You may still use Disk Cleanup on Windows 11 (even though Microsoft does not want you to)
Microsoft continues to push the Settings application in Windows 11 just like it has done in Windows 10. The latest victim of the replacement policy is the classic Disk Cleanup tool. Used among other things to clean up old versions of Windows to free up Gigabytes of storage space, Microsoft announced in 2018 that it would replace the classic tool with Storage Sense, which it added to the operating system's Settings application.
Up until now, Disk Cleanup was accessible from the Properties dialog window of drives. Microsoft replaced the link to the Disk Cleanup tool with a link to Storage Sense in the latest Windows 11 build.
While it is still possible to load Disk Cleanup directly, it is no longer possible to open it from a drive's properties dialog.
Activation of the Storage usage button opens the Storage used on other drives page of the Settings application. The page lists the capacity of all drives and the free and used storage ratio. It takes another click to display how storage is used on the drive.
Options to cleanup files are not displayed on the page. It is necessary to open the main Storage page in the settings to get that option (or select Start > Settings > System > Storage). Select Cleanup recommendations and Windows displays cleanup options on the page that follows.
Disk Cleanup tool is the better application
The entire process is not as straightforward as using the Disk Cleanup tool. Opening issues aside, Cleanup recommendations is not nearly as user friendly as the Disk Cleanup tool. Disk Cleanup offers an immediate view of all items that can be cleaned up; while you may need to click on the "clean up system files" button after the program has launched to get more cleaning options, it is faster and provides a better view of items that can be removed from the system to free up disk space.
Tip: you may speed up the system files loading part of Disk Cleanup.
Disk Cleanup is still present in the latest Windows 11 build, and chance is high that it remains an option initially after Windows 11 is released.
Windows 11 users may launch it by typing Disk Cleanup in Start. Windows 11 displays the tool as the first result and it may be opened this way. There is a chance that Microsoft is going to alter the result manually, so that the Storage settings page is opened instead.
You may then still load it by opening the Run box with the shortcut Windows-R to launch cleanmgr.exe.
Eventually, Disk Cleanup will be removed from Windows. Windows users who prefer the tool may use third-party alternatives instead. There is Cleanmgr+, an open source alternative that replicates the functionality, which may be used instead.
It looks different but it offers the same cleaning options as the classic Disk Cleanup tool.
The replacing of the Disk Cleanup button with the link to the Storage Settings page marks another step in the removal of the Disk Cleanup tool from Windows. Thankfully, there is a third-party alternative available that works equally well and may be used by users who prefer Disk Cleanup over Microsoft's own reinterpretation of the tool.