Disk Cleanup hangs on ‘Compress Old Files’

You should clean up your hard disk periodically to make sure that unwanted files don’t pile up in your PC, slowing it down. However, you may come across a scenario at times when your Windows PC performs the initial steps Disk Cleanup just fine, but hangs when you reach the step named “Compress Old Files”. In these cases, a faulty registry key of Windows is usually the cause of the trouble. To solve it, you have no option but to tinker around with your Windows registry.

One thing to keep in mind at all times is that whenever you choose to tweak your Windows registry for any reason, always create a backup first. That way, you will be able to revert to your original settings in case you face problems with your system. Do this always, even before making minor changes to your registry settings.

First, back up your Windows registry by doing the following:

  1. Click on “Start” button, and then on “Run”.
  2. Type regedit in the box named “Open”, and hit Enter.
  3. The regedit window will open. In it, find the key, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
  4. Expand the key by clicking on the “+” sign beside it.
  5. Navigate to the key named SOFTWARE, and expand it.
  6. Now go down to the key named Microsoft, and expand it.
  7. Navigate your way to the key named Windows, and expand it as well.
  8. Locate the option CurrentVersion, then Explorer, and finally VolmeCaches. This is the field you will have to tweak.
  9. Keep the option VolumeCaches selected, and click on the file menu at the top right hand corner of the regedit window. Select the option “Export”.
  10. Choose a location on your hard disk, preferably the Desktop (so that you can access it easily, if required), give a name (for instance, “VolumeCacheBackup” and click on Save. You now have a backup of the registry key that you are about to modify. If something goes wrong, all you will have to do is to click on the file VolumeCacheBackup.reg on the Desktop and click “Yes” in the confirmation box that pops up.
  11. Now look at the right hand panel on the regedit window. You will see a key named “Compress Old Files”.
  12. Delete the key and hit F5 to refresh the registry editor.
  13. Exit the registry editor.
  14. Restart the PC and your problem should be solved.

Now, you should be able to clean up your hard disk without any problem. Clean up your hard disk periodically, to make sure that your PC keeps working smoothly.

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