How To Remove Junk Files From Your Windows 10 PC

Disorganized and unclean spaces tend to accumulate clutter. This is no different when it comes to your PC. The more you use your computer, the more clutter it builds up.


On slower drives, such as traditional hard drives, junk files can slow your operating system to a crawl. So cleaning them regularly can improve their performance. Windows 10 has built-in tools to remove most junk files, and if anything is left over, you can manually clean it up. We’ll show you how.


Why you should clean your junk files in Windows 10?

Junk files, like junk food, have no benefits. Instead, it can make your system difficult to manage. On computers with puny SSD drives, you may experience insufficient storage and performance issues.

Removing Recycle Bin can help you keep your files and folders organized, save a ton of precious storage space, and improve system performance as your computer no longer has to browse through files that don’t do anything for you.

The Different Types of Junk Files on a Windows Computer

All sorts of resources can create a junk file on your PC, from the remnants of uninstalled programs to that cute wallpaper you downloaded ages ago but eventually got bored. Here are a few common types of junk files that most systems have:

  • Files in the Recycle Bin. Deleted files in your Recycle Bin probably aren’t necessary, but will remain in the folder and sometimes take up gigabytes of storage space.
  • Temporary Windows Files. These are junk files whose use is temporary and becomes obsolete once the current task is completed.
  • Remnants of Windows and third-party software. Uninstalling a program does not delete all files associated with the software. This can often conflict with other programs you are trying to work with.
  • Downloads. The downloads folder usually takes up some of your storage space. Usually, it contains unwanted installers, images, videos and other unnecessary documents that accumulate over time.

Thumbnails and thumbnail photos can be considered junk files. However, you don’t have to clean them if you don’t need to. When it’s cleaned up, your system should generate thumbnails again, which can slow things down.

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Create a restore point before cleaning up junk files

System Restore in Windows allows you to undo system changes by restoring your computer to an earlier restore point. It is helpful if you are deleting a critical system file and encountering problems.

Follow our guide to create a restore point in Windows. Once you have it done, continue with the steps below.

1. Empty the trash to free up space

The Recycle Bin stores all the files you have deleted from your computer. It is a useful utility because you can recover deleted files if you accidentally throw them away. However, if not cleaned regularly, it can accumulate gigabytes of files that eat up your storage space.

Fortunately, cleaning the Recycle Bin is easy. You can permanently select and delete individual files or empty them all at once.

  1. Open the Recycle Bin from the desktop. If you don’t have a desktop shortcut available, type Garbage can in the Windows search bar and click on the best match.
  2. Go through the deleted files. To restore one, right click and choose To recover.
  3. To delete everything, right-click in the folder and choose Empty Trash Can.
  4. You can also perform this action from the desktop. Right click on the Garbage can shortcut and choose Empty Trash Can. Click Yes to confirm the action.

2. Clean up temporary files to get rid of junk

Temporary files are created automatically to hold information for a file in use. Once the task is completed, these files will be deleted. Temporary files are stored in the Windows Temp folder and you can manually clean temporary files to free up disk space in Windows.

To delete temporary files:

  1. press the Win + R to open Run.
  2. Type %temp% and click Okay.
  3. In the temporary folder, press Ctrl + A to select all files and press the remove key. Click To skip for every file that appears to be in use.

Alternatively, Windows 10 comes with Storage Sense, a built-in feature to clean up junk files from multiple sources. If you like the sound of this, you can configure it to delete temporary files automatically.

To set up Storage Sense to delete temporary files, go to Settings > System > Storage. Flip the switch to turn on Storage Sense. Then click Configure Storage Sense or run it now.

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Choose when you want to use Storage Sense. below Temporary filesto check Remove temporary files that my apps aren’t using choice.

The Disk Cleanup utility in Windows is an all-in-one solution to clean up junk files from your computer. It scans and calculates how much space you can free up on the selected drive.

With Disk Cleanup, you can delete unwanted files such as downloads, temporary Windows installation files, temporary Internet files, delivery optimization files, Recycle Bin, and more.

Here’s how to use the Disk Cleanup utility.

  1. In the Windows search bar, type Disk Cleanup and press enter to start the utility.
  2. Choose a drive you want to clean and click Okay. It scans the selected drive for junk files from multiple and common sources.
  3. Then the tool fills the screen with how much space you can free up by deleting various junk files.
  4. Check the box to select the file type you want to clean. To see which files will be deleted, click View files.
  5. click on Clean up system files see Temporary Windows installation files and device driver packages.
  6. Click Okay to remove the unwanted files. Select Delete files to confirm the action.

Leave the Miniature box not checked. Deleting the thumbnail cache can free up a few megabytes of storage space. However, the system has to regenerate them when you search for a file, which will slow down your PC.

4. How to Remove Junk Files Using Command Prompt

Don’t like the graphical user interface? You can clean junk files using Command Prompt. Here are a few commands you can use to take out the trash.

Use one of the following commands to use the Disk Cleanup utility using the Command Prompt:

To skip disc selection and view the category selection menu:

Cleanmgr/sagest

To automate the disk cleanup process without choosing a category:

Cleanmgr/ sagerun

Low disk space? Use this command for a quick cleanup:

Cleanmgr/lowdisk

Cleaning Temporary Files Using Command Prompt

If your work regularly involves cleaning temporary (temporary) files created by a user or the system, a cmd command may come in handy.

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Run this command as an administrator to view temporary files:

%SystemRoot%explorer.exe %temp%

Run this command as an administrator to delete temporary files:

del %temp%*.*/s/q

The Command Prompt is a handy utility. If you’re new to entering commands, we’ve got some helpful tips for mastering the Command Prompt in Windows 10 to get you started.

5. Clean up restore points

System restore points can be life savers. However, too many of them can take up unnecessary space on your storage drive. Although Windows doesn’t show how much space the System Restore takes, you can delete old restore points to free up more space.

You can clean up restore points through the Disk Cleanup utility. Cleaning up restore points removes all but the most recent restore points. Here’s how to do it.

  1. In the Disk Cleanup utility, click the Clean up system files knob.
  2. Select a station and click Okay to start the scan.
  3. Then open the More options tab.
  4. below System Restore and Shadow Copies, Click on the To clean knob.
  5. Select remove to confirm the action.

Alternatively, you can also specify disk space usage for restore points. Handy if you don’t want to deal with frequently deleting restore points.

To specify disk usage space for restore point:

  1. press the To win key and type restore point.
  2. Then click Create a restore point option to open the System properties dialogue.
  3. In the System security tab, click the Configure button under the Security Settings section.
  4. In the pop-up window, adjust the Maximum usage slider to specify disk usage space.
  5. Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Remove junk files to improve Windows 10 performance

Junk files are not a pretty sight and can negatively affect your system performance. However, you can either manually clean up junk or run Disk Cleanup periodically to keep your system clean.

To gain more space, remove unnecessary programs such as bloatware, third-party system cleaners, and other unnecessary applications from your system.

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