How to run Disk Cleanup in Windows 11

by Claudiu Andone
Claudiu Andone
Claudiu Andone
Windows & Software Expert
Oldtimer in the tech and science press, Claudiu is focused on whatever comes new from Microsoft. His abrupt interest in computers started when he saw the first Home... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Disk Cleanup is a Windows 11 app that helps you get rid of unnecessary files and free up storage space.
  • You can clean up your disk by uninstalling unused apps or by enabling Storage Sense.
  • If you’re not ready to perform a bulk delete action, you may also remove only the temporary files.
Do a Disk Cleanup in Windows 11

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In time, your system fills out with unnecessary files that take up space and clog your PC that eventually starts to slow down.

So, it’s important to run Disk Cleanup once in a while to get rid of that data and free up some space on your drive.

In Windows 11, there aren’t many changes regarding the procedures needed to do that, so if you know how it goes in Windows 10, it will seem familiar to you.

However, the first thing to do is to figure out how much free space you already have on your drive. This way, you will know if you really need to perform this procedure.

How much free space do you need to have on your PC?

It’s really easy to find out how much free space you have left on your drives. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Use the Windows key + E combination to start the File Manager app.
  2. Now click on This PC from the left pane and look at your drive. In our example, we have more than half of the drive free.

Although it’s always useful to have more space, you might not need it right now. However, if you’re planning to install a resource-hungry app or game, it’s always better to be ready and free up as much space as possible.

In our guide below, we explain a few ways to clean up your PC using the Disk Cleanup utility and more, if you want to get the desired outcome faster, we recommend CCleaner that will scan your PC and get rid of unnecessary junk files.

How can I perform a Disk Cleanup in Windows 11?

1. Use the drive Properties option.

  1. Press the Windows key + E combination to start File Manager.
  2. Click on This PC.
  3. Now right-click the C: drive and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  4. In the General tab, click on Disk Cleanup to start the app.
  5. Select the data you want to delete by clicking the corresponding boxes, then on OK.

2. Clean up the disk using Run

  1. Press the Windows + R shortcut on your keyboard to start Run.
  2. Type the following line and press Enter to run it: cleanmgr /VERYLOWDISK
  3. After the command has run, you will receive a report of how much space you’ve managed to free up.

You can also use the following command to clean up your disk, but it will erase less data than with the command provided in our steps above:cleanmgr /LOWDISK

If you want to choose which files to clean, use this line, then press Enter to run it:cleanmgr /sageset:1

It will start the Disk Cleanup utility with a minimum of options checked but you can click the boxes you want from the menu.

3. Enable Storage Sense

  1. Click the Windows button and select Settings.
  2. Access the System option from the right and select Storage.
  3. Now toggle the Storage Sense button to On.
  4. If you click on the Storage Sense option further, you will be able to configure it. By default, the feature will start to clean up unnecessary files in a low disk space situation. You can change that by clicking on the Run Storage Sense menu.
  5. Select the right option for you to perform the action automatically. You can choose from three settings: daily, weekly or monthly.

Storage Sense is the automatic cleaning option that you can also find in Windows 10. If you don’t set it up, it will only be triggered when your disk space is low.

However, if you follow the steps above, you will be able to configure it to start within desired time intervals so that you don’t need to do that manually again.

4. Remove only the temporary files

  1. Press the Windows key + R to start the Run app.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter or click OK: %tmp%
  3. The action will open a File Manager app with the contents of the Temp folder on your PC.
  4. Press the Ctrl + A shortcut to select all the files and folders, then right click on them and select the Delete option (the bin icon). You can also just hit the Delete key on your keyboard after selecting the files.

If you’re not ready to perform a bulk delete action by using the Disk Cleanup app, you can simply just delete the junk files from the Temp folder on your PC.

How to increase your drive space on your PC?

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You might be in a situation where you run out of space on your drive but you already deleted all unnecessary files, folders, or programs.

However, you have a couple of options that you can use in order to increase the available space.

Extend your system partition

Note icon
This is an advanced procedure so make sure you backup data on your drives before starting.

  1. Click the Windows search icon from Taskbar, type create and format, and click on Create and format hard disk partitions from the results.
  2. Right-click the non-system partition and select Delete Volume from the menu. Be aware that this action will delete all the data from that partition. Also, make sure that you don’t select the system partition instead.
  3. Now right-click your system partition (usualy it’s the C: partition) and select the Extend Volume option.
  4. Windows will automatically allocate all the free space to the system drive and you selected, thus increasing its amount of space.

If you have more partitions on your drive, you can delete an existing non-system partition to achieve your goal.

Upgrade your PC or buy an external drive

Eventually, if nothing else works and you need more space, you’re only left with the option to install a new internal or external drive on your PC.

We have an excellent list including the best external SSD drives with USB-C connection that will not only solve the space problem but are also a lot faster than HDDs.

Drive space can be problematic if you’re trying to install or run more demanding apps and Disk Cleanup is the first and most convenient option to free up some useful space.

The amount of drive space you clean depends on how many applications you installed and for how long did you use your PC.

However, besides running the Disk Cleanup app, you can also manually uninstall some old apps that you no longer use.

Navigate to Settings > Apps > Apps & features in Windows 11 and take a closer look at the list of apps to get rid of the ones that you don’t need anymore.

We hope that our guide not only helped you use the Disk Cleanup app but also provided information on how to free up space on your computer or upgrade your storage.

You can also check out our list including the best deep clean hard drive software that will assist you in optimizing the drive space.

If you have any questions or suggestions, you’re welcome to leave them in the comments section below.

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