When your computer runs low on available hard drive space, you can run the Disk Cleanup utility that comes with the Windows operating system. If you have been using computers for a while, you might be accustomed to locating unnecessary files and deleting them yourself. However, there are certain advantages to letting an automatic tool like Disk Cleanup do some of the work for you.
Disk Cleanup deletes files from a variety of locations, such as the cached interactive content and temporary files saved by Internet Explorer, log files, saved memory dumps from computer crashes, old system restore points and the contents of the Recycle Bin. Although you can find and delete all of these files manually, Disk Cleanup does it in far less time. For users who do not know how to delete these files manually, Disk Cleanup eliminates the need for them to learn the process.
Disk Cleanup has the ability to search your computer for files that you have not used for a while and compress them. Compressing files increases the amount of free space on your hard drive without deleting any files. However, compressed files take longer to open because the computer has to decompress them when you need to use them. File compression is an optional feature. If you have more than enough hard drive space, you might prefer not to use it.
Recovers Hard Drive Space
The most prominent advantage of Disk Cleanup is that it recovers hard drive space. It is not uncommon for Disk Cleanup to recover hundreds--if not thousands--of megabytes of storage space. For example, Windows writes the contents of the computer's memory to the hard drive by default if the computer crashes. This file, called a "memory dump," is as large as the amount of RAM in your computer. If you have 2GB of RAM and your computer has ever experienced a blue screen error, running Disk Cleanup will recover at least 2GB of space.