Running Disk Cleanup on a Windows Computer

The Disk Cleanup utility comes installed on Windows computers. It removes unnecessary files to free up space on a disk drive on your computer. To run Disk Cleanup on a Windows computer, follow the instructions for the type of computer you use.

Windows 8

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel.

    control panel

  3. If your Control Panel view is set to Category, from the drop-down menu next to View by choose Small icons.

    control panel view

  4. Click Administrative Tools.

    admin tools

  5. Double-click Disk Cleanup.

    disk cleanup

  6. If you see a drop-down menu with a list of drives, choose the drive you want to clean (generally the C drive).
  7. Click OK.
  8. In the Disk Cleanup for OS dialog box, choose the checkboxes for the file types you want to delete.

    disk cleanup files

  9. Click OK.
  10. When you see a dialog box that prompts you whether to permanently delete the files, click Delete Files.

    cleanup confirmation

  11. The Disk Cleanup utility will close automatically when it is done.

Windows 7

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.  
  3. From the drop-down menu, choose the drive you want to clean.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Disk Cleanup will calculate the free space on your computer, which may take a few minutes.
  6. After the calculation is complete, you should see a dialog box that lists file types.  
  7. Confirm that only the following check boxes are checked:
    • Downloaded Program Files
    • Temporary Internet Files
    • Recycle Bin
    • Temporary Files
  8. Click OK.
  9. When you see a dialog box that asks Are you sure you want to permanently delete these files? 
  10. Click Delete Files.
  11. Disk Cleanup will delete the files and close automatically.

Windows Vista

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.
  3. Click the Files from all users on this computer option.
  4. Click Continue when prompted that Windows needs your permission to continue.
  5. Click Drive C.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Disk Cleanup will calculate the free space on your computer, which may take a few minutes.
  8. After the calculation is complete, you should see a dialog box that lists file types.
  9. Confirm that only the following check boxes are checked:
    • Downloaded Program Files
    • Temporary Internet Files
    • Recycle Bin
    • Temporary Files
  10. Click OK.
  11. You should see a dialog box that asks Are you sure you want to permanently delete these files?
  12. Click Delete Files.
  13. Disk Cleanup will delete the files and close automatically.

Windows XP

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.
  3. Disk Cleanup will calculate the free space on your computer, which may take a few minutes.
  4. After the calculation is complete, confirm that only the following check boxes are checked:
    • Downloaded Program Files
    • Temporary Internet Files
    • Recycle Bin
    • Temporary Files
  5. Click OK and Yes when prompted to delete files.
  6. Disk Cleanup will delete the files and close automatically.