How to Recover Files Deleted by Disk Cleanup?

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Did you lose some of your important files after using disk cleanup? Then worry not; this article has everything you need to know about disk cleanup recovery.
If you are looking for a quick way to recover disk cleanup deleted files, then use the Remo File Recovery tool to restore disk cleanup files.
Download the tool and start the disk cleanup recovery process now.

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Disk Cleanup, or “cleanmgr.exe,” is the Windows utility dedicated to permanently deleting the redundant data on a specific drive. The tool is really effective in clearing redundant data. 

When you use the Disk Cleanup utility, the tool will permanently delete all the temporary files, such as temporary internet files, thumbnails, offline web pages, DirectX cache, thumbnails, recycle bin files, and downloaded program files by default.

However, many users tend to delete important files while using Disk Cleanup permanently. For example, Users often complain about Disk Cleanup deleting their downloads, wiping their documents, and erasing all their photos.

permanently deleting files using disk cleanup

Unfortunately, it is impossible to undo the Disk Cleanup process, but there is a way to recover files deleted by Disk Cleanup. If you are one of them who have mistakenly deleted or lost some of your files after cleaning up your disk. Then you have ended up in the right place. Compiled with all the information, this step-by-step guide to recover files after Disk Cleanup will explain everything you need to know.

How To Recover Permanently Deleted Files After Disk Cleanup on Windows 11 and other Older Versions?

You might be confused about how it is possible to recover permanently deleted files. If you are unfamiliar with the technicality of permanently deleted files, here is what actually happens. When you permanently delete a file, the file is just removed from the drive's index, and the storage sectors are marked as ready to be written with new data.

Since the file is removed from the index, the operation will no longer display the files lost due to Disk Cleanup. But, the data signature of the file will exist in the storage sectors. Nevertheless, they remain only until the storage sectors are overwritten with new files.

So, once you have noticed that the data is lost from a drive, it is strongly suggested not to make any changes to the specific drive until you recover the data.

If you have lost crucial files due to  Disk Cleanup on Windows, using reliable file recovery software is the only way to get back files deleted by Disk Cleanup.

Solution 1: Recover Deleted Files After Disk Cleanup Using Remo File Recovery Software

Remo File Recovery software is a quick and easy way to undelete Disk Cleanup files. Remo is integrated with sophisticated scan engines that scrutinize the storage sectors for data signatures. Once the data signatures are found, the data recovery tool restores the deleted files. Since the tool can detect over 500 file formats, ensuring none of your files will be left unrecovered. 

So, what are you waiting for? Download Remo now, and let’s start restoring the files deleted by Disk Cleanup. 

Steps to Restore Files After Disk Cleanup Using Remo File Recovery Software

1: Download and install the Remo Recover and start the recovery process.

2: Select the location or drive of the lost or deleted files after Disk Cleanup and click on the Scan button.

select the drive or the folder from where the earlier saved files got deleted by disk cleanup

3: Once the scan is complete, the tool will run the Deep Scan, which recovers data sector by sector of the drive. (You can simultaneously recover with the Dynamic Recovery View option while the scan is running).

scanning of the drive that was wiped using the disk clean up

4: Select the deleted folder or files you want to recover from the drive and click Recover.

a list of all recovered files deleted after disk cleanup

5: After completing the scan, you can Preview all the listed files.

preview the recovered disk clean up files

6: Choose the needed files, click on the Recover button, and browse for a location to save the recovered data.

save the recovered files that were earlier deleted after using the disk cleanup

If you want to recover files deleted by Disk Cleanup without software, follow the solutions mentioned below. 

Solution 2: Use Backup from Cloud Storage to Recover Files Deleted by Mistake using Disk Cleanup

If you have taken copies of some of your most important data and crucial files and saved them on a cloud storage. The act of saving multiple copies of the original files can save a lot of your time and money. These backups can act as a safety net in the case of permanent data loss.

Log in to your Cloud storage account using your credentials, and find and locate the copies of the files that Disk Cleanup has deleted or wiped. Select the file(s) that you want to restore and download them onto your system.

After downloading the files to your system, you can move them from the Downloads folder to any location of your choice.

Solution 3: Use the Previous Versions option to Recover Files Missing After Running Disk Cleanup

You might have also enabled it if you know what Previous Versions is. In case you have older copies of the deleted Disk Cleanup files. You can follow the steps to restore previous versions of files deleted by Disk Cleanup.

  1. Navigate to the folder or the drive where you have saved the files before they were deleted or wiped.
  2. Right-click from the options menu and click on the Properties option.
  3. In the properties window, you must click on the Previous Versions option.
  4. All older versions of the folder will be displayed on your screen; you must select the most appropriate version containing the deleted Disk Cleanup files. 
  5. Click on the Restore button, followed by clicking on the OK option.

The selected version that contains your deleted files will be restored to your system.

Solution 4: Use Any Free Data Recovery Software for Disk Cleanup Files

A common question we at Remo hear is "How to recover files deleted by Disk Cleanup for Free?" If you have the same question in mind. Then, the answer is to use freeware data recovery software.

TestDisk, Kickass Undelete software, FreeRecover, etc, are some of the best data recovery software available for free.

Is Disk Cleanup Safe in Windows 10?

Disk Cleanup is an inbuilt tool on Windows that helps you remove unwanted space on your Windows computer and make more storage space on your computer. However, if there is any underlying problem in your computer or if you select the option of deleting everything using Disk Cleanup, you might lose important files from your computer. Hence, following the checklist is recommended while running Disk Cleanup on your Windows 10 or any other version.

Checklist while implementing Disk Cleanup

As it is already established, Disk Cleanup will not automatically delete your download folder or pictures unless you mark the folder to be deleted. So here are a few things you should remember before initiating Disk Cleanup.

  • Check your Recycle Bin and make sure that there are no important files that needs to be restored.
  • While implementing the Disk Cleanup, you can select the specific folder to delete before you start the process. So, double-check the folders you have selected.


Possibly, Disk Cleanup is the best way to erase unwanted data from your computer. Nevertheless, you should be cautious while using the application. By default, clenmngr.exe will never delete any important files, such as the downloads folder, unless you delete the folder.

If you accidentally erased important files from the Downloads folder or deleted files from the Recycle Bin, the only possible way to recover them is using data recovery software—the details regarding recovering the files after Disk Cleanup are mentioned clearly in the previous sections. Hope you found this article helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions on Recovering Files After Disk Cleanup

1: What happens if I clean up my disk?

If you clean up your disk, it will remove temporary files, cached webpages, and recycle bin items from the hard drive.

2: Can Disk Cleanup Delete My Downloads?

Don’t confuse “Downloaded Program files” with “Downloads”. Both are totally different. 
Downloaded program files are ActiveX repository for your Internet Explorer browser. 
Downloads are the files you have downloaded from the internet, such as digital media, work documents, and games.

disk cleanup dialogue box

Other than the default selected folders, the remaining folders or files should be manually selected. That includes your Downloads folder.

3: Does Disk cleanup remove passwords?

No, your passwords are stored in a different location that is unaffected by the Disk Clean up process.

4: Is it recommended to Cleanup your Disk?

Experts recommend performing disk cleanup once a month for optimal performance and free space.

5: Is a computer restart necessary after Disk Cleanup?

Yes, it is necessary to restart your computer as it can remove the unnecessary Windows update files that are no longer needed.

6: Can Disk Cleanup Delete Important Files?

No, Disk Cleanup will not delete important files. Disk Cleanup will help you eliminate redundant files, such as temporary files and internet cache. Disk Cleanup can only delete Download Program Files, Temporary Internet files, and thumbnails by default.

You can only accidentally or intentionally delete important files like downloads during cleanup if you select the downloads folder or other listed folders yourself.

At the same time, once initiated, you cannot undo the cleanup process. But you can recover the lost files during the cleanup process. Because what cleanup does is as same as permanently deleting a file by using options such as “Shift + Delete” or clearing the Recycle Bin.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…