The Disk Cleanup tool offers a great way to quickly free up disk space by deleting temporary files that are no longer needed. It is in no way as complete or thorough as third party tools like CCleaner, but it gets the job done and does not require you to install another software on the system for that operation.
Most users do not know that Microsoft has integrated an advanced version of the cleanup tool in the Windows operating system. The core reason for that is that it can only be started from the command prompt, and not from menus or by clicking on a program icon on the desktop.
Update: recent versions of the Disk Cleanup tool ship with an option to run the advanced version after start. Just start the Disk Cleanup tool like you would normally, select the drive you want to clean, and on the next screen the "clean up system files" option. This repeats the process (selecting drive and all), but opens the advanced cleaning options in the end.
The advanced version lists all the cleaning options described below. Update End
Lets first take a look at the standard version of Disk Cleanup. One of the easiest methods to start Disk Cleanup on Windows is the following one:
This opens the program right away. There are other ways to launch it, for instance by entering disk cleanup in the start menu search form.
The standard Disk Cleanup tool can delete the following temporary files on the system. Included in the deletion are temporary files, thumbnails, or downloaded programs.
Tip: Check out How To Clean Hard Drives In Windows 7 for general information about the cleanup software.
Compare that to the options the advanced cleanup tool offers.
Included in the advanced tools are options to clean debug dump files, system and user queued error reporting files, files discarded by Windows upgrade, or setup and windows upgrade log files.
Here is how you can load the advanced Disk Cleanup Tool in Windows:
Note that not all items are selected by default, which means that you need to look through the options to enable and disable items until you are satisfied with the selection.
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