What happened to the disk cleanup utility in Windows Server 2008?

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July 31, 2011 by Rakesh Boraiah


One utility that has proved useful to me in the desktop edition of Windows is the Disk Cleanup tool, also known as cleanmgr. When invoked from a command line or batch script, it lets you perform various automated disk-cleaning operations such as emptying the Recycle Bin or removing temporary files from user directories. Being able to automate these things in Windows Server is handy, but anyone who tries to invoke cleanmgr from a command prompt in Windows Server 2008 will receive the generic “not recognized” error. What’s going on here?

As it turns out, cleanmgr has not been removed entirely from Windows Server 2008. That’s the good news. The bad news is, it is not set up by default. Cleanmgr and a slew of other programs including Windows Media Player (in case you’re wondering why you couldn’t find that in Windows Server 2008 either), are contained in a set of add-ons collectively labeled the Desktop Experience. This stuff isn’t installed by default in Windows Server since, as the name implies, most of these features revolve around things most commonly done on the desktop.

Some of these features are useful on a server. Disk Cleanup is certainly one of them, but there are a few others including: the Snipping Tool, the Character Map, the aforementioned Windows Media Player and the Sound Recorder. The Character Map, in particular, is one worth keeping handy. For instance, it helps when dealing with user names in Active Directory that have accent marks or other punctuation marks that aren’t accessible from a conventional.

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