How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10

How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10

Here's how to delete temporary files and free up even more space on Windows 11 and even Windows 10 too!

1. In the search box on the taskbar or from the Start menu, type "disk cleanup" and click Open under Disk Cleanup.

2. Select the drive you want to free up space from the dropdown menu and click OK.

3. Once Disk Cleanup scans the drive you want to clean, it will provide a list of file types that you can select to delete from your PC. Click the checkboxes under Files to delete next to the file types you want to delete.

4. Click OK to delete those file types from your PC.

5. Disk Cleanup will prompt you to confirm that you are sure that you want to delete these files permanently. Click Delete files if you want to proceed.

When you want to free up more space on Windows 11, what's the first thing you do? We gave you some options on how to use Windows 10's built-in tools to free up more space.

In this guide, we will show you how to free up even more space using the Disk Cleanup utility on Windows 11, and by the way, you can use these same instructions on Windows 10 too.

Use Disk cleanup to free up more space on Windows 11

Using Disk cleanup allows you to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows by allowing you to also delete system files. Here's what you need to do.

Delete temporary files

1. In the search box on the taskbar or from the Start menu, type "disk cleanup" and click Open under Disk Cleanup.
How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022
2. Select the drive you want to free up space from the dropdown menu and click OK.
How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022
3. Once Disk Cleanup scans the drive you want to clean, it will provide a list of file types that you can select to delete from your PC. Click the checkboxes under Files to delete next to the file types you want to delete.

Here's a list of each file type is and what it does.

  • Downloaded Program Files: These are ActiveX controls and Java applets downloaded automatically form the internet when you view certain webpages.
  • Temporary Internet Files: This contains webpages stored on your hard disk for quick viewing. Your personalized settings for webpages remain intact.
  • DirectX Shader Cache: This is where your PC saves files created by the graphics card system which can speed up application load time and improve responsiveness. These files can be easily regenerated if needed.
  • Delivery Optimization Files: These files are used to download updates from Microsoft. These files are stored in a dedicated cache to be uploaded to other devices on your local network. You can safely delete these files if you need the space.
  • Recycle Bin: These are files that you have already deleted from your PC, but they won't be permanently deleted until you empty your Recycle Bin.
  • Temporary Files: Apps can store temporary information in specific folders. These files can be be cleaned up manually if the app does not do it automatically.
  • Thumbnails: Windows keeps a copy of all of your picture, video, and document thumbnails so they can be displayed quickly when you open a folder. If you delete these files, they can easily be recreated as needed.

4. Click OK to delete those file types from your PC.
How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 20225. Disk Cleanup will prompt you to confirm that you are sure that you want to delete these files permanently. Click Delete files if you want to proceed.
How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022
Disk Cleanup will now delete your files. You may see a window pop up showing you the status of the file types you chose to delete and that "The Disk Cleanup utility is cleaning up unnecessary files on your machine."
How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022

Depending on the speed of your PC and the size of the files you choose to delete, it may take longer or shorter to complete.  Once Disk Cleanup is finished, you may notice a slight boost in speed and responsiveness on your PC.

Delete system files

If you need to free up even more space on Windows, you can also choose to Clean up system files. Here's what you need to do.

1. In Disk Cleanup, under Files to delete click the Clean up system files button.

How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022

2. Choose the drive you want to clean up system files on and click OK

How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022

Once you click OK, Disk Cleanup will clean up your system files to free up more space on Windows.

How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022

When it is finished, you will see the same file types as there were when you deleted temporary files in Disk Cleanup, plus three new Windows-specific file type options:

  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus: These are noncritical files used by Microsoft Defender Antivirus. You can delete these files to free up more space.
  • Device driver packages: Windows keeps copies of all previously installed device driver packages from Windows Update and other sources, even after installing newer versions of drivers. Deleting these files will remove older versions of drivers that are no longer needed. The most current version of each driver package will be kept.
  • Language resource files: These files are unused language resource files for keyboards, voice inputs, etc.

How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022

3. Click the checkboxes of the file types you want to delete and click OK.

How to delete temporary files and free up more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 - OnMSFT.com - September 7, 2022

4. Click Delete files to confirm that you want to permanently delete the system files you selected.

Now, Disk Cleanup will delete the system files you selected. You should now have more space on Windows 11 and Windows 10 than you had before.

How do you free up more space on your PC? Let us know in the comments!

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