Windows Server Cleanup

The Desktop Experience

Within a Windows cloud hosting environment it is easy to forget that sometimes maintaining the server should be on the list of things to do. There are always temporary, junk, and different types of log files the server holds on to for use by the Server Administrator. To clean these files up and clear some space on the server, there is a handy tool that can be used in order to get this task accomplished. This tool is an installable feature called the Desktop Experience. The Desktop Experience is a native Windows server feature that does not come pre-installed on the server but is easy to install through the server management console. This feature provides a number of desktop utilities within the package that can be activated, but are not needed. 

To move forward with cleaning your system click on the Server Management button in the bottom left corner of your screen (this is assuming you have already used the Remote Desktop client on your computer to connect to your server). 

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If this icon is not in the bottom left corner of your screen, next to the Start button, navigate using the old fashioned way:

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This will bring a new screen with a lot of information on it. In the Left Pane of the screen there will be a short list of options to select from, similar to the computer management console on a normal Windows computer. Here we want to select the Features list.

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A preview of the installed features will be shown in the Right Pane. Select Add Features from the available two links.

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A new box will pop up on the screen with a large list of available features for your server. Keep in mind that some of these features are dependent on other smaller features and some will not be available unless other components of Windows Server are installed. For now let us focus on installing the Desktop Experience feature. 

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After selecting the Desktop Experience, go ahead and click on the Install button. A prompt will pop up notifying you this feature is dependent on another component called Ink and Handwriting Services, and must be installed with the Desktop Experience. Confirm this add-on as well and continue.

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On the following screen the two newly added features will be installed and two links will be displayed. Each of the links should say, You must restart this server to finish the installation process

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Click on either one of these links to restart the server and complete the installation of both the Desktop Experience with Ink and Handwriting Services. Once the server comes back online it will install updates required for both of the features. After the updates have been installed and configured, you will be taken back the the desktop of the server. From here you can continue on with using the Desktop Experience feature to clean your system as you need to in the future. 

Starting the Clean

Cleaning and maintaining a Windows server is really no different than your own desktop computer. The interfaces are very similar, both the windows computer and windows server have the same applications, the only difference is the functionality of your personal desktop and personal server. In order to initiate the cleaning process to remove the old junk, temporary, and log files navigate to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >> Disk Cleanup.

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Alternatively, performing a search, in the Start Menu Search Box, for Disk Cleanup will work just as well.

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No matter the path that was taken to get to the Disk Cleanup tool, click on the name from the list to open the application. A screen will show that will calculate the amount of junk, temporary, and unnecessary log files on your server.

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Shortly after the calculation has completed another box appears, for you to sift through and check which files you would like to PERMANENTLY DELETE.

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The slider to the right is available for you to scroll down the list. To the left of each category will be the check mark box to select these types of files for you to delete. Note the size of the categories just to the right of the listed files. This is the amount of space being occupied on the server and approximately how much space will free up once the files have been deleted. After you have selected the necessary files you wish to delete click the OK button to continue.

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You will be asked to confirm you want to PERMANENTLY DELETE the files you have selected. There is no way to get these files back, so it is highly suggested that you take care in selecting the files you wish to remove from the server.

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Once you are sure the files you selected previously are the ones you wish to remove, proceed with clicking on the Delete Files button. Another progress bar will show going through the categories you selected to remove.

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Depending on how long it has been since the last clean up, this process may take several minutes, but once it has been completed you will not only have deleted the unnecessary files form your server, but also freed up the disk space those files were occupying. 

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