Windows Enterprise Desktop

Sep 20 2018   6:02PM GMT

Preserving Cleanmgr.exe for Future Use

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

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Last week, I posted news about the pending deprecation of Disk Cleanup, aka cleanmgr.exe. I’m still not sure that the program is really going to vanish from Windows 10. But if it does, I’ve learned what’s involved in preserving cleanmgr.exe for future use. Because Disk Cleanup is a pretty simple utility it doesn’t include much scaffolding or underlying supporting software elements. Take a look at what a search for cleanmgr.* produces in its home directory of C:\Windows\System32:

Preserving Cleanmgr.exe for Future Use.search

Only two files must be saved to rescue Disk Cleanup from oblivion!

Preserving Cleanmgr.exe for Future Use Is Easy!

Built-in Windows apps, like Disk Cleanup, need a language support file in addition to the .exe file that does the real work. The language support file ends in .MUI, which stands for Multilingual User Interface. Thus, the subdirectory in which the MUI lives takes the language code for the installed language in which it should display its contents. I run United States English as my primary (and only) language, so the corresponding language code is en-US. Notice that the MUI file for cleanmgr.exe lives in C:\Windows\System32\en-US.

To boost the odds that you can run Disk Cleanup in a future Windows (10) version, you need to save both the cleanmgr.exe and the cleanmgr.exe.mui files. When you put them somewhere to run them (it doesn’t have to be in the …\System32 folder), you must put the .exe file in a parent folder (let’s say: C:\Cleanmgr for example). Then, the .mui file must go into C:\Cleanmgr\en-US.

Just for grins I did that work on my trusty old Lenovo T520 laptop. When I created that folder and file structure on an external USB drive, then double clicked cleanmgr.exe, it fired off like a champ. When I remembered to right-click and use the “Run as administrator” option, it even offered to clean up otherwise inaccessible system files. In short, this relocated Disk Cleanup continues to work, just like the real thing . . . because it is!

[Note] Thanks to TenForums user Bree who casually mentioned this in passing in a recent thread, and led me to investigate and put the pieces together for this blog post.

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