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How to Enable Disk Cleanup on Windows 2008 R2 Without Desktop Experience

Introduction

In an earlier post I described how to install and use Disk Cleanup on Windows 2008 R2 server. Since that time I have come across another way to install Disk Cleanup on Windows 2008 R2 without having to install Desktop Experience which adds things to servers that are not needed. This will not work on Windows Server 2012 R2 as you must install Desktop Experience. So let’s get to it.

Process

The process involves copying two files in the C:\Windows\winsxs directory to a specific location

Windows 2008 R2

C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7da\cleanmgr.exe
 C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_en-us_b9cb6194b257cc63\cleanmgr.exe.mui

Windows Server 2012:

C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.2.9200.16384_none_c60dddc5e750072a\cleanmgr.exe
 C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.2.9200.16384_en-us_b6a01752226afbb3\cleanmgr.exe.mui

Once you’ve located the files move them to the following locations (Server 2012 non-R2 and earlier):

Copy Cleanmgr.exe to %systemroot%\System32.
Copy Cleanmgr.exe.mui to %systemroot%\System32\en-US.

Example:

Open a command prompt and type

copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7da\cleanmgr.exe C:\windows\system32

copy C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.2.9200.16384_en-us_b6a01752226afbb3\cleanmgr.exe.mui C:\windows\system32\en-US

You can now launch the Disk cleanup tool by running Cleanmgr.exe from the command prompt.

Conclusion

As you can see we can now use Disk Cleanup Tool on Server 2012 non-R2 and earlier versions of Windows without installing Desktop Experience. The only drawback is you will not have the start menu entry if you are a clicky type of admin, but you can start it from the command line.

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