The Disk Cleanup Tool is a Windows component which has been coming in almost all the editions of Windows operating systems and is also present in Windows Vista with a little change. Disk Cleanup tool is meant to delete all the unwanted and unnecessary data from your hard drive and free up space on it. This free space can then be used by you for your files or by the system itself whenever required. Disk cleanups interface and the way it works has not changed a lot and when you start it, it first scan the hard drive for all the junk and unnecessary files and then gives you the status of the same. You can then selct which files to remove and can also see how much disk space will be gained after removing files of that category. In Windows vista the tool remains the same and works in the same way but the only difference is that in Windows Vista it asks you if you wish to clear the data from all the user accounts or only from yours. Apart from this everything is same.

Windows Disk Cleanup tool can delete the following type of files:  Compression of old files, Temporary Internet files, Temporary Windows file, Downloaded Program files, Recycle Bin, Removal of unused applications or optional Windows components, Setup Log files, Offline files,Temporary Remote Desktop files, and Temporary Sync Files. This is the predefined set of categories for which the disk cleanup works but some of them would be missing from your disk cleanup’s list depending upon your computers configuration settings. For example if you do not have remote desktop enabled on your computer then you will not see the Temporary Remote Desktop Files category in your Disk Cleanup List.

To start Disk Cleanup click on the Start menu, and then on All Programs. In All Programs click on Accessories and then on System Tools. In system Tools click on Disk Cleanup. As soon as you click on Disk Cleanup it asks if you wish to clear only your files or files from all the users. Select the appropriate option and then it will start scanning the hard drive for such unwanted and unnecessary data. Once the data list gets created it gives you the list of categories and the current space these files are occupying on your hard drive. You can check the type of files you wish to clear and click on OK. Once you click on OK the cleanup process starts and it is irreversible. Also please note that the files deleted by Disk Cleanup cannot be restored back. So if you doubt that there can be something useful in your Recycle Bin which you would have accidently deleted then first please restore it back, otherwise because disk cleanup deletes the recycle bin data as well, so you will not be able to restore your files from the recycle bin.

Running of Disk cleanup can also be managed by the Task Scheduler and it automatically will run it once in a week. Task Scheduler will only invoke the tool and will still require your input/confirmation before deleted the files.