Microsoft confirms Disk Cleanup tool deprecation in Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 14, 2018
Updated • Sep 26, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft announced plans to deprecate the classic Disk Cleanup tool in Windows 10 on the official Windows and Windows Server storage blog.

When Microsoft released Windows 10 it made its intentions clear that it wanted to move away from classic tools such as the Control Panel. No one imagined that it would take the company that long to do so.

Only some Control Panel applets and tools have been migrated so far to the Settings application or were published as UWP applications; Windows users and administrators still juggle between the Settings app and the Control Panel, and while Microsoft makes it harder with every release to access the Control Panel, it looks as if it will be remain a part of Windows 10 for a long time.

A new build of Windows 10 version 1809 showcased new Storage Sense functionality in April 2018. Basically, what Microsoft did back then was to copy functionality provided by the classic Disk Cleanup toll (cleanmgr.exe) to a new "Free up Space now " section in the Settings app.

Windows 10 users can access it by launching the Settings app on the device with the shortcut Windows-I, and by selecting System > Storage > Free Up Space Now". The feature was integrated in Windows 10 version 1803, the April 2018 Update.

While Disk Cleanup is still available in Windows 10 version 1809, it is only a matter of time before the tool is removed from default Windows 10 installations.

Storage Sense improvements

Storage Sense, a feature to remove old and unused files automatically when enabled, supports new functionality in Windows 10 version 1809 to automate processes further.

Storage Sense is turned off by default. It can be enabled under Settings > Storage, and configured with a click on "Change how we free up space automatically" on the same page.

We reviewed the initial functionality of Storage Sense when it launched in Windows 10 version 1803. Back then, it was limited to deleting temporary files, unused files in the download folder or the Recycle Bin.

Functionality of Storage Sense is improved in Windows 10 version 1809:

  • Run Storage Sense once per day, week, or month, or whenever disk space gets low.
  • Set a minimum age for temporary files and files in the download folder that you want Storage Sense to remove automatically (between never and 60 days).
  • Make content in the OneDrive folder "online-only" to free up disk space.

If you enable Storage Sense to run on the device automatically, it will process files automatically and based on your rules. It will clean up the following file and data types automatically when enabled:

  • Temporary Internet cache, system, and system cache files.
  • Device Driver packages.
  • Temporary Setup files.
  • Old indexed content.
  • Old Windows Update temporary files.
  • Dump files.
  • Dated system log files.

If you enable the clean up of the Downloads folder or OneDrive, these are processed as well based on the configuration in the Settings app.

Closing Words

The classic Disk Cleanup tool was never the best tool for the job but it was built-in and easy to use.

Third-party solutions like CCleaner support its functionality and more, and while that meant that you had to install or run a third-party app on a device, it was often the better choice for users.

The removal of the Disk Cleanup tool will certainly be disruptive even though its functionality has been replicated in the Settings app. The option to clean up space automatically may appeal to users as the classic Disk Cleanup tool came without integrated options to run it regularly on the system.

Now You: Do you use Disk Cleanup?

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Microsoft confirms Disk Cleanup tool deprecation in Windows 10
Microsoft announced plans to deprecate the classic Disk Cleanup tool in Windows 10 on the official Windows and Windows Server storage blog.
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  1. JD said on September 18, 2018 at 3:47 am

    This author should be ashamed, this whole article is the author just giving a hand job to Microsoft over a feature that wasn’t needed. Disk Cleanup has a purpose, and it fills it incredibly well.
    Meanwhile Storage Sense offers literally 0 real time control, and 3rd party apps (like ccleaner) are subject to become malicious at any point in time (just like ccleaner did this year).

    I bet the author doesn’t even realize ccleaner is considered malware now with it’s forced monitoring.

  2. Peterc said on September 16, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Interesting. I used Disk Cleanup in Windows 7 for the first time a few days back, primarily to remove all volume shadow copies save the most recent one. I was running a wee bit low on drive space, and getting rid of the volume shadow copies alone freed up something like 60GB. (I checked by doing running the vssadmin list shadowstorage command in an elevated prompt both before and after.)

    The same day, I used Disk Cleanup on another Windows 7 computer with a considerably smaller drive as well, and on *that* one I also “cleaned up” Windows Update (for the first time). I was pretty sure I would never want to roll back any updates, but still, big mistake! The initial cleanup and subsequent reboot took over two hours! In the future, I’ll consider cleaning up Windows Update strictly a last resort!

  3. Anders said on September 15, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Listen to me carefully, nothing, absolutely nothing compares to DISM++ in regard to cleaning Windows.

    1. Peterc said on September 16, 2018 at 8:15 am

      So … is DISM++ a low-level disk formatting utility, then? (Just joking!)

  4. fizziebaunz said on September 15, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Enough with all this, whining and nagging about MS making changes. Change is inevitable and most of the operating system is ancient code….. if they do not make changes now, in future they will become obsolete.

    I don’t hear you guys crying about how Ubuntu version from 5 years back as being the best.. and they have been making changes breaking functionality along the way…..

    Windows 10 is the best OS…. from MS…. Even though there is no smooth upgrade…. Hiccups are to be expected here and there… no two machines are the same… even the same model.

    So much hate yet you still use it.

    1. John Fenderson said on September 17, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      @fizziebaunz: “Change is inevitable”

      Indeed, and it can even be good! Without change, nothing can improve.

      However, Windows 10 brought a huge amount of changes that were for the worse (and sometimes for the extremely worse), not the better. That’s the source of complaints. If Windows 10 was, on the whole, actually an improvement then there wouldn’t be so much outcry about it.

    2. Jo said on September 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      If your ‘tools’ aren’t doing the ‘job’ the way you need them to, then you switch ‘tools’ or learn how to use them properly. That being said, every ‘update’ may be plugging some ‘hole’ that your ‘other’ ‘pkgs’ are using for your or ‘their’ benefit, CCleaner? Heh, wasn’t that ‘hacked’ years ago.?! If they can’t get in [firewall], if they can’t send out [firewall],if they can’t read it [encrypt], if you don’t let it run [whitelist], if you clean up after yourself [personal info], if your careful what you look at/click on, do you scans, do you backups, reboot at least once a month(he-he) and finally keep ALL programs (you use) updated AND keep informed about who got hacked, research how they got hacked, make sure your system is not vulnerable to THAT hack. OH, wait a second, that sounds like a JOB! It is, but don’t you maintain your car, equipment, wardrobe?(you DO have a washing machine-don’t you?) Yes, I know-Blah/Blah/Blah, ishn’t that just what you said about Trig class?. Be well, God Bless, Peace Out.

    3. John G. said on September 15, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      “I don’t hear you guys crying about how Ubuntu version from 5 years back as being the best.. and they have been making changes breaking functionality along the way…..”

      Probably because Ubuntu Linux Team is doing the job right and fine as expected. There is no way for a billionaire company like Microsoft to produce such an OS disaster, with major ISO upgrades each six months and cumulative updates twice per month and thousands of tons of crapware! I don’t want to play Bubble Witch Saga nor Candy Crash neither Minecraft I just only an OS system with the stability enough and no reboots nor waste of time each few time! I have spent dozen of hours updating and upgrading this garbage! W10 is not the best just it’s the worst system ever! My father has W7 working at an old computer and it works so good that I can’t believe its CPU has only two cores, while mine has four cores and performs slower…

  5. Riel said on September 14, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Windows 10 keeps getting worse. The cleanup in settings is half arsed and ugly. Old disk cleanup has more control and details.

  6. John Fenderson said on September 14, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    I don’t use Disk Cleanup, but that’s because the only Windows machines I use are at work — and I let the IT folks do whatever maintenance they deem worthwhile on my employer’s equipment. So I guess I’m not really in the target market for things like this, and my answer is without value. :)

  7. Emanon said on September 14, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Impatiently waiting for the next feature Update, can finally get rid of CCleaner Pro.

  8. Timi said on September 14, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I’m getting tired of all this Microsoft bull***it,it seams that Microsoft is trying really hard to push power users and computing hobbyists to linux,if linux was a little better supported hardware wise,like better drivers,I would change in a whim!

    1. ULBoom said on September 14, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      MS sells linux machines. They’re everywhere! ARRGGHH!!!

  9. Ann said on September 14, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    calling cleanmgr worse then ccleaner is a mistake and and unjustice to cleanmgr.
    Certainly on server cleanmgr is a far better tool in some options.
    1. it also removes installation files, not as good ad dism, but that one has it’s own problems
    2. it does not have the seductive “solve problem” function, which is by security companies regarded as a bad thing.

  10. K@ said on September 14, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I’m REALLY glad I switched back to W7 and disabled updates. M$ seem to be deliberately screwing W10 more and more each time they release an “improvement”. Each update seems to either break something(s) and/or remove things that are useful, whilst foisting more and more crap on us that nobody but M$ wants. How the fook is anyone supposed to get used to anything, especially those who are new to Windoze?

    Are they suicidal? Or, just plain stoopid?

    1. jern said on September 16, 2018 at 5:46 am

      I also disabled updates on Win7 – by taking my Win7 computer off-line. It runs all of my Windows software – even really old software – just great. I’m writing this on a very nice iMac. I’m never going back to MS and I wouldn’t care if it stopped updating Win7 today. It wouldn’t affect me at all.

    2. Warren said on September 14, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Malware authors and DDOS farmers everywhere appreciate your support!!

      Dude, if you’re going to outright refuse Windows security updates, just switch to Linux. Get it over with already.

      1. ilev said on September 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm

        Since day 1 Windows 10, any version, had more sever security hols than Windows 7.
        You can see that every patch Tuesday, even the last September 2018 :

        Windows 7: 18 vulnerabilities of which 3 are critical and 15 are important

        Windows 10 version 1703: 25 vulnerabilities of which 5 are critical and 18 are important
        Windows 10 version 1709: 24 vulnerabilities of which 4 are critical and 20 are important
        Windows 10 version 1803: 29 vulnerabilities of which 5 are critical and 24 are important

        All in all Windows 7 is more secure than Windows 10.

        For the last 3 years I used Windows 7 with blocked Windows Updates. 0 problems, 0 BSODs… steady as a rock.

      2. K@ said on September 15, 2018 at 11:27 am

        Oh, I’m well screwed down, security-wise. As a retired computer tech, I know a little of what I’m doing. :)

        ‘course, that might just be the cue for me to catch some nasty… ;)

      3. lehnerus2000 said on September 15, 2018 at 5:48 am

        If you examine the current CVE trend, in the next couple of years W10 will overtake W7 & W2K8 as the most vulnerable version of Windows.

        It’s only been out for ~3 years and it already has the equivalent of 2/3 of the total vulnerabilities of W7 & W2K8.

        I agree that using Linux will help users avoid the majority of all malware currently plaguing PCs.

      4. John Fenderson said on September 14, 2018 at 10:06 pm

        @Warren: “Malware authors and DDOS farmers everywhere appreciate your support!!”

        You’re assuming that K@ isn’t taking any additional security measures here. Just using an unsupported OS (or browser, etc.) all by itself does not mean that you’re more vulnerable than anyone else. It just means that you have to be more mindful of your own security and defenses.

        That said, I agree that everyone who doesn’t have a seriously strong reason to stay with Windows should switch to another OS entirely. I recommend Linux as I think it’s the best OS on the market, but there are other options too.

  11. John G. said on September 14, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Please Microsoft, release Windows 11 and give us a breath of fresh air with no crap! 😢

    * I’m writing today comments with my sister’s computer (1803) because my 1709 is being restored after a BSOD this morning.

    1. JakeandFinn said on September 25, 2018 at 6:28 pm

      I’ve been in your boat. I have four sisters. haha

      Ever since the Anniversary Update my laptop has been a bust. It’s soooo slow. Microsoft themselves said they would never be releasing Windows 11. It’s unfortunate. I just want to do my own thing. I don’t want to have to keep on thinking about Microsoft and Windows problems. Everything UWP has been slow in my experience. I’ve used many devices. I’ve tried our family/ my dads computer but even on those, UWP apps were slow. I have to hibernate my laptop so it doesn’t shut down. It never gave me a bluescreen of death before the Anniversary Update. It’s all so annoying

  12. Deo-et-Patriae said on September 14, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    In general, they don’t remove/clean anything old. I’m not talking for Control Panel since all features didn’t migrate to Settings, but other smaller things. Also, given the opportunity would be great to get a clean fully x64 version only, without any file that support x86 applications.

  13. winder max said on September 14, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    This is happend to me more than three times on Windows 7 just the last month. Until I found out it was the Disk Cleanup was deleting essential OS files, which cause it to not boot or being repaired by the recovery disk.

    1. Wellp said on September 15, 2018 at 11:39 pm

      Sounds like you’ve got bigger problems going on.

  14. Horst Fuchs said on September 14, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Microsoft giving you less reasons to use their latest OS, one major update at a time.

  15. NeoHippie said on September 14, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Disk Cleanup is a relic from the 90s and has no place in today’s modern OS’s

    I’d say good riddance

    Dism++ is all you need after each cumulative update or Fall/Spring Creators Update

    Peace out!

    1. JakeandFinn said on September 25, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      You do realise that they are removing functionality? Not everything has moved to the settings app. Oh and the settings app takes forever to launch, sometimes crashed and is generally unreliable. Edge and Photos are like that too. I think it’s a UWP problem

  16. Vlad said on September 14, 2018 at 11:57 am

    What about the option “remove all but the most recent restore point”? That one actually frees up most space…

  17. Anders said on September 14, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Windows 10 becoming seasoned crapware OS in every iteration. Last known good configuration is 1709.

    1. John G. said on September 14, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      Best Windows 10 version ever was 1511, everything worked so fine that I thought it was W7, and I say “everything” because it was the only version that HDMI worked good with an amazing smart TV like any other one. By compatibility reasons I am stuck at 1709 and HDMI only worked tweaking sound settings every time I plug HDMI devices (there is no way to work with default settings like before, and customized settings are reverted with every switch off). Worst version for me is 1803, however my sister likes 1803 because it works fine for her, so I suppose it’s a question of lucky.

      1. PanamaVet said on September 17, 2018 at 3:29 pm

        Not luck, I do think common sense comes into play with what you choose to install in Windows.

        I have been updating smoothly all the way into Win 10 1803. I started using Windows with the first release. I also owned a Macintosh Plus when it was first released. The Mac was a training ground for event oriented programming.

        Speaking of compatibility, Total Annihilation, a real time strategy game developed in the 80’s is running flawlessly using the Galaxy of Games setup in Win 10 1803.

        It’s about robots attacking humans.

  18. Weilan said on September 14, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Maybe they will remove the start button once again, because it’s “unintuitive”… xD
    Then remove the cursor too and will force you to buy computers with touch screens.

  19. Robert G. said on September 14, 2018 at 8:43 am

    I use Disk Cleanup for Windows 10 Pro after each Windows update + I use CCleaner at least once a day.

  20. Paul(us) said on September 14, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Let say I have more than enough SSD disk where I only store main Windows O.S. and main installed program. Main SSD is 150 GB.

    What would be then your personal advice as being wise to set as parameters for cleaning up store sense wise?
    But also the tempory files what do you think is wise?
    Main download folder clean up (saying that I have installed all programmes there?

    But most important to me personly is because I am ferry conservative about the possibility to restore main Windows system updates is that all of the above options does absolutely not affect the old or new Windows system updates’

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 14, 2018 at 8:20 am

      Well you can keep it turned off so that nothing is cleaned automatically. If you have enough disk space or use third-party tools occasionally, you don’t really need the built-in functionality unless it supports something that the third-party tool does not (like making OneDrive files online-only when they are not used for a while).

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