Windows 10 Creators Update: The New Modern Way to Clean Up Your Disk Drive


It appears Microsoft has taken another step towards their work to migrate various system tools to their modern Windows Settings app by moving the Disk Cleanup functionality into Storage Settings.

After a system upgrade, such as the recently released Creators Update, I spend a lot of time clicking around the operating system looking for un-announced features and settings that have been added.

As I was doing that in the Creators Update, I came across this option and was caught off guard because I do not remember hearing anything about it over the last eight months that Redstone 2 was under development.

So I jumped on the Internet and started searching for information that might have been previously shared and only came up with one solid reference to this feature and that was an official Windows 10 Help article called Delete your previous version of Windows. That article was updated on the 11th of April when the Creators Update was released but it was also the 5th revision so it has been around in some shape or form previously.

What I also found were a lot of articles on how to free up disk space after upgrading to the Windows 10 Creators Update but all of them pointed to the Disk Cleanup program that has been around in Windows for quite some time. Even I recommended it here on SuperSite for cleaning up your hard drive after the upgrade.

So all of that brings me to this - I am not 100% sure when this feature actually made its way into Windows 10 or if it was a new addition in the Creators Update and just not announced. There was a brief mention of some settings being moved around in Storage Settings when Microsoft released Build 14986 but no specific mention of this feature being added at that time. It is also not uncommon for a new capability to be added into Windows 10 and not be publicized by the Windows team.

Another hindrance to the discovery of this feature is because it is non-intuitive. What I mean by that is that there is no indication that you should click on the hard drive listed in Windows Settings>System>Storage to see more information about the content on that disk drive.

Well that is where you begin and then you work your way to the listing of Temporary Files on that system drive and you will discover options for cleaning up four categories of files from your disk drive:

-- Temporary Files
-- Downloads Folder
-- Empty Recycle Bin
-- Previous version of Windows

Two of those options overlap with the new Storage Sense feature that is available in the Creators Update - removing temporary files and emptying the Recycle Bin - and that maintenance feature can be turned on for automatic handling of those files. If you do not have a previous version of Windows on your disk drive you will not see that option.

In the past there was only one option to manually remove previous Windows builds when upgrading from build to build as an Insider or after a feature update was released and that was to use the Disk Cleanup program.

It now seems there is a modern alternative to the Disk Cleanup program that deals with all of the files that take up space on our devices and can be safely removed. I suspect the day is coming in a future feature update for Windows 10, maybe even Redstone 3 that is due this fall, that Disk Cleanup will be deprecated and fully replaced by its modern successor. With this feature being available in Windows 10 maybe we all need to begin a new habit of using it instead of the Disk Cleanup program and make that move now!

So, did you see these settings before today? How did you discover them?


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