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How to do disk cleanup on Windows

Is your hard drive full and can't install other programs? Have you connected an external disk that Windows sees as full but you don't know how to empty it? Here you will find all the methods for cleaning the disk on Windows to make free space simply and quickly.How to do disk cleanup on Windows to free up spaceWith the steps described in the following guide you will be able to recover (in most cases) several GB occupied by useless data, deleted files still present in the recycle bin and heavy programs that you have not used for a long time.

All the advice in the guide does not use third-party programs but tools integrated into the Windows operating system.

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How to delete files on Windows to free up space

Empty the trash

The first method is really the simplest: empty the Windows recycle bin.If you do not do this regularly, the recycle bin can occupy considerable portions of disk space, even several GB! So before trying any other method try to empty the recycle bin , you may be surprised at the amount of space you can recover.

Click with the right mouse button on the trash can icon and click on the item Empty trash.

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Make sure to do this even with the external hard drives connected (USB or eSATA), otherwise "their" baskets will remain full (each disk unit has its own basket).

Cleaning disk

Windows has a tool to perform an accurate cleaning and delete files. Thus allowing you to recover space occupied by temporary files, driver packages and updates and other unnecessary files on your PC.

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You must select the disk drive on which you want to perform the cleaning operation; open the iconComputer resourcesor This PC, click the right mouse button on the hard disk on which you want to free up space and select properties.

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In the window that appears, click on "Disk Cleanup".

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A new window will open; activate your voice immediately Cleaning system files to enable new items useful later to perform a thorough cleaning.

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Now you can select all the items present and choose the file types in File to be deleted and click OK at the bottom to start the procedure on the disk (for example, delete the types of temporary files).

Among the items present there are also old residuals of Windows Update following some Windows update that are no longer necessary, internet browsing cache and logs for reporting errors of its operating system to Microsoft.

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System restore

System Restore is a feature included in Windows that allows you to restore the operating system following problems and errors. This tool creates real system images every time you install a new program or while running particular programs (often about backup and security). In the long run, the hard drive fills up with recovery images: "recovery points" that take up quite a lot of space. To free up disk space, you can remove all recovery images. I recommend that you keep the last restore point to still maintain an image of a previous version to be restored in case of problems. So you can recover a lot of space.

Repeat all the steps seen in the previous part of the guide (This PC -> Hard Disk-> Properties -> Disk Cleanup and click Cleaning system files) and click on the tab at the top of the window Other optionsIn this window click on Clean up in the section System Restore and Shadow Copies.

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Remove heavy and unnecessary programs

If you have installed a large number of heavy programs, they will affect the space available. To find the heaviest programs and files that take up a large portion of space on your disk, you can use a free program such as WinDirStat.

You can download it from the following link.


After launching this program you will have a report on the "largest" folders on the selected disk (you can select any drive connected to the system). You will find out what is the program that takes up too much space on your disk.

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You can either use the part of the program with the folders arranged in a tree (from the heaviest to the lightest), or understand which type of file takes up the most space (to the right of the image). The lower part shows the heavier folders graphically, so to be able to understand immediately which are some of the heaviest files and therefore to free up disk space.

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