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Windows 7 - How to Use Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is a utility that you should get into the habit of using on a regular basis. Over time, your computer gathers an ever-increasing amount of useless data which you no longer need. This includes disk space used by old system restore files, deleted files in the recycle bin, temporary Internet files and much more. Although today's hard disks usually provide more space than most people ever use, it's a good idea to get rid of clutter that you no longer need. Disk Cleanup can also be run automatically on a schedule. The following guide will show you how to use the utility yourself.

You'll find Disk Cleanup in the Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > System > System Tools folder. Alternatively, you can just type "Disk Cleanup" into the start menu search box and press Enter.

Disk Cleanup will ask you which disk you want to clean. This will normally be the primary drive or partition on your computer – the one which Windows is installed on. On most computers, this is the "C" drive. This is also the drive which generates the most clutter. If you have any additional drives or partitions on your computer, you can usually ignore them. With the drive selected, click "OK" and wait for Disk Cleanup to scan your computer for space which can be freed up. If there are a lot of files which can be removed, this may take a few minutes.

You'll be presented with a list of files which you can delete. You can safely delete all of these files. If you're not sure, you can select an option and read the description of those files. Check the boxes for the files that you want to delete. You'll be able to see the total amount of disk space you can gain. Click "OK" when you're ready to delete the files and wait for Disk Cleanup to complete the process. This may take some time if there is a lot to delete.

You'll also notice another tab in the Disk Cleanup utility called "More Options." Open this tab. Clicking "Clean up" below "Programs and Features" will bring you to the section of the control panel where you can remove unwanted programs and Windows features. The second button underneath "System Restore and Shadow Copies" will delete all but the most recent restore point and backup copies. This often clears up a great deal of disk space so it's worth doing to keep your computer running optimally.


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