Disk Cleanup or “cleanmgr.exe” is the Windows utility that is dedicated to permanently delete the redundant data on a specific drive. The tool is really effective in clearing redundant data. However, many users tend to permanently delete important files while using Disk Cleanup. For example, “Disk Cleanup deleted my downloads”, is one of the highly discussed topics related to Disk Cleanup.
Unfortunately, it is not possible 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 to you about everything you need to know about Disk Cleanup and how to restore files after Disk Cleanup.
What will happen if I do 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.
Disk Cleanup deleted 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. Whereas Downloads are the files that you have downloaded from the internet such as digital media, your work documents, games.
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 to get rid of redundant files such as temporary files internet cache. By default Disk Cleanup can only delete Download Program Files, Temporary internet files, and thumbnails.
The only way you can delete the 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 definitely can recover the files that are lost during the cleanup process. Because what cleanup does is the same as permanently deleting a file such as “Shift + Delete” or clearing the Recycle Bin.
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 drives 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 that are 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 on the specific drive until you recover the data.
Methods to recover files that are lost while Disk Cleanup (Windows 10/8/10)
There are two possible methods to restore the files that deleted due to Disk Cleanup utility
- Restore the files using backup and restore utility
- Recover files using data recovery software
It is possible to recover the data using “Backup and Restore utility” considering that you have created a backup of the files that have deleted. If you don’t have any backup the only possible way to recover the files that are lost due to Disk Cleanup is through data recovery software such as Remo Data Recovery software.
Remo Data 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 are dedicated to scrutinizing 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 300 file formats none of your files will be left unrecovered. Hence, download Remo data recovery software and follow the mentioned steps.
Instructions to Recover Data After Disk Cleanup
Launch the Remo data recovery software and click on the recover files option. Now select the drive that you have implemented Disk Cleanup on and click on scan.
After scanning the drive, the data recovery tool will recover the files that are permanently deleted due to Disk Cleanup such as your download folder or pictures folder. You can see the recovered files in the recovery window.
Once the files are recovered the only thing you’ve got to do is select your priority files and save them on a healthy storage drive.
Using this method you can also recover shift deleted files on your windows.
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 that you should remember before you initiate Disk Cleanup.
- Check your Recycle Bin and make sure that there are no important files that need to be restored.
- While implementing in the Disk Cleanup dialogue 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 the unwanted data from your computer. Nevertheless, you should be cautious while using the application. By default, clenmngr.exe will never delete any of the important files such as downloads folder unless you delete the folder.
If you have accidentally erased important files either from the Downloads folder or Recycle Bin, the only possible way to recover is using a data recovery software. The details with regards to recovering the files after Disk Cleanup is mentioned clearly in the previous sections but, stop using the drive once you have deleted the drive. If you follow the mentioned instructions you can effortlessly recover the lost files.
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.