Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Windows Disk Clean Up, February 5, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.


Windows Disk Clean Up

Windows in its normal operation creates many temporary files to do its work. If your computer disk is more than 70% full, or your computer seems to be running slowly, you should consider freeing up space by removing temporary system files or your own files. Follow these steps:

  • Press the Windows logo key to open the Start menu. You will be placed in the search edit box.
  • Type “Disk space” without the quotes. The Windows Storage Settings desktop app should appear in the search results and you should hear it announced with your screen reader.
  • Press Enter to launch the Storage Settings app. The system will display the size of your main disk (C:) and tell you how much space is used and free on the drive. If the dis drive has less than 30% free space this author suggests that you should remove some temporary files. To avoid deleting any files ,you can just press Alt+F4 to close the cleanup app.
  • Otherwise; TAB to the link labelled, Free Up Space Now, and press Enter. A new Window opens where you can TAB to a list of the types of files that may be deleted. If you can’t find the list when you press TAB, wait a moment because Windows must scan your disk drive before it can display the list of file types. The list also shows how much space is occupied by each type of file.
  • Arrow up and down the list and press spacebar to check or uncheck the types of files you wish deleted. At the top of the list ,you will find the total space to be freed up for the file types you select. Unless the files you select take up gigabytes (GB) of space, it won’t help to delete them. If they take only megabytes (MB) or kilobytes (KB) of space, this is insignificant, and you can just press Alt+F4 to exit the app. In that case, you may need to delete your own files to try and free up 30% of disk space. If you still can’t free up 30%, then consider purchasing an external USB drive and move infrequently used files (e.g. photos, audio books, music files) from your main drive to the external drive. Document files don’t occupy much space but photos, audio books, video files, and music files take considerable space.
  • If you do decide to remove temporary system files, then after you have checked all the file types you wish deleted, TAB to the Remove Files button and press spacebar to delete the files.

Press Alt+F4 to exit the Storage Settings app.

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.