Windows Server 2008 Disk Cleanup

Updated on: July 11, 2019

This article introduces how to install and enable Disk Cleanup for Windows Server 2008 (R2), how to free up disk space with Server 2008 Disk Cleanup utility.

When system C: drive is running out of space, you may run disk cleanup utility to delete the unnecessary and junk files, then you can reclaim disk space. Windows Server 2008 have native Disk Cleanup to accomplish this task.

Disk Cleanup (cleanmgr.exe) is a computer maintenance utility included from Microsoft Windows 98 designed to free up disk space on hard drives. Disk Cleanup utility can remove files that are no longer needed or that can be safely deleted. Removing unnecessary files, including temporary files, can help to speed up and improve computer performance.

Unlike other versions, Windows Server 2008 does not enable Disk Cleanup by default, so before cleaning up disk, you need to install or enable it.

How to install/enable Server 2008 Disk Cleanup

There are two ways to enable Disk Cleanup in Windows Server 2008 (R2):

  1. Copy files from WinSxS
  2. Install Desktop Experience
The first option is easy and fast, but Disk Cleanup doesn't work in some environment. The second option make sure Disk Cleanup working in all conditions, but it requires reboot to complete installing the Desktop Experience component. Furthermore, together with Desktop Experience, many other unnecessary components are installed on the server, such as Windows Media Player, Desktop themes, Audio Recording.

Option 1: Enable Disk Cleanup without reboot

The files to copy from WinSxS are different on Windows Server 2008 and R2, so firstly check the Server version, press Windows and R on your keyboard to start Run, type winver and press Enter.


Copy WinSxS files on Windows Server 2008 x64:

1. Click Start menu, right click Command Prompt on the top and select Run as administrator.

2. Paste the command below and press Enter:

copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_c962d1e515e94269\cleanmgr.exe C:\Windows\System32\

3. Paste the command:

copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_en-us_b9f50b71510436f2\cleanmgr.exe.mui C:\Windows\System32\en-US\

Copy WinSxS files on Windows Server 2008 x64 R2:

1. Run Command Prompt as administrator.

2. Paste the command:

copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7da\cleanmgr.exe C:\Windows\System32\

3. Paste the command:

copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_en-us_b9cb6194b257cc63\cleanmgr.exe.mui C:\Windows\System32\en-US\

Option 2: Install Disk Cleanup with Desktop Experience

Step 1: Click Server Manager on bottom left next to Start menu.

Server manager

Step 2: Click Features on top left and then Add Features on the right.

Add Features

Step 3: Click the check-box in front of Desktop Experience. Add Features Wizard will ask you to install Ink and Handwritting Services if you have not previously installed, click Add Required Features.

Add required features

Step 4: Click the check-box of Desktop Experience again, and then click Next.

Desktop Experience

Step 5: Click Install to confirm and start installing.


Once the features have been installed, the Wizard will need a reboot in order for the changes to take effect.

Disk Cleanup installed

How to run Disk Cleanup in Windows Server 2008

To start Disk Cleanup on Windows Server 2008, there are 3 ways.

Way 1: Press Windows and R together on keyboard, type cleanmgr and press Enter, then select C: or other drive in the drop-down list.


Way 2: Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools

From Start

Way 3: Open File Explorer, right click C drive and select Properties.

From explorer

The 2nd and 3rd way is only valid after you install Server 2008 Disk Cleanup with Desktop Experience.

Server 2008 Disk Cleanup will calculate how much space will be able to free on C drive (or other one you selected), then list the junk files in next window.

All these files can be selected and removed safely, highlight any type of files, you'll see its description on the bottom.

Click OK to start cleaning up. After it finish, repeat to Clean up system files.

Clean up disk

Additional method to clean up disk

Server 2008 Disk Cleanup utility is easy to use, runs fast and able to clear up most common types of unnecessary/junk files safely. To the servers that never free up disk, it may help you regain several gigabyte of space.

However, free space will be eaten up quickly by new generated junk files, so you'd better expand C drive and add as more free space as possible into it. Otherwise, C drive will be getting full again in a short time.

If there is free unused space in other partition on the same disk, follow the steps in the video to expand C drive:

Video guide

If original disk is small and there is not plenty of free space, you may clone to a larger disk and then expand C drive:

Video guide

Besides shrinking, moving, extending and copying disk partition, NIUBI Partition Editor helps merge, convert, defrag, wipe, hide, scan partition and much more.