How to Recover Files Deleted by Disk Cleanup?

🕔 5 minutes read

 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.


What Is DiskPart Utility and What Does it Do?

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. 

Diskpart screen on Command prompt window

What will happen if I do a Disk Cleanup?

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

However, many users tend to delete important files while using Disk Cleanup permanently. For example, “Disk Cleanup deleted my downloads” is one of the highly discussed topics related to Disk Cleanup.

user query about disk cleanup on reddit
Source: Reddit 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to undo the Disk Cleanup process, but there is a way to recover files deleted by Disk Cleanup. Compiled with all the information, this article will explain everything you need to know about Disk Cleanup and how to restore files after Disk Cleanup.

Quick Navigation:

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.

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.

The only way you can delete important files, such as downloads, while using cleanup is due to intentionally or accidentally selecting the downloads folder or any other that is listed.

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.

permanently deleting files using disk cleanup

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.

How Do I Recover Files After Disk Cleanup on Windows 11/10/8?

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

Remo File Recovery software is a quick and easiest method to recover files that are lost due to Disk Cleanup. 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

  • Download and install the Remo Recover and start the recovery process.
  • Select the location or drive of the lost or deleted files after Disk Cleanup and click on the Scan button.scanning the exfat drive
  • 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)
  • Select the deleted folder or files you want to recover from the drive and click Recover.
  • After the scan is completed, you can Preview all the listed files you’re your Windows operating system.

preview the recovered files

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

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 below is recommended while running Disk Cleanup on your Windows 10 or any other version.

Checklist while implementing Disk Cleanup

As it is already established that 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 need to be restored.
  • While implementing the Disk Cleanup, you can select the specific folder to be deleted 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 is mentioned clearly in the previous sections.

Hope you have found this article helpful. Do let us know in the comment section below if you have any additional questions.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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