Please note the following:
This instruction has been written to the best of our knowledge, which is based on over a decade of experience. We are not liable for possible failures and/or damages, as well as possible data loss. Therefore, please save your personal and important data on an external storage medium before. Following comments are not a part of this instruction, so we cannot be held responsible for them. Basically, the comment function is to evaluate and express an opinion to this instruction. Suggestions for improvements or corrections to this instruction should generally be mentioned via the forum. If you do not feel able to follow the steps or have any doubts, we advise not to use the following instruction!
Windows is pumped up with redundant files at almost every corner of the system:
- Temporary files
- Backup copies of updates and upgrades
- Remaining data and/or folder of uninstalled programs
- Remainders of the drivers and
- even if you reinstall the operating system, using the integrated reinstallation function in Windows 10, there are still remnants of the "previous" operating system. It was also possible to reinstall older versions of Windows, without clearing the hard disk completely. We are talking about the "Windows.old-folder", which you can always find on the system hard disk after reinstallation, unless, you have used an external storage medium such as a USB-Stick and deleted all partitions before it has been created a new one, on which the system was fresh installed.
The above mentioned points are only some of the countless possibilities for Windows to take away the joy of free storage space. All this has the consequence, that the hard disk, with many small and large files which increase the use of the internal storage up to several gigabytes, without these files ever being used by a normal user. We show you how to clean these files!
Let's start with "Disk Cleanup", which fortunately can clean most corners of the system. For this follow these steps:
- Press and hold the [WINDOWS-button] and additionally press the [E-button]. Alternatively, click the [FOLDER-icon] at the bottom of the taskbar.
- If you are now in the "Documents" folder, click on "Computer", in the context menu, on the left of the current window.
- Your system hard disk is displayed under "Devices and drives". If you have more than one hard disk, double-click the first one. If you see the "Windows" folder there, then you have already found the system hard disk. However, you must return to the "Computer" menu, if you have just searched for the corresponding hard disk and the folder it contains.
- Right-click on the system hard disk and then click, in the menu which has opened, on "Properties".
- The opening small window is already the right place. Quite in the middle of this window is the button "Clean". Click on it and another window opens after a short loading or rather collecting of necessary information.
- In this window you can already see approximately, how much data garbage has been collected by your system already. But that's not all. Click on "Clean up system files" below. Administrator rights are required. If you are asked whether you really want to execute the action, confirm with "Yes".
- Again, a short moment occurs in which necessary informations are collected in the window that opens. Depending on the system and the amount of data waste, it may take some time to collect the required data.
- The already known window should open again and contains further points now. There is a description for each point, which explains why these files exist. More about that later.
- If you have decided that the files can be removed without hesitation, since your system has run without errors anyway, or if you have already noticed that the integrated "Problem Detection and Solution" has never really worked, then simply click on "Ok" below.
- Again, depending on the system, this may take some time to complete. As soon as the process is finished, you have released almost exactly the amount, which was shown before under the point "Memory that is released", which was displayed directly below the list.
- At the end of the article is a description of, what we believe, are worth mentioning. This should help you decide whether you want to clear a point or not.
Clean up browser data:
It's worth to have a look over the browser(s) used. Because they also collect a lot of information and offline data, which is rarely needed again. Cookie and cache files are the most commonly used, but cookie and cache files are generated with each page you visit. It's the quantity that matters. So if you're using the Internet a lot, you'll use up a noteworthy amount of disk space sooner or later. Especially if several browsers are used for one and the same website. It is therefore recommended to bite in the sour apple and clean up the browser data every 6 months. The disadvantage here is, that all websites, on which you were automatically logged in or which were loaded quickly due to the cache, require a new login or need a bit longer than usual to load, until new cookies and cache has been generated. Since the browsers often change in structure, an instruction for this would be very time-consuming, since this would mean that we had to update the instruction more frequently. But you can quickly find the instruction suitable for the current version via the respective developer page of the browser. We ask for your understanding.
Programs that are no longer used or have been forgotten:
Basically, this is not tragic if there are programs on the computer that are not in use and/or have been forgotten. However, it is always worth checking the list of installed programs and apps, if you run out of disk space, to remove unneeded programs or apps. The list for this under Windows 10 can be found via the following steps:
- Simply click the [WINDOWS-icon] located at the bottom left corner and
- then select, directly two icons up, the [GEAR-icon] (Settings) and then,
- in the window that opens, click on "Apps".
- All programs and apps installed by the user are displayed here. Pre-installed apps are also listed here.
This brings us to the point - remaining files after uninstallation:
At best, all folders and files for the respective uninstalled program were removed. However, a subsequent check is definitely not wrong. Files and folders can remain when the program has not been removed properly by its uninstaller or rather by Windows. To check this, you only need to switch to the file path in which the program was located. If you see a folder with the same name as the program or the name of the developer of the fresh uninstalled program, you can safely delete it, after a short check, to make sure, that there are no other programs in this folder.
Now briefly to the individual points of the disk cleanup:
The listed backups for updates and upgrades:
These are basically only obsolete backups that have already been replaced by more recent ones. The system does not delete them, in the unlikely event, that these backups are needed sometime. At this point, however, you have to be honest to yourself: If your system is already that damaged that you desperately try to use old backups, you can also reinstall the system instead. This saves you a lot of time and probably leads to the same result. Even if you try to recover files, which are important to you, it is not certain that they already existed on the system at the time of the backup used or were already covered by this backup. Furthermore, when attempting to recover files, they may have been recovered damaged afterwards. Since not all segments of the file could be captured and therefore they might be unusable anyway. That would be hours and hours of effort for nothing. The decision is still yours. It is not wrong to work with a little skepticism. However, it is also not wrong to take risks. Just make sure you back up all your personal and important files before you continue. A regular backup, for example via a NAS system, is recommended anyway, or connecting an external hard disk directly to the router for the use in the private network. For those, who don't have any important documents, but would like to store the recently taken photos safely.
Temporary files serve the purpose that programs that are in constant or sporadic editing, such as a graphics program, or a text program that saves at regular intervals, can access these files to read the file at the last point where the program has been closed or the system has been shut down, to continue without a big lack of work loss. If there is even need to talk about work loss. However, files that belong to a program that has not been touched for months or is no longer available are also often collected in the temporary folder. Unfortunately, these temporary files are not always deleted by the respective program on completion. The RAM is thus relieved but the hard disk is filled with no longer required temporary data. This folder can usually be deleted without further consequences. For example, when editing an image, which is a bit more time-consuming, the user will have defined a fixed storage point anyway in order to quickly access it again. This applies to almost everything. So if you're not a developer, you don't have to worry too much about it. Just make sure that you have backed up all the files that are important to you.
Temporary Internet files:
This folder will usually always be very small. This saves visited pages offline and only updates corresponding changes to speed up loading. However, this only applies to Internet Explorer. Since a different browser is usually used anyway, you don't have to think long.
The system generated Windows error reports:
If you are not an IT specialist or do not put your system in the hands of one, you do not need these files in 99% of cases. As mentioned above, in 99% of cases Windows is also not able to solve the problem itself even with the presence of these files or it only does what you have already done by yourself. An IT specialist can read these files manually and probably determine the error with the help of these files if necessary.
DirectX shader cache:
Useful for graphics-intensive applications for faster loading and possibly improved response times. We recommend that you delete these files three to four times and observe whether you notice a difference when using a graphics-intensive application. We have not recognized any difference.
Files for transmission compression:
Unfortunately, we do not have precise information here. As far as we understand this, these are compressed remnants of past and already deleted downloads. These remainders are called up during the download and can speed up the download, provided that it concerns a file which one had already downloaded once. Unfortunately, we do not know whether this description is actually correct. Deleting these files has, in our opinion and experience, no negative effect.
Device driver packages:
Remainders of old drivers that have already been updated and act as "backups". In our opinion - completely superfluous. This could only be useful if this is a network driver that has been updated but does not work as intended by the manufacturer. So only if Internet access is no longer possible and you have to return to the old driver version.
The remaining, not mentioned points belong to the rarest cases or have, however, no appreciable negative effect except for example that when cleaning the thumbnail view, pictures would have to be regenerated in the thumbnail view. If necessary disk space can be freed, it can be cleaned up without hesitation. However, it is recommended to check the recycle bin to make sure that you did not accidentally move important files there, or that they were accidentally deleted and moved to the recycle bin.
You need further help? You can describe your individual request in our forum. We will gladly help you as good as possible!