How to Automatically Clean Windows 10 of Unused Files

Have you ever struggled with storage space on your computer? Trying to squeeze extra space out of your PC can be tricky, especially if your hard drive is quite small and fills quickly. An easy way to unlock more space is to clear out any unwanted files on your machine. This includes temporary files, as well as files in the recycle bin. Yes, even though the files are in the bin, they still take up space until you empty it!

Microsoft has recently added a new feature within Windows 10 called Storage Sense. The idea is that, once enabled, Windows will automatically take care of temporary files and files in the recycle bin without you needing to do anything. This keeps your system clean of unwanted and unused files so you have more room for the things you actually want.

Activating Storage Sense

In order to activate Storage Sense, we need to access the settings page. Click the Start button, then the Settings cog on the left.


Click on “System” on the window that pops up.


On the left side you’ll see a list of categories. Click on “Storage.”


Find the category that says “Storage Sense” and turn this switch to “On.” This enables the automatic cleaning. If you’re happy with Windows taking care of everything for you, you can close out of all windows.


Customizing What’s Cleaned

By ticking this option on, Storage Sense will automatically clean everything that it can. If you’d like to see what Storage Sense is cleaning and enable or disable what it can do, you can do so by clicking the link underneath the switch that says “change how we free up space.” Here you’ll see several options for Storage Sense.


Deleting Temporary Files

The first is called “Delete temporary files that my apps aren’t using.” As you use, install, and uninstall software and apps, there are files that get “left behind” that are no longer needed. Usually, software cleans up these files after they’re no longer needed, but in some cases, some files get left over. As a result they sit around taking up space without actually doing anything useful! Checking this option will allow Windows to locate and clean up said files in order to unlock more space.

Deleting Old Files in Recycle Bin

The second is “Delete files that have been in the recycle bin for over 30 days.” Any files in the recycle bin will be automatically cleaned out if it is still there after thirty days. Remember that if you manually delete a file (such as pressing the Delete key on your keyboard or right-clicking a file and clicking “Delete”), the file will sit in the recycle bin and continue to take up storage space until you tell Windows to empty it. If your recycle bin contents regularly reach gigabytes of space and you constantly forget to empty it, this can save some headaches down the road!

Manual Clean

If you suspect there are some temporary files that need cleaning, you can always come back to this page and click the “Clean Now” button at the bottom. This will activate Storage Sense to perform a clean there and then, so you don’t have to wait for the next sweep in order to free up space.

Keeping It Clean

When you have a small hard drive, every gigabyte of space counts. With Storage Sense you can tell Windows to automatically clean up unused files, whether they’re temporary or in the recycle bin. This allows you to free up space without having to manually delete any files.

Do you find yourself starved of storage space often? Let us know below!

Simon Batt
Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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