How to reclaim space with new Disk Cleanup option in Windows 7 SP1

Windows 7 new cleanup option

As part of my computer clean up process, I always use the Disk Cleanup tool in Windows 7, but no matter what I do, as time goes by the available hard drive space keeps shrinking anyways. Apparently in the case of Windows 7 Service Pack 1, one of the reasons is that the OS doesn’t flush outdated update backup files, which are kept in the WinSxS folder if there is a problem and rollback is necessary, and over time these files start to take up a large part of the disk space.

Trying to mitigate this bloating problem, Microsoft released a new update for all Windows 7 SP1 PCs that allows users to delete outdated update files when using the Disk Cleanup tool. Basically when you install the new Hotfix (described as KB2852386) a new option will appear called “Windows Update Cleanup”, just select the option when using the tool and you’ll be able to gain more disk space in your system.

Windows Update Cleanup - Windows 7 SP1 Disk Cleanup option

Important: Keep in mind that deleting these outdated files will prevent you from rolling back the updates. Also you need run the tool as an administrator in order to work.

There is one more thing… When you open the Windows 7 Disk Cleanup tool, you won’t see the new option right away, you need to click the Clean up system files button.

Clean up system files option

SEE ALSO: How to configure automatic Disk Cleanup in Windows 7

Although, this is a welcome option to have in the operating system, the amount of disk space you can recover is minimum. We’re talking about 100MB to 500MB and maybe a bit more, but that’s just it.

To download the Hotfix KB2852386 follow this Microsoft link. There you’ll find a x86 and x64 version of the update.

Windows 8 already comes with the feature, so there is nothing to install. Just open the Run command and type cleanmgr to launch the tool.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].