, “Downloads”, “Videos”, “Pictures”, “Music”, “Desktop” folders to another local drive on the computer. These folders often contain many different files. Moving folders, in many cases, will significantly free up space on the C: drive.
The process of transferring system folders to another local drive is described in detail in the articles on my website.
Many users face low disk space because it fills up with junk files. Due to the abundance of unnecessary data, the system begins to “slow down” in work. To optimize Windows, you need to remove junk files from your computer that uselessly take up disk space.
The Windows 10 operating system has built-in tools for removing unnecessary files. In addition, the user can independently delete temporary files from the computer, without the help of third-party software.