If you want to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your hard disk to free up disk space and help your computer run faster, use Disk Cleanup. It removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need. For more information about deleting files from the Recycle Bin, see Permanently delete files from the Recycle Bin.

Watch this video to learn how to delete files using Disk Cleanup (1:13)

To delete files using Disk Cleanup

The following procedure cleans up files associated with your user account. You can also use Disk Cleanup to clean up all the files on your computer.

  1. Open Disk Cleanup by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type Disk Cleanup, and then, in the list of results, click Disk Cleanup.

  2. In the Drives list, click the hard disk drive that you want to clean up, and then click OK.

  3. In the Disk Cleanup dialog box, on the Disk Cleanup tab, select the check boxes for the file types that you want to delete, and then click OK.

  4. In the message that appears, click Delete files.

To clean up all files on the computer

  1. Open Disk Cleanup by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type Disk Cleanup, and then, in the list of results, click Disk Cleanup.

  2. In the Drives list, click the hard disk drive that you want to clean up, and then click OK.

  3. In the Disk Cleanup dialog box, click Clean up system files. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. In the Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection dialog box, select the hard disk drive that you want to clean up, and then click OK.

  5. In the Disk Cleanup dialog box, on the Disk Cleanup tab, select the check boxes for the file types that you want to delete, and then click OK.

  6. In the message that appears, click Delete files.

    The More Options tab is available when you choose to clean files from all users on the computer. This tab includes two additional ways to free even more disk space:

    • Programs and Features. This option opens Programs and Features in Control Panel, where you can uninstall programs that you no longer use. The Size column in Programs and Features shows how much disk space each program uses.

    • System Restore and Shadow Copies. With this option, you can delete all but the most recent restore point on the disk.

      System Restore uses restore points to return your system files to an earlier point in time. If your computer is running normally, you can save disk space by deleting the earlier restore points.

      In some editions of Windows 7, restore points can include previous versions of files, known as shadow copies, and backup images created with Windows Complete PC Backup. These files and images will also be deleted. For more information about System Restore, see What is System Restore?