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Junk files are files that remain on your computer after a task has been performed. Sometimes, Windows or some program needs to create temporary files while doing some task and then forgets to delete the temporary files it created. As time goes by, your computer is full of junk files in the form of temporary files, log files, downloaded files, and unwanted/unnecessary Windows registry entries. The article talks about removing Junk Files in Windows 11/10 using Disk Cleanup. It also tells you what you can keep and what to remove and why.Junk Files in Windows 11/10
When the analysis is done, you will be presented with a window similar to the following – it lists what all is removable without causing problems to the operating system or installed applications.Which Windows Junk Files can you delete safely?
The following feature in the list shown in the above list:
Temporary Internet Files
Downloaded Program Files
Old Windows folder
Temporary Internet files are used to speed up the loading of websites in most cases. In other cases, they are files left out after a session just as the temporary files that are created when you are using an app and are not deleted after the app is closed. Normally, an app creates temporary files when in usage and web pages when closed. Sometimes it fails to delete the files, and they are shown under Temporary files. Both of them are safe to delete so you should check the boxes to tell the OS that you are ready to delete them.
Downloaded Program Files are the files that an app installer leaves behind after installing the related app. These are useless as they do nothing except to occupy space on the hard disk drive. You may remove them without any hesitation.
TIP: USBDriveFresher is a Junk file and folder cleaner for USB Drives.
Offline webpages are the ones stored by your browsers to avoid delays in loading webpages. You might want to keep them in the case of a slower Internet connection. It helps in loading webpages that you frequent. The offline webpages are updated on a regular basis – just in case the online page is changed. You may or may not decide to delete them – based on your Internet speed. If you think you can afford to wait for a little until the webpages can load, go ahead and tick the box to delete them. If you are on a slow connection or metered connection, I recommend that you leave the box unchecked as it will trouble reloading the pages from the Internet. If on a metered connection, you will be charged for what you could get for free.
Thumbnails are previews of image files. There is no harm in deleting them. They will always be rebuild when you access the image files again. Of course, there will be a little delay when you open the image folders in Large icons or medium icons view as it will try to rebuild the thumbnails but the delay could be insignificant unless your computer is very slow and crammed up with images. I recommend deleting them if you are not struggling with an exceptionally slow computer.
Windows Temporary files are again files that are left behind by programs even when you close them. For example, when you open a document in MS Word, you might have seen a related file with the same extension. Like, if you open document .docx, you can see !~cument.docx as a hidden file. Such files are normally deleted by apps when you close them. The remaining ones can be cleaned up using Disk Cleaner to gain hard disk space in Windows 10.
Error Reporting Files are basically logs that contain information about events that lead to improper Windows or related app behavior. These are helpful when troubleshooting Windows. I recommend keeping them (uncheck the box so that they are not removed).
Windows Defender Files – can be deleted without hesitation
Windows Upgrade Log Files – you’ll need them to troubleshoot if the upgrade did not go as intended. These logs help in identifying the errors that happened during the upgrade. If you have successfully upgraded, you can remove them.
Device Driver Packages – contains device drivers which you may have to use in the future when a device is not functioning properly. In most cases, these are but pointers that tell Windows where to look for files. Advice is to keep them
By default, the Disk Cleanup software deletes only old temporary files. If you want it to delete even the recent temporary files, read Make Disk Cleanup delete ALL temporary files. The Disk Cleanup command line lets you clean even more junk files!. If you wish, you can also automate Disk Cleanup.
Read next: Remove unwanted Windows programs, apps, features, and folders.
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