Windows disk cleaner hidden secrets

Recently my olde and tired PC (its 4+ years old) suffered a clicking hard disk (hdd). I first put this down to a drive failing due to age as my average HDD age is 3+ years. But then on a whim I replaced the clicky disk’s SATA power cable and the noise stopped. Although it seems after all that some sector-level damage was done too! Still the SMART parameters are within acceptable limits so the drive and PC will be upgraded together. Someday.

While researching the noise I learned how to better leverage a built-in Windows feature (included from Windows 98 onwards). Cleanmgr is a decent (and free) disk cleanup manager. Windows XP users (lots of Indian companies seem to prefer this version even though its oh-so-dated) can deploy it to auto-compress little used files to make them occupy less disk space.

But who said using Cleanmgr is easy. By default you won’t be wowed. To do so you need to make some changes. Click Start | Run (in Windows 7 use search field; Windows 8, Ctrl + R) then type “cleanmgr /sageset:99” and hit Enter. Cleanmgr will now offer an expanded selection of cleanup choices. Most importantly, it will remember whatever choices you makeĀ  and re-use them the next time you invoke a matching “sagerun” command!

Remember, to be careful and if you aren’t sure about something leave the default setting as is. Better, exit the tool and take your computer to a hardware professional.

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