Bye-Bye Disk Cleanup?

A small remark at the end of the Storage at Microsoft blog published on August 30, 2018 got past me. After explaining a raft of new features in Storage Sense – the Settings-based storage management toolset in Windows 10 – it concludes with a brief statement that cleanmgr.exe, aka Disk Cleanup “is being deprecated.” Though it reads further “We’re retaining the Disk Cleanup tool for compatibility reasons,” it may be just a matter of time before that tool disappears. Thus, it could be time to say bye-bye Disk Cleanup. Read all the details at “What’s new in Storage Sense?

Get to know the tool on the left, and be ready to bid adieu to the one on the right.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

After Bye-Bye Disk Cleanup, Then What?

Newer versions of Storage Sense add some significant new features to the mix for cleanup activities, and help to explain why the immanent demise of Disk Cleanup need not spell doom and gloom. Take a look at the detail pane that appears in Build 17758.1 when you click “Change how we free up space…” in the preceding left-hand screencap:

Notice new options for locally available cloud content and OneDrive. These will help users minimize unwanted, obsolete or excess cloud-based holdings. Note also that Storage Settings notices when Windows.old is present from a recent upgrade and also offers to “Delete previous versions of Windows.”

What’s Missing from Storage Settings?

I still don’t see explicit settings in Storage Sense for certain things that appear when Disk Cleanup is opened with administrative privileges (or system cleanup is selected). I’ll be curious to see if Storage Sense cleans them up anyway when 1809 is released. These include the following:

• Windows Update Cleanup
• Language Resource Files
• DirectX Shader Cache
• Delivery Optimization Files
• Device driver packages

I guess it’s too early to tell if MS will expose APIs or commands for use in PowerShell to take over for “the ultimate cleanup” command sequence, too:

cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 & Cleanmgr /sagerun:65535

This has proven to be an essential activity when trying to recover from some Windows Update based upgrades or updates gone wrong. I don’t see anything in Storage Settings that offers the same capability. Maybe this is what MS meant by “retaining the Disk Cleanup tool for compatibility reasons?” We’ll probably find out, if and when the tool retires (or not).

[NOTE] Thanks to Sergey Tkachenko, whose blog post “Microsoft is Ditching Classic Disk Cleanup in Windows 10” brought the utility’s immanent deprecation to my attention.

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