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Summary :

what is safe to delete in Disk Cleanup

Windows Disk Cleanup can be used to delete files on the computer hard drive to free up disk space. Do you know what is safe to delete in Disk Cleanup? Windows ESD installation files are the items you should keep, while most other things like Delivery Optimization Files can be deleted, as appropriate. MiniTool will show you a full introduction.

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What Is Windows Disk Cleanup?

Windows Disk Cleanup (cleanmgr.exe) is a Windows snap-in maintenance utility that is used to free up disk space on your computer. This tool can first search and analyze the hard drive for the files that are no longer used.

Disk Cleanup is scanning the drive

After scanning, it will show you a list containing the files like delivery optimization files, Windows ESD installation files, previous Windows installations files, and more that you can delete with this tool.

When you see these files in Disk Cleanup, you may ask: should I delete Windows setup files? Should I delete previous Windows installations? Should I delete Windows ESD installation files? All these questions can be summed up into one question: what is safe to delete in Disk Cleanup?

Note: The deleted files that are not overwritten are still recoverable. All you need is a professional data recovery software.

Before answering the above questions, you can have a look at the files it can detect in your computer hard drive.

Disk Cleanup will show you a number of different file categories after scanning the selected computer hard drive. However, not all the file categories will be displayed in Disk Cleanup. It just shows some of them that Disk Cleanup can get after scanning:

  • Windows Update Cleanup
  • Temporary Internet Files
  • Windows ESD installation files
  • Delivery Optimization Files
  • Delete all System Restore Points
  • Previous Windows installation(s)
  • Temporary Files
  • And more…

The following options can also appear on some previous versions of Windows like Windows 7, and some only appear if your computer has certain types of files on the hard drive:

  • Temporary Setup Files
  • Debug Dump Files
  • Per User Archived Error Reporting
  • Setup Log Files
  • And more…

Some of you are confused when seeing so many file categories in Disk Cleanup. You may don’t know what these files are used for and what is safe to delete in Disk Cleanup.

We collect some information in the following contents that can help you realize these files in Disk Cleanup and decide which files need to be deleted. We hope you can find what you want after reading this article.

You’d Better Not Delete Windows ESD Installation Files in Disk Cleanup

There is one file category you should not delete in Disk Cleanup. It is Windows ESD installation files.

Windows ESD installation files in Disk Cleanup

Usually, the Windows ESD installation files take up a few gigabytes of disk space on your computer. You may think that deleting these files will release a lot of free space for new data. But, we strongly disagree with this idea. Due to the particularity, deleting these files will cause computer problems.

The Windows ESD installation files are related to the feature of “Reset this PC”. They enable you to restore your computer to factory settings. If you delete them, “Reset this PC” will not work normally. If you want to factory reset your computer, you need to use a Windows installation medium instead.

So, just keep the Windows ESD installation files on your computer.

You Can Delete These Files According to the Actual Situation

Indeed, for the most part, the files and folders in Disk Cleanup are safe to delete. Moreover, if your computer is not working normally, removing some of the items in Disk Cleanup may prevent you from uninstalling Windows updates, rolling back the Windows OS, or troubleshooting some computer issues.

Given this, when you see the following options in Disk Cleanup, you need to make a decision according to your actual situation.

Windows Update Cleanup

These files in this category are the old Windows versions you have installed on your computer. It enables you to uninstall any Windows versions. However, if you don’t have the need to uninstall Windows updates, you can feel free to delete it to free up disk space.

Windows Upgrade Log Files

The Windows Upgrade log files are created by the Windows upgrade process. They can help you solve the upgrade-related problems. If you don’t have such issues, you can just delete them.

System Error Memory Dump Files

A well-known stop error is the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). When your computer boots into BSOD, the system will create a memory dump file that can help you identify what goes wrong. While, if you have already fixed the BSOD issue, you can delete these system error memory dump files.

System Archived Windows Error Reporting

The files in System archived Windows error reporting are the error reports created by Windows when a program is crashing. These error reports can help you analyze and fix the program issues.

These error reports have already been sent to Microsoft. Deleting them will not influence your computer. But, of course, you will not see these reports after deletion. Delete them or not, you should make a decision by yourself.

System Queued Windows Error Reporting

This is similar to “System archived Windows Error Reporting”. The only distinction is that the error reports are not sent to Microsoft. You can choose to delete it or not based on your own requirements.

DirectX Shader Cache

DirectX Shader Cache contains the files that are created by the graphics system. These files can be used to speed up application load time and improve responsiveness. If you delete them, they will be re-generated as needed. But, if you believe the DirectX Shader Cache is corrupt or too large, you can delete it.

Delivery Optimization Files

The Windows Update Delivery Optimization feature allows you to get Windows updates from or send updates to the neighboring computers or the machines in your network. This feature makes you get the update faster. But, it will take a lot of space on your computer hard drive.

Delivery Optimization File in Disk Cleanup

If these files really take much disk space or you believe that the Delivery Optimization Files are corrupt, you can delete them. However, if you don’t care about the disk space, you can also keep them.

Device Driver Packages

The old versions of the device drivers are kept in the Device Driver Packages. When needed, you can roll back a device driver in Device Manager to solve some issues. However, if your computer and all the devices work well, you can delete Device Driver Packages in Disk Cleanup.

Delete All System Restore Points

These are the system restore points that you have created for system restore. You can keep them for further use or you can delete them directly if you don’t plan to use them.

Recycle Bin

This is another way to empty Recycle Bin on your computer. You can delete it if you don’t need these files in Recycle Bin.

Previous Windows Installation(s)

After upgrading Windows, your computer will keep the previous Windows system files for 10 days. You can downgrade your Windows within 10 days. 10 days later, the previous Windows installations will be automatically deleted to release space.

When you see this option in Disk Cleanup, you can manually delete them if you are not going to degrade your Windows OS.

Temporary Windows Installation Files

The Windows installation and major upgrade process will generate temporary Windows installation files. If you are not in the process of a Windows installation or major update, you can feel free to delete these files.

You Can Directly Delete These Files in Disk Cleanup

The following options are unimportant for you. You can delete them immediately to release disk space for new data.

Windows Defender

Microsoft doesn’t supply much information about this option. But, it seems that the files in it are not critical for Windows Defender. They are some temporary files and you can remove them without scruple.

Downloaded Program Files

This folder includes ActiveX controls and Java applets that are downloaded from the Internet when you use Internet Explorer to view certain web pages. You can delete them without influencing your computer. Actually, they will be re-downloaded when visiting a web page that needs the files.

Temporary Internet Files

These files are the browser caches that are generated when using Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. With these files, the web browser will load the previous opened website faster in the future. But beyond that, there will be no other influence. You can directly delete them in Disk Cleanup.

Temporary Internet Files

Here, you need to know that the deletion of temporary internet files can only influence Microsoft’s browsers. Some other Windows web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox will maintain the current situation.

Temporary Files

These are the files that haven’t been modified in over a week. You can feel free to delete them.

Thumbnails

These are the thumbnail images for videos, pictures, documents. If you delete them, Windows will re-create them when you access a folder that contains those files again.

The followings are some files that appear in the old Windows versions or related to some certain types of files. If you don’t need to use them to solve some system or software issues, or some other special situations, you can feel free to delete them:

  • Temporary Setup Files: the files that are created when you install a program.
  • Offline Webpages: the webpages for offline browsing in Internet Explorer.
  • Debug Dump Files: Debugging files that are created after a crash.
  • Per User Archived Error Reporting: it is similar to System archived Windows Error Reporting
  • Per User Queued Windows Error Reporting: it is similar to System queued Windows Error Reporting.
  • Old Chkdsk Files: the fragments of corrupted files.
  • Game Statistics Files: your game scores and other statistics.
  • Setup Log Files: the files that are created when installing a program.
  • System Error Minidump Files: they are similar to the memory dump files. But, they take less disk space.
  • Files Discarded by Windows Upgrade: the system files that will not be migrated to a new computer when performing a Windows update.

What Is Safe to Delete in Disk Cleanup?

Here, we will make a summary:

Except for the Windows ESD Installation files, if you are not going to roll back a device driver, uninstall a Windows update, downgrade Windows version, or fix a system issue, it is safe to delete almost all files in Disk Cleanup.

What If Files Are Deleted by Mistake in Disk Cleanup

If you mistakenly delete some files, such as the files you want to restore in Recycle Bin, you can use free data recovery software to get them back. MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a good choice.

This software is a special file recovery tool that can be used to rescue files from hard drives, SD cards, memory cards, and more in different situations. As long as the deleted files are not overwritten by new data, you can use this software to rescue them.

It has a trial edition. You can first use it to see whether it can find the files that need to be restored. You can press the following button to get this freeware.

Free Download

The following is a guide on how to use this software to scan your computer hard drive and find your needed files:

1. Open the software.

2. Stay at This PC and select the drive that originally contains the deleted files to scan.

select the target drive to scan

3. It will take a while to complete the entire scanning process. When it ends, you can see the scan results that are categorized by the path. You can open each path to find your needed files. At the same time, you can also use the Type and Find features to locate files easier and quicker.

scan results

If you are sure this software can find the files you want to recover, you can then upgrade this software to a full edition and then use it to recover all your needed data.

Bottom Line

Should I delete Windows setup files in Disk Cleanup? Should I delete previous Windows installations? We believe that you will know what is safe to delete in Disk Cleanup after reading this article.

If you still have other related questions or doubts about this topic, you can contact us via [email protected], or let us know in the comment.

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