One of the things Microsoft has been steadily working on within Windows 10 and the series of feature updates for the operating system is the process of modernizing the Control Panel and various system utilities.
It now appears that one of those utilities, Disk Cleanup, is ready for deprecation as it is being replaced by Storage Sense in Windows 10. Storage Sense has been around for a couple of feature update cycles but work put into this part of Windows 10 now takes it well beyond the capabilities of the older Disk Cleanup utility that has been part of the last couple versions of Windows.
In a blog post from back on August 30th, Microsoft details all of the new capabilities that have been added to Storage Sense including changes that will be part of the upcoming October 2018 feature update that is expected to be released next month.
According to Microsoft, Storage Sense is intended to be a silent assistant that just takes care of your storage space on a Windows 10 device. After you turn on the setting, it is off by default when you install Windows 10, and configure all of the settings it just works in the background to keep your storage healthy and well maintained. Of course, you can keep things set to manual mode and manage your storage on your own but the real value is when things are just taken care of in the background.
The big addition to Storage Sense in the upcoming October 2018 Update is how it works with the Files on Demand feature of OneDrive. Windows 10 manages which files are available from your OneDrive cloud storage service based on your access and usage of those files. The more you use a file, the more likely it is to be stored locally on your system and in the other direction – the less a file is accessed then the more likely it will be stored only in the cloud. OneDrive Files on Demand give you an option to override these settings by selecting files and directories you always want stored locally or in the cloud.
That last category of files is not impacted by this change to Storage Sense but any other files which are stored on your device through the automated process described above can be managed by Storage Sense under this new capability. There are five new options for the period of time these locally stored files are kept on your device:
- 1 day
- 14 days
- 30 days (default)
- 60 days
Of course, the key here is to use a shorter period of time on devices with limited storage and the default and longer option for systems without any storage concerns.
In addition to this new addition to Storage Sense in the next feature update, Storage Sense also has these capabilities:
- Perform automatic system storage maintenance Every day, Every week, Every month or just when the device has low disk space.
- Delete Temporary files or files on your download folder with the following periodicity: Never, 1 day, 14 days, 30 days or 60 days.
- Delete previous versions of Windows after a feature update installation. This can be initiated manually or happens automatically 10 days after an upgrade.
You can go to Windows Settings > System > Storage and then select any of your systems storage devices to manually see what the situation is with disk space and perform maintenance right there yourself.
Storage Sense has become quite robust and with the additional management options for cloud storage and automatic storage related maintenance, it surpasses the capabilities of the Disk Cleanup utility. That makes the deprecation decision very appropriate and timely.
By the way, just in case you are wondering, Microsoft defines deprecated as a feature no longer being in active development and which might be removed in future releases. So in other words, Disk Cleanup is not going anywhere right now but your better option is to begin using Storage Sense to manage your system storage in preparation for it removal down the road.