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Dated: Sep. 27, 2004

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Windows XP
Computer Beginners Guides

This tutorial has been test to work on WinXP Pro and Home only. That doesn't mean it won't work in other WinOS. Just that it's not been tested in others.

It's a very common problem that many newbies almost always ignore to correct; that when you try to the Disk Cleanup tool, it may stop responding and you may receive the following message:

Disk Cleanup is calculating how much space you will be able to free on (C:).
This may take a few minutes to complete.
Scanning: Compress old files

This problem happens when there is an incorrect entry in the registry that is used by the Disk Cleanup utility to locate compressed files. In my view, I've noticed it happening to clean formatted computers as well, so I would suppose that the problem in the registry too is probably a faulty of M$ programming.

Disk Cleanup Freeze

But here is a good little trick to follow if this happens to you:

1. Create a registry file by "right clicking" on the desktop > New > Text Document.
2. Name it anything you want with .reg extension. For example: diskcleanup.reg
3. Right click this file > Edit.
4. Type in the following code, then save and close:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00





[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Compress old files]

That's it! It should have done it. Try running the Disk Cleanup now and see if it is any faster than before.

Hope this helped you guys a bit.

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Vanessa's Comment
I followed the instruction in "Admin's Reply" to the first comment, little understanding that I would be unable to compress old files at all thereafter. Can you tell me what to do to restore the old [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Compress old files] registry?
05 Wed Oct 2011
Admin's Reply:

Ryan's Comment
well.... i did exactly what you described and disk cleanup still freezes Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Compress old files] Thats exactly what i typed and saved it but still no signs of improvement from disk cleanup
04 Tue Jan 2011
Admin's Reply:

Try this...This is what my deletecompressoldfiles.reg file's content looks like:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Compress old files]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Temporary Files]

jim's Comment
this actually worked, couldn't run disk clean up for a few weeks typed in disk clean up freeze, came to this page, did what you said, worked first try, wow, computers are wierd
05 Thu Aug 2010
Admin's Reply:

Glad to hear that Jim. I had a the same problem and I promised myself that I'll share it everyone. It worked for me and it worked for you. That's all that matters.