How to Run Disk Cleanup in Windows Vista

The Windows Vista Disk Cleanup utility helps maintain your computer's performance by removing old, unneeded files and temporary internet files.

Disk Cleanup can be found in the Start Menu by going to Accessories -> System Tools.

Disk Cleanup

When the application starts, you need to select the disk you want to cleanup (usually the C: drive), then click OK.

Disk Cleanup will scan the selected disk and calculate how much space you can free up.

Disk Cleanup

The results are then shown in the Disk Cleanup window. Select the categories you want to be deleted and then click on OK.

Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup will ask for your confirmation. Click on Delete files and the cleanup process will start.

Disk Cleanup

After the progress bar fills up the Disk Cleanup window will disappear, and cleanup is complete.

Disk Cleanup


File Categories in Disk Cleanup Utility

There are several different categories available to clean:

  • Downloaded Program Files

These are ActiveX controls and Java applets downloaded from Web sites that are temporarily stored in the Downloaded Program Files folder.

  • Temporary Internet Files

Temporary internet files are files stored on your computer when visiting websites. These files can take up a significant amount of space, and can be safely deleted.

  • Offline Webpages

These files are website files stored for offline use, and can be safely deleted.

  • Recycle Bin

Empties the Recycle Bin of any deleted files.

  • System Error Memory Dump Files

These files are created when Windows encounters an error, and contain technical information about the error. These can usually be safely deleted.

  • Setup Log Files

These are log files created by setup programs, and can be safely deleted.

  • Backup Files For Previous Operating System

This category involves files backed up from an previous Windows operating system upgrade installation. You may not have this category if your computer has never had its operating system upgraded.