System CleanUp - Master Class Featured

**Updated with new content** - I've updated this article with some new content from questions I received about the article.

The most common one was: "well, it's all well and good to delete the Restore points but, won't Windows just start to make more and use that space again?

Answer: YES!

So, I added how to access those settings and get the Windows Restore Points...under control...below.


Remember when you were a teenager and your mom would walk into your room and just shake her head, look at you and say “you need to clean this room up!” You would then look at her, then around the room and say “it is!”. Well, guess what? It wasn’t!

So today, in remembrance of dear mom, we’re going to clean up our hard drive specifically our C: drive. I mean we are going to scrub it! 

Why you may ask?

Well, I can think of a lot of reasons:

1 – You love your mom and you don’t want to disappoint her.
2 – You have NEVER done it and your C: drive is getting fuller and fuller.
3 – I ran into an issue last night and decided you all might benefit from my…pain...where 35 GB of space just "vanished". 

Last Night

Last night I was about to do my daily backup of the C; drive on my home system.

Now, my home system is a beast! Multiple partition’s, memory to spare, etc…

I fire up Acronis (what I use to back up my drives) and let it run. I came back about an hour later and on my screen, it said: “Failed!” – SAY WHAT! I know I have enough disk space on the backup drive.

I plop down in front of my “beauty” (my PC – beautiful as hell but can drive me absolutely NUTS!) and start to take a look around. Almost immediately I notice I’ve “lost” about 35-40GB of space on my C: drive! Interesting…very interesting. Basically, I went from 105GB available on my C: drive to 75 GB of space available! WHAT! Where did all my space go? 

Before We Begin!  

Before we begin I want to let you know this is not a "get CCLeaner and run it" article. We are going to do some deep cleaning and you will need a few utilities to do this: 

- CCleaner (free version) -Download - Install
- CCEnhancer -Download - Install
- Steam Cleaner - Only if you use Steam,, Origin -Download 
- Disk Cleanup - included with Windows 

Investigation and Basic Cleanup 

Like most of you out in the ether world, I took a hard look at my PC before I did anything else. 

One of the things people forget to do is look in the Downloads folder! How much...errrr...stuff do you have in that folder? If you have a lot, get rid of it! That'll free up some space right away! 

Another area people have a tendency to not do is empty the Recycle Bin! Just because it's in the Recycle Bin doesn't mean it's "gone". It's still on your PC\Laptop and is using space! Empty the recycle bin! 

One more thing: folders you created to store stuff in. I have a folder called 0000 on damn near every drive (partition) I have on every system I own. I use 0000 because it goes to the top of the directory structure and I can access it very easily. 

0000 1

I went through all these folders and removed a couple of ISO's I had downloaded and moved them to my backup drive. A few GB's recovered. Great! But, still..not 35-40 GBs! 

Now to bring in the big guns! CCleaner and CCEnhancer! 

As I have stated above, you should already have downloaded and installed both the free version of CCleaner and CCEnhancer. 

CCEnhancer add's a TON of new applications and other nifty (yep, used the word nifty in a sentence) areas you can cleanup right from the CCleaner app. 

ccenhancer 1

**Note: When you have the CCEnhancer installed, when you select the Application Tab in CCleaner (see above screenshot) it can take several seconds for the selections to show. This is normal.** 

After the Application tab loads, take a look at what you can now clean! It's incredible! 

That said, you need to be VERY careful here! Some application DO NOT LIKE TO BE CLEANED and the CCEnhancer utility does a very nice job of popping up notifications letting you know you select something that might be detrimental to the health of your system. I HIGHLY advise you pay attention to the warnings! 

ccenhancer 2 apple

The one area I wanted to highlight here is the NVIDIA section. I could not believe the amount of crap NVIDIA had left behind! 

ccleaner nvidia cleanup 1

Gigabytes of crap! Well, time to go! Also, as you can see in the above screenshot, under Utilities NVIDIA Updates in the screenshot it's not all that large. That's because I had already manually cleaned that "area" off my HD earlier (because I know what to delete). All the previous drivers were stored on my PC totaling 3GB of space! Removed! 3GB more of space to recovered. Sweet! 

Once you have all the areas selected you want to clean click the Analyze button. This will tell you how much space will be recovered. 

ccenhancer 2 

Once you see how much space you will recover, hit the Run Cleaner button and let it do what it does, recover space. 

ccenhancer 3 run 

Okay, so we have cleaned all that we can clean with CCLeaner and more than likely you have recovered a TON of space on your C: drive. 

Let's keep going and cleanup that Steam, and Origin gaming directories! 

Three of the most popular game shops in the world are: Steam - - Origin. (If you do not have Steam - - Origin installed on your pc/laptop, jump down to the Disk Cleanup section below). 

You should have already download Steam Cleaner. Find it and it. You will be prompted with an elevation request from the OS. Select YES!

When you run Steam cleaner, it looks at the temp download areas Steam - - Origin use for stuff you have download and asks if you want to clean all that up. It's up to you but I run this utility about once a month. I'm truly amazed at how much I recover just from Steam temp files. 

**I realize the utility is called "Steam Cleaner" but it actually "cleans" and Origin temp files also!**

steam cleaner 1 

**Make sure you see that the utility has "found" your Steam, and Origin game paths. Once you see it has, hit the "trashcan button" and get rid of those files. 

steam cleaner 2 

Okay! More space Recovered! Sweet! 

Disk Cleanup 

Now were getting into the "heart" of where I found all of my space had went and we'll need a Windows Utility called Disk Cleanup. 

- Windows 10 - In the "Ask Me Anything" box type Disk Cleanup and select it. 
- Windows 8 - Do a search for "Disk Cleanup" 
- Windows 7 and Vista - Search for "Disk Cleanup" 

dcu 0 pg 1

When you first open the application, you are prompted for what drive you want to clean. The default is C: and that's the drive we want. 

dcu 1

- Select "OK" 
- Disk Cleanup will get to work. 

dcu 2 

In the screen that follows you should NOT see a ton of stuff to clean as we had already run CCLeaner. But, if you want to run it again, feel free. 

**Note: if you run it, once it has complete, it will close. You will need to re-start the program again!** 

What we are REALLY interested in is the "Clean up System Files" button. 

dcu 3 

Click that button. 

**Note: On some systems the program, for some stupid reason, minimizes itself back to the Taskbar. If it does, just click on it in the Taskbar and bring it back into view. 

The program will, once again, ask what drive you want to clean. Leave it at the default, C:. Click OK and let it do its thing. 

**Note - before we proceed ANY FURTHER a word of caution! IF you DO NOT have a current backup of your system STOP RIGHT HERE! GO NO FURTHER!


You are playing with fire and I mean one red hot fire. If you're system crashes you will need the files we are about to delete. 

FYI - Your system will crash. It will happen. you will lose a hard drive, motherboard, etc. at some point. It WILL happen! Backup your system! At the VERY least backup your: 

1 - Pictures 
2 - MP3's 
3 - Apple Folder 
4 - My Documents Folder 

USB drives are DIRT cheap. If you don't want to use a USB drive, then select an online backup service! But PLEASE, for the love of all the computer gods, backup your system! 

Okay... rant completed. Let's move on. 

**Note: Please make sure you have a current backup (Disk Image - Acronis is my favorite) before you do this. You can also use the built in Microsoft Backup Program if you like. Personally, I have running backups nightly so I was fine in doing this. 

Okay, now that I have all the warnings out of the way, let's proceed. 

Once the program has finished its scan, select the "More Options" Button. 

We are not going to "run the gambit" as I say. Look at the screen shot below and follow the numbers. 

more options 1 

You are going to get a warning! 

warning 1 

If you are cool with proceeding, select Delete. 

ALL of your previous restore points will be deleted. For my system this freed up 35 GB of space for me. 35 freaking GB's! That's were all my space went! 

I went from 75 GB to 108 GB available which, is what I thought I was at before I started my backup! 

However, that does NOT solve the problem entirely! Windows will, once again start to create restore points eating up precious space on the old C: drive. Let's tell it not to do that once and for all!

Windows System Protection Settings

- Open Control Panel
- Double Click the SYSTEM Icon
- In the left hand pane of the window that just opened, select "Advanced System Settings"

In the Windows that appears, select the: 

- System Protection Tab (1)
- Select the C: drive (2)
- Select Configure (3)

sys prot 1

Another window will open allowing you to either turn off system protection for good and delete ALL PRIOR system restore points OR you can use the slider and allow Windows to only use a set amount of disk space. This is your call but for those who have ZERO backups, I recommended you allow Windows to use at LEAST 50% of the available space until you can get some solid backups. THEN, and ONLY THEN can you revisit this area and turn it off completely.

sys prot 2

**Note: for Road Warriors I DO NOT recommended you do this! I recommend you keep the setting where they are. In the filed, more than likely, you would not have access to an emergency repair disk (you should make one and keep it with you at all times) so leave this alone! Just use the recommended cleaning utilities I have recommended above. I'm willing to bet you gain back a fair amount of disk space.


Over the last couple of weeks I have gained even MORE space! I now live at a comfortable 111 GB of available space. I have current backups of ALL my partitions (at least weekly) using Acronis. I now have all the tools I need to keep my system crap free. Well, at least as crap free as I can. 

I hope this article helps you out. Again, this is not an article for everyone. If you do not have backups of your files you are just playing with fire. There are SO many online backup services that are pretty inexpensive and will do all the work for you. My friends and I (mostly) use a company called BackBlaze (check them out here). Really well done interface. You can pay monthly (5 bucks), one year (50 bucks), or 2 years (which most of us do as it's 95.00 bucks for two years) and I just know that if my house burns down or my system gets fried from an electrical storm or a hurricane hits my data is safe. 

Again, I cannot say this enough. Back it up! I cannot even begin to tell you the look on people's faces when they come to me saying their system is not working and I tell them "well, it's toast!" I ask if they have a backup (normally they do not) and "truth", I've seen a couple of them cry. Pictures, Documents, Tax Records, Music files, etc. all gone. 

Make the investment and backup your files at the very least. You can re-install the OS but you cannot recover the records that really matter to you. I had one lady actually spend 1K with a disk recovery company to get **most** (but not all) of her files back. She backs-up regularly now. 

Take care all! 


Last modified on Tuesday, 17 January 2017 15:20

Da Boss!


Who's Online

We have 171 guests and no members online

Search Articles

Site Updates.

'I never forget a face, but in your case I’d be glad to make an exception.'

Latest Content

Visit the Digitalsmind Video YouTube Page!

Did you know we have a video page on YouTube? 

Well... WE DO! 

Check us out! 

- Our Video page.