Software & Apps Windows 326 326 people found this article helpful How to Remove Junk Files From Windows 10 Learn what to keep and what to remove — and why by Tricia Goss Writer Tricia Goss has been a writer and editor for 10+ years. She's written tips and tutorials for Microsoft Office applications and other sites. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tricia Goss Updated on September 22, 2020 Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide Tweet Share Email The longer you use your computer, the more it accumulates files that you likely do not need. Cleaning out those junk files can improve speed and performance. But how do you know what is trash and what is treasure? Learn how to remove junk files from Windows 10 and keep your hard drive clean without harming your PC. The Benefits of Removing Junk Files From Your Computer Leaving files and programs on your computer that you don't need wastes precious space. It makes your machine work harder than it needs to. It can also slow down your computer, as it has to dig and sift through these files to find what it needs or use resources to update applications you no longer use. Malte Mueller / Getty Images Before You Begin System Restore is a Windows tool that essentially allows you to take your computer back in time. If you should inadvertently delete a file that you still need, performing System Restore could save you. Before you start taking out the trash on your Windows 10 PC, make sure that System Restore is enabled. Follow up by creating a system restore point that you could revert your system to in case you accidentally delete something important. Enter control panel in the Search box and select Control Panel app in the search results. Select System and Security and then select System if your Control Panel window is in Category view. Select System if your Control Panel window is in Icon view. Select System Protection in the left pane. The System Properties window will open. Make sure Protection is set to On for the System drive. If not, select the drive and then select Configure. Select Turn on system protection and then select Apply. Select Create next to Create a restore point right now for the drives that have system protection turned on. Type a word or phrase to describe the restore point. The date and time will be added automatically. Select Create. When the process is complete, a message stating The restore point was created successfully will appear. Select Close. You can restore your system to the current settings in the future, if need be. Managing the Recycle Bin The Recycle Bin will store deleted files. If you decide you need one back, it's easy to go in and restore it. However, as space fills up, Windows 10 will begin to permanently get rid of those files, beginning with the oldest ones first. If you are certain you don't need any of the files currently in the Recycle Bin, you can empty it to make room for more. Press Win + D or select the space at the very right end of the taskbar to access the desktop. Right-click the Recycle Bin. Select Empty Recycle Bin. Select Yes to confirm that you want to permanently delete the items. Trashing Temporary Files Temp files are also junk that you can clean off your computer. You can use a Windows 10 setting to automatically get rid of temporary files for you. Go to Start > Settings > System. Select Storage in the left pane. Turn on the toggle switch under Storage. Select Configure Storage Sense or run it now. Under Temporary Files, select Delete temporary files that my apps aren't using. Choose a frequency in the drop-down lists under Temporary Files. These allow you to choose how often Windows will delete temp files in your Recycle Bin and your Downloads folder. Select Clean Now if you want to delete these temporary files immediately. Exit the Settings window. The Disk Cleanup Tool Disk Cleanup is an integrated tool in Windows. Running this tool simplifies the task of getting rid of junk files in Windows 10, such as previous software installations, Recycle Bin contents, temporary files, and thumbnails. Another feature of Disk Cleanup in Windows 10 is system compression, which compresses files that are not yet compressed, freeing up even more space. Enter disk cleanup in the Search box. Select Disk Cleanup app to open the tool. Select the drive you want to clean up. In most cases, this will be Windows (C:), which is the default drive selected. Select OK. Wait while Disk Cleanup calculates the amount of space that can be recovered. Select the checkboxes next to the types of files you want to delete. Avoid selecting Windows ESD installation files if they appear in the Files to delete list. These files are required if you should ever need to reset your computer to factory default settings. Select View Files if you want to see the files in the category you have selected. Select OK to delete the junk files. Select Delete Files to confirm that you want to permanently delete the files. Disk Cleanup will get rid of the files and close when it has completed. How Often Should You Remove junk Files From Your Computer? If you use your computer for several hours each day and download dozens of files, you will need to clean out the junk more frequently than someone who only hops on a couple of times each week. However, if you run Disk Cleanup once a week or twice a month, you can keep those junk files from building up and slowing you down.