The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide

MakeUseOf | 7/23/2019 | Ben Stegner
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Over time, every Windows installation builds up junk that takes up space and wastes resources. We all forget to perform regular maintenance, so often the problem comes from old files and programs.

If you don’t clean your computer, though, before long you’ll encounter low disk space warnings and notice it slowing down. We’ll walk you through how to clean Windows 10 using a variety of tools for different situations.

OS - Pair - Tools - Files - Disk

The OS includes a pair of similar tools for clearing out old temporary files from your disk, meaning you don’t need a dedicated Windows cleaner app. They’re a great first stop on your Windows 10 cleanup journey.

If you don’t mind an old-school interface, the classic Disk Cleanup tool gets the cleaning job done. Access it by typing Disk Cleanup into the Start Menu and selecting the disk you want to clean.

Moment - List - Files - Administrator - Clean

After a moment, you’ll see a list of unnecessary files that Windows can clean up. Assuming you’re an administrator, click the Clean up system files button to scan again for additional types of data.

Feel free to delete pretty much every category of data available here, with a few exceptions. Watch out for Downloads, which will delete everything in that folder. You may also want to avoid cleaning the Recycle Bin until you’re sure that you don’t need to restore anything from it.

Version - Windows - Windows - Installation - Entry

If you’ve recently updated to a new major version of Windows 10, you’ll see a Previous Windows installation(s) entry. Deleting this will remove the old files Windows keeps for 10 days that allows you to easily go back to an earlier version. You should also avoid removing the Windows ESD installation files option, as this is used for resetting your PC via Settings.

Windows 10 includes much of this same functionality at Settings > System > Storage. You can use Storage Sense, found...
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