How do I fix when Disk Cleanup not working properly in Windows 10

Using Disk Cleanup in Windows 10 should be a monthly task for you to free up more space on your hard drive and keep your operating system free of unnecessary files that you’re not using.

However, there are some problems with Disk Cleanup in Windows 10, especially when it freezes at certain points in the cleanup process.

Most likely, it freezes during the update phase when it can’t delete temporary files. So, we’ll see what you can do to solve the problems you encounter when using Windows 10 Disk Cleanup.

What makes Disk Cleanup not work in Windows 10

What makes Disk Cleanup not work in Windows 10

A corrupt temporary file on your computer may be the main reason why Disk Cleanup didn’t open or didn’t work properly in Windows 10. In this case, you can try deleting the temporary files manually to see if this solves the problem.

Before you take any action, make sure that you are logged into Windows 10 as an administrator account, as without administrator rights, the following fixes are likely to fail.

To fix Windows 10 disk cleanup not working

To fix Windows 10 disk cleanup not working

Run the Windows Update diagnostic program

Sometimes Windows Update is responsible for improper disk cleanup. In this case, running the Windows Update diagnostic program solves the problem.

  1. Open Windows 10 settings by pressing Win + I. Then select Update and security.
  2. On the left side, select Troubleshooting. On the right side, select the Windows Update option, and then click Run troubleshooter.
  3. The Windows Update Troubleshooter will start detecting problems. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting.
  4. After that, restart Windows 10 and check if clearing the disk solved the problem.

Delete temporary files

If your computer has corrupted temporary files, disk cleanup may not work properly. Deleting temporary files solves this problem.

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing Win + R. Then type %temp% and press Enter to have Windows 10 open the temporary files folder for you.
  2. Press Ctrl + A to select all the temporary files in this folder, then press Delete on your keyboard to delete them all.
  3. Reboot Windows 10 and check if the disk cleanup is working properly.

Run a system file scan

If the previous methods don’t work, Microsoft suggests running a system file scan.

  1. Type cmd in the search box on the left side of the taskbar and press Enter. This will open a command-line window for you.
  2. In the command prompt window, type sfc / scan now and press Enter. System File Checker scans all protected system files and automatically recovers corrupted files. This will take a few minutes.
  3. Once the scan and repair are complete, reboot Windows 10 and then check if the disk cleaner is working properly.

If you’ve tried all of the above methods and Disk Cleanup still doesn’t work properly, reinstalling Windows 10 may be your last option to solve the problem.

However, if your Windows 10 works fine except for disk cleanup issues, you don’t need to reinstall Windows, but you can choose another tool for disk cleanup.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Go to the Start menu and type %temp% in the Search menu -> press Enter.
  2. Right-click on the temporary files -> select Delete.
  3. Restart your computer and run Disk Cleanup again to make sure the problem is resolved.

There is one category of files that you should not remove during disk cleanup. These are Windows ESD installation files. Typically, Windows ESD installation files take up several gigabytes of space on your computer.

First, a little command line magic - click Start and type: cmd in the search box. Press Enter. At the command prompt, type: cleanmgr.exe /sageset:1 and press Enter.

The problem with disk cleanup is that it usually cleans a lot of small files (Internet cookies, temporary files, etc). So writing to disk is much more important than for many other things, and it can take as long as a new installation because so many things are written to disk.

Website | + posts

Mark Ginter is a tech blogger with a passion for all things gadgets and gizmos. A self-proclaimed "geek", Mark has been blogging about technology for over 15 years. His blog,, covers a wide range of topics including new product releases, industry news, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your devices. If you're looking for someone who can keep you up-to-date with all the latest tech news and developments, then be sure to follow him over at Microsoft.