Home Tutorial The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Matthew Harris

Like any other OS, Windows 10 experiences junk build-up over time. This build-up leads to wasted resources and space constraints that eventually affect your PC’s performance and speed. If you fail to conduct maintenance routines regularly, old programs and files may exacerbate the issue. Therefore, you need to understand the effective procedure to clean your PC. Below is a step-by-step guide to cleaning your PC using different tools depending on the situation. 

Step 1: Delete Temporary Files

Windows 10 has two standard tools that you can use to delete the temporary files from your disk without the need for a Windows cleaner app. These tools should be the first thing you think of whenever you want to clean up your PC. 

Disk Cleanup

Every Windows 10 PC has a disk cleanup tool that efficiently gets the cleaning job done. You access the tool by typing “Disk Cleanup” on the “Start” menu and selecting your target disk. Once you open the target disk, a list of files will appear. These are all the unnecessary files available for Windows to clean up. If you’re an administrator, you can select the “Clean Up System Files” option to rescan any additional files available for cleanup. 

Here, you can delete every data available but be sure to check that you don’t have crucial files under “Downloads” or “Recycle Bin.” Other essential files that require consideration before erasing include the “Previous Windows Installation(s)” that can help resume your previous Windows version if you encounter problems with the new version. Similarly, “Windows ESD Installation Files” can help you reset your PC through “Settings.” 

Storage Sense

Storage Sense has the same functionality as Disk Cleanup discussed above but has a friendlier interface making cleanup clearer. So, you can use this route if your PC disk space is low or when conducting a routine cleanup. To get to Storage Sense;

  1. Open “Settings.” 
  2. Click “System.”
  3. Open “Storage.”

Windows will show a list of all the files eating up your PC space.

  1. Click “Temporary Files” to clean up your disk, just like in Disk Cleanup. 
  2. Click “Show More Categories” if you want more information about the types of data and the space they occupy.

Step 2: Delete Large Files

Now that you’ve erased all the unnecessary files on your PC, the next step is locating the programs and files, taking large spaces of the device storage. Since these files are scattered on your PC, finding and deleting each of them would be a hassle. Therefore, you need the help of trusted software such as TreeSize Free to locate all the biggest files and the respective spaces they occupy. Once you install the TreeSize Free software, launch it and “Select Directory” to access your PC’s primary storage disk. 

A visual breakdown will appear, showing all the largest files arranged in descending order on your PC. Notably, the folders you find on the top will include “Users,” “Program Files,” or “Windows.” Be sure to scrutinize these folders to avoid deleting crucial files and causing additional issues with your PC.

Uninstall Big Programs

An alternative way to access unnecessary files under “Program Files” is through “Settings.” Click “Apps” then “Apps & Features” to find and uninstall files for most of the apps you’ve installed on your PC. 

Use The User Folder To remove Large Files

Usually, the “Users” folder has the most space-hogging files, including videos, pictures, and documents. Under “Users” you’ll find the “AppData” folder containing most Appstore preferences and data, such as the Spotify and Chrome caches. Take a close look at what is in this folder and delete all the unnecessary files or move some to an external hard drive. 

Step 3: Clean the Bloatware

If you’re yet to remove bloatware from your system, it’s time you did. Check whether your Windows 10 PC has worthless manufacturer bloatware and unnecessary junk apps. Several apps, including “News” and “Sports,” are easy to remove through regular uninstallation. Unfortunately, most bloatware doesn’t appear in the “Apps & Features” list simply because Microsoft and other manufacturers stand to profit by using it to deliver products. Besides, not all apps are considered equal, and some may require third-party uninstallers or PowerShell commands to hide or remove. Others such as Cortana can’t be removed entirely from the system.

Step 4: Keep your Desktop Organized

Even after cleaning up your PC, a messy desktop may still be confusing and hard to operate. If you use your desktop as a storage space, you’re likely to have different types of files scattered on the screen. Try resetting the desktop and making it neater by moving all files to a different location and creating shortcuts to the most critical files. Once this is done, you’ll feel like you have a whole new PC. 

Refresh Windows 10 If Necessary

If you feel that your PC is such a mess or you don’t want to waste all the time cleaning up Windows 10, you can instead reinstall a fresh Windows. One of the common ways to reset the PC is through the “Reset PC” option under the “Recovery” settings. However, this is not the wise route to resetting your PC as the machine may restore beyond what you need and probably include the manufacturer’s bloatware. Below is an alternative method to reset your PC.

  1. Open “Settings.”
  2. Go to “Recovery.”
  3. Click “Get Started” under “Reset This PC.”
  4. Pick “Keep My Files”
  5. Select “No” when asked whether to “Restore Preinstalled Apps.”

Even though Windows keeps settings and personal files safe, it’s advisable to back up your files before refreshing in case something goes awry. 

The cleanup methods provided here should be sufficient to create a substantial space in your Windows 10 PC. Make regular cleanups and you won’t have to worry about your PC disk space or performance. Above all, ensure you don’t delete crucial files to avoid breaking your computer. 

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