The Disk Cleanup utility built into an operating system is a program that runs various sub-programs to make the computer run faster by getting rid of older files and clearing hard drive space. Disk Cleanup is only part of a regular system maintenance routine, though.

Typically, Disk Cleanup is accessed from the My Computer menu by right-clicking the drive partition of choice, then selecting Properties. Disk Cleanup is visible on the main screen near the pie graph displaying the amount of space available in the partition. When the option is selected, the program automatically checks Internet cache, memory dump logs and other folders that tend to accumulate data. The menu of checkmark boxes displays which folders are to be cleaned, and the amount of space being cleared is displayed. Newer operating systems can remove the system hibernation file that typically is several gigabytes, but the downside is not being able to hibernate. Actual data files such as documents or music are not affected by Disk Cleanup.

This utility can also be accessed from Control Panel under the Administrative Tools section, along with other programs such as the defragmenter and Windows Update. Disk Cleanup can be scheduled to run periodically to keep the computer optimized.