As time goes by, our hard drives fill up with all kinds of files. Many of them garbage and unnecessary. Therefore, one of the most basic maintenance tasks for any computer is cleaning the hard drives and freeing up space. Although we often use third-party applications, Windows has its own program to free up space, a very basic and simple program that simply does its job without endangering the other data on our PC. However, what happens when Windows 10 Cleaner is not available for some reason?
Windows has many unexplained glitches that randomly affect users. And one of them affects the Windows 10 space cleaner, preventing users from using it normally.
How to open Windows Cleanup
The Windows 10 Cleaner is included by default in the operating system; it is a characteristic of Windows. To access it, we simply have to open a File Explorer window, go to the “This computer” section, select a hard drive with the right mouse click and open the “Properties” window. In the new window that will appear, we will be able to see a button called « Free up space «.
Clicking on this button will automatically launch Windows Disk Cleanup. This is very simple to use. We can see a series of elements, with what each one occupies. We must select everything we want to delete and click on “OK” to start the cleaning. As we can see, we have two interesting buttons. The first one, ” Clean system files “, which will show us advanced options to free up more space, and the second, ” View files “, which will allow us to see the files to be deleted before deleting them.
Once we have selected everything we want to delete, we simply accept the window and the wizard will free up the space on our hard drive. When it finishes, we will have more free space on the PC. This tool is totally safe. Of course, we must be careful with what we select or do not select, since among the options that appear we will find the “Downloads” folder on our PC. And this could make us lose important files.
What happens when this tool doesn’t work
If for some reason this tool is damaged, what we will find is that, when we click on the button « Free space «, instead of opening the section to choose what we want or do not want to delete, a window of the File Browser. This window will point to the Windows System32 directory, leaving the user free to delete whatever they want.
This is very dangerous. System32 is a key directory for running Windows 10, and seeing this folder when clicking on free up space can be misleading. And some users may start deleting things from here. We must never do this.
If the Windows 10 space cleaner is broken, so we can repair it and get it working normally again.
Repair tool to free up hard drive space
Generally, the problem is that either the ” cleanmgr.exe ” tool has disappeared from the Windows “System32” directory (which we can manually check to see if it exists), or the registry file pointing to said program has been deleted .
In the first case, the only thing we can do to make the tool work normally again is to restore it, either by copying it from another PC or by performing a Windows repair. In the second case, we simply have to make a small change in the Windows registry to make it work again.
We execute the command “regedit” within the Windows 10 search engine, and in the window that appears we will move to the following directory:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE> SOFTWARE> Microsoft> WindowsCurrentVersion> Explorer> MyComputer
Once here, what we will do is enter the registry key «cleanuppath» and we will find inside a value called «(Default)». We open it with a double click and we will make sure that its value corresponds to the following as it appears in the screenshot:
% SystemRoot% System32cleanmgr.exe / D% c
We accept, close regedit and that’s it. Now we can try again to open the program to free up Windows space, and we can see how the Windows disk cleanup works correctly.
Storage Sense: An Alternative to Space Cleanup in Windows 10
Windows 10 not only has this classic disk space cleaner (which has been part of the operating system for many years), but it also has another more complete and intuitive tool to keep our hard drives clean: the Storage Sensor.
This program to free up space came with one of the Windows 10 updates and, thanks to it, it is possible to forget about programs like CCleaner and the like. It allows us to analyze our system to see the data that can be deleted, it gives us more control than what the Windows space cleaner offers us. In addition, it even allows us to schedule periodic cleanings.
The Windows Storage Sensor is found within the Settings> System> Storage menu.