Windows 10: Disk Cleanup is declared as deprecated

[German]Microsoft has quietly (in another document about Storage sense) declared Windows 10 Disk Cleanup as deprecated and may omit this feature in future. Here are a few more details about that topic.


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I already had the topic on my radar for a few days, but hadn’t time to blog about it. Then I was reminded yesterday in this tweet.

Storage Sense, the Cloud and a big promise

The new feature Storage Sense, introduced in Windows 10 V1809, promises to automatically free up local disk space by deleting locally unused cached files (copies from files manually uploaded to OneDrive). Microsoft has published a more comprehensive article on this subject on Technet. Microsoft writes about this:

Storage Sense now has the capability to automatically free up disk space by making older, unused, locally available files be available online-only. Your files will be safe in OneDrive and represented as placeholders on your device. We call this process “dehydration”. Your online-only files will still be visible on your device. When connected to the internet, you’ll be able to use online-only files just like any other file.

To enable dehydration, navigate to the Settings app from the start menu. Then select System and finally, Storage.

The screenshot below is taken from the Technet article and shows the settings page with an option to enable this feature.

Storage Sense
(Source: Microsoft)


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In other words: Windows 10 gets even more connected to OneDrive and the Cloud. We’ll have to wait and see whether the new feature really frees local disk space. There are two thoughts in my head:

  • Not everyone can and wants to constantly maintain a fast Internet connection to move any files to the cloud and let Storage Sense download delected copies on demand.
  • Wasn’t there something that Microsoft reduced the OneDrive storage capacity from 25 GByte to 7 GB and less? So a user need to buy OneDrive storeage, to store a significant amount of files to the cloud and frees local disk space.

Could be a nice business idea to sell OneDrive storage. Whether storage sense really helps to clean up local disk space on cheap Windows 10 machines with 64 GByte eMMC, I have my doubts. But that’s my opinion, let’s come back to the main topic.

To avoid misunderstandings: Storage Sense can be optionally used in Windows 10 V1809, but can also be switched off.

Addition: And the files to be deleted refer to the copies in the local OneDrive cache – not globally to unused user files, as you could read from the original version of the above text.

Disk Cleanup becomes deprecated

For various reasons – probably also because of storage sense – Microsoft starts to move all functions disk cleanup features to the settings app. The disk cleaning with freeing disk space will then be carried out via these pages in the future.

Speicher frei geben
(Source: Microsoft)

The above screenshot from the Technet article shows, for example, a page where you can specify that memory is to be released. The Technet article about Storage sense contains a small section at the very end saying:

Disk Cleanup Deprecation

The Disk Cleanup experience (“cleanmgr.exe”) is being deprecated. We’re retaining the Disk Cleanup tool for compatibility reasons. There’s no need to worry since Storage Sense’s functionality is a superset of what the legacy Disk Cleanup provides!

In other words: Disk Cleanup is now classified as obsolete and remains (for a while) in Windows 10 for compatibility reasons. But the tool could also be omitted in the future. I don’t know if I like it or not, the new feature in Windows 10 offers the same thing, and Storage Sense can be switched off. But it is again a feature, where people lost their old knowledge about how to get things done in Windows. howtogeek.com has published an article showing the history of the Windows Disk Cleanup feature. Now they are believing, that ‘Geeks’ are using CCleaner. That’s unbelievable, what Microsoft is provoking, just see my last article CCleaner forces update from v5.38 to v5.46.

What’s your opinion? Good idea from Microsoft, to remove Disk Cleaning and use the Settings app for this purpose? Or is your position: As long as the feature is still there,  nothing has changed, except the user interface?

Addendum: Here are the settings options

The screenshot below has been obtained from the linked Technet article and shows the options to free up disk space.

Speicherbereinigung
(Source: Microsoft)

At a glance that nothing has changed compared to the old disk cleanup (except that the ability to select system-wide files for cleanup is missing). Barb Bowman has, however, given the following hint on Twitter.


The old option to delete old Windows install files from disk cleanup is missing in Settings. Maybe, because Windows.old will be deleted automatically a few days after a feature update?


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2 Responses to Windows 10: Disk Cleanup is declared as deprecated

  1. User says:

    Guess it’s time to find a replacement for another MS tool that’s been in use for decades and they decide to remove because of greed …

  2. krzemien says:

    Common sense tells me to stay away from Storage (Non)Sense.

    (pun intended)

    The same with Timeline – this could also have been switched off and I don’t think I missed anything as I sincerely forgot about its existence.

    So if Disk Cleanup remains in place for couple of years more (even if in compatibility mode only), then fine with me. I use it only to clean the redundant Windows Update packages up anyway – and I guess the same can be achieved by using DISM or similar from Command Prompt (was too lazy to investigate).

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