Windows 10 handles a lot more maintenance tasks automatically than previous versions of Windows ever did, but there still may be times when you want to venture into Disk Cleanup and manually remove any files that no longer need to be taking up your hard drive space.

You’ll even find a new feature available from Disk Cleanup called System compression which can compress the program files and binaries, so they aren’t using up as much hard drive space. It’s yet another attempt by Windows to help you run a lighter operating system which is handy for anyone using a computer that doesn’t have much hard drive space to start with, which many of today’s laptops and smaller personal computers don’t.

Note: Most of the options available to delete in Disk Cleanup are safe to remove, but there are some files you may consider sensitive and wish to keep, so make sure you read the boxes that you’re selecting before you delete them. One of the options from Disk Cleanup is for removing the previous version of Windows, and if removed, it means you will not be able to roll back to the previous version of Windows anymore. Sometimes people want to roll back to a previous version of Windows to troubleshoot problems with the operating system.

The following tutorial demonstrates how to open and use Disk Cleanup when you’re using a version of the Windows 10 operating system.

Method One: How to Open and Use Disk Cleanup

1. Open Disk Cleanup by typing Disk Cleanup into Search and clicking on the Disk Cleanup desktop app under the Best match section, or by opening Run (Win+R) and then typing cleanmgr and clicking OK.

2. Select the drive you want to open Disk Cleanup for from the drop-down menu and then click on OK. If your computer has more than one drive or partition—sometimes computer comes with an SSD drive and an HDD drive—then you can click on the drop-down menu and select the drive that you want to clean up. For most people, this is going to be the one that says C: drive.

3. To Clean Up Files for Only Your Account

a. Check or uncheck any of the boxes that you want to include/exclude from the Disk Cleanup and then click on the OK button to start the cleaning.

Checking any options for file compression will compress the files and not delete them.

4. To Clean Up System Files

Note: You need to be logged in as an administrator to use this option. There are two ways you can log in with an administrator’s account on a Windows 10 computer: either by (a) using your Windows account that already has the administrator privileges or (b) logging in to someone else’s account that has the administrator privileges. The account that was created first is automatically assigned the administrator privileges and it can pass it on to other accounts; other administrator accounts can also remove the administrator privileges from the original account.

a. Click on the Clean up system files button.

b. Select the drive and then click OK.

c. Wait for Disk Cleanup to finish calculating.

d. Check or uncheck the boxes that you want to include/exclude in the Disk Cleanup and then click on OK to begin the cleaning.

5. To Uninstall Desktop Programs

Note: You need to be logged in as an administrator to use this option. There are two ways you can log in with an administrator’s account on a Windows 10 computer: either by (a) using your Windows account that already has the administrator privileges or (b) logging in to someone else’s account that has the administrator privileges. The account that was created first is automatically assigned the administrator privileges and it can pass it on to other accounts; other administrator accounts can also remove the administrator privileges from the original account.

a. Click on the Clean up system files button.

b. From the More Options tab, click on the Clean up… button under the Programs and Features heading.

c. Select the program that you want to uninstall by clicking on it once and then click on the Uninstall button from the menu.

6. To Delete All But the Most Recent Restore Point

Note: You need to be logged in as an administrator to use this option. There are two ways you can log in with an administrator’s account on a Windows 10 computer: either by (a) using your Windows account that already has the administrator privileges or (b) logging in to someone else’s account that has the administrator privileges. The account that was created first is automatically assigned the administrator privileges and it can pass it on to other accounts; other administrator accounts can also remove the administrator privileges from the original account.

a. Click on the Clean up system files button.

b. Select the drive you want to open Disk Cleanup for from the drop-down menu and then click on OK. If your computer has more than one drive or partition—sometimes computer comes with an SSD drive and an HDD drive—then you can click on the drop-down menu and select the drive that you want to clean up. For most people, this is going to be the one that says C: drive.

c. From the More Options tab, click on the Clean up… button under the System Restore and Shadow Copies heading.

d. When you see the message asking if you are sure you want to delete all but the most recent restore point, click on Delete.

Method Two: How to Open and Use Extended Disk Cleanup

Note: You need to be logged in to an administrator’s account to use this option. There are two ways you can log in with an administrator’s account on a Windows 10 computer: either by a) using your Windows account that already has the administrator privileges or b) logging in to someone else’s account that has the administrator privileges. The account that was created first is automatically assigned the administrator privileges and it can pass it on to other accounts; other administrator accounts can also remove the administrator privileges from the original account.

1. Open the elevated Command Prompt.

2. Type the following command into the command line and then press the Enter key on your keyboard to execute it:

cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 & Cleanmgr /sagerun:65535

Note: You need to leave the elevated Command Prompt window open while Disk Cleanup continues to clean the computer otherwise it will stop operations. Close the Command Prompt only when the cleaning is complete.

3. Check or uncheck the boxes that you want to include in the cleanup or exclude from the cleanup and then click OK.

4. Wait for Disk Cleanup to finish calculating.

That’s all.

This article was last updated on May 13, 2019.