Disk Cleanup won't delete certain files


Disk Cleanup via Windows settings doesn't delete the checked "Temporary files" (770mb) nor Windows Defender files. All the other checked files do get cleaned up normally. It completes as if it successfully deleted everything but it doesn't when I click Refresh.


Trying to delete these files via the Disk Cleanup tool (cleanmgr.exe) as Administrator or in Safe mode also doesn't work. I am the only user and Administrator on the PC.


I am aware I could try to go to the temp folder and delete the files manually, but why doesn't it work this way? Is this reproducible at anyone's end?

11 Replies

Hi @JohnnyGui 

Some temporary files are needed, but try restarting and disk cleaning should start automatically if the configuration is correct.



If some are needed then it's quite confusing that it shows up in Disk Cleanup.

I rebooted and restarted several times but it didn't help. 


The weird part is that on the Storage page in Settings it shows less space taken by temporary files than when I click on it to show the details.


Are you experiencing the same?

Do you also select delivery optimization files for deletion?
now I will remove 4G from the C drive I always restart after approval and everything is deleted.



Yes, deliver optimization files deletes normally. Temporary files of around 777mb and Defender files has been around for almost a week now and can't be deleted. I noticed extra space added on top of the 777mb can be deleted but not more.


Yes now I checked the Defeder files - they were not deleted!


But temporary files do get fully deleted at your end?
No temporary files are not all deleted - those that participate in the processes still remained in the system and this is correct.

Thanks for testing this out.

I just noticed something that might've caused confusion here. When clicking on "Temporary Files" on the Storage page in Settings, there is an extra "Temporary files" with a checkbox that I can specifically check and delete among the other deletable files (defender, delivery optimization, etc.). 


I attached an example picture. Not sure if you have the same line at your end.

@JohnnyGui I am experiencing exactly the same issue/s. The windows update, defender and temp files do not clear. I have been trying various ways to delete the past few days. This is seems to have started in the past couple of updates. I am currently showing 2.16g windows update files that will not delete. This is a big deal when trying to clean up files to capture an image. By not being able to clean up all files it's is increasing my image size approximately 3g that is not needed. Any help from Microsoft would be appreciated.


Thanks for the reply.


I have moved 7 days old files rom the Appdata/Local/Temp folder itself and it disappeared from the Disk Cleanup. However, today 70mb of temp files popped up in Disk Cleanup that I couldn't delete. 


I know it's not that much space but I don't get why it simply doesn't work. 

No one else who noticed the same thing on his/her Windows 11 device?