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Posted 9 Jun 2002

Clean Up Handler

, 9 Jun 2002
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A shell extension to delete temporary files (e.g visual c++ intermediate files).
<!-- Download Links --> <!-- Article image -->

Sample Image - cleanup.jpg


Windows introduced a new concept when it let the user add new handlers to the shell, such as a context menu handler, icon handler and also for other applications such as the cleanup manager.

Generally all the handlers implement a certain interface (one or more) and register the component by adding some keys to the registry.


This Application is a simple COM component that implement the IEmptyVolumeCache2 interface and its 6 methods.

Class CExtHandler : public IEmptyVolumeCache2 {
     //IUnknown interface 

    //IEmptyVolumeCache interface 
    STDMETHODIMP Initialize(
             HKEY hkRegKey,
             LPCWSTR pcwszVolume,
             LPWSTR *ppwszDisplayName,
             LPWSTR *ppwszDescription,
             DWORD *pdwFlags);

    STDMETHODIMP GetSpaceUsed( 
             DWORDLONG *pdwlSpaceUsed,
             IEmptyVolumeCacheCallBack *picb);
     STDMETHODIMP Purge( 				// Called when it's time to delete.
             DWORDLONG dwlSpaceToFree,
             IEmptyVolumeCacheCallBack *picb);
    STDMETHODIMP ShowProperties(HWND hwnd);
    STDMETHODIMP Deactivate(DWORD *pdwFlags);

    //IEmptyVolumeCache2 interface 
    STDMETHODIMP InitializeEx (HKEY hKey, LPCWSTR pcwszVolume, LPCWSTR pcwszKeyName,
                               LPWSTR *ppwszDisplayName, LPWSTR *ppwszDescription, 
                               LPWSTR *ppwszBtnText, DWORD *pdwFlags);

How it works:

  • You first register the server (through regsrv32.exe, or indirectly by reg.bat) and you'll be presented with
    a dialog box, where you could fill the fields appropriately or let those default values, if you want the clean
    handler to delete the intermediate visual c++ files.
  • Once the extension is registered, it can be accessed by starting CLEANMGR.EXE or by clicking the "Disk Cleanup" button on a drive's Properties dialog in Explorer. The Properties dialog can be accessed by right-clicking on a drive in Explorer and selecting "Properties" from the context menu or by clicking on a drive in Explorer and selecting File then Properties.
  • When you don't need it anymore simply unregister the server, and delete the DLL file.


When I first registered my component and ran the cleanup manager (cleanmgr.exe), thus launching my brand-new cleanup handler, I was amazed by the the size of the intermediate files that Visual C++ has generated for its need (about 200 Mb).

Though this handler was intended to delete the files that visual C++ has generated, it can also be used for other application temporary files or other purpose.

It has been tested only on windows XP, please tell me it work on your machine. If you found this application of help, let me know at


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Black Horus
Software Developer (Senior)
Canada Canada
Begin programming in pascal some 8 years ago, then to assembly and C, after seeing that pascal is out of fashion. play a little with Delphi and C++ Builder, to see that was enough.

A little mess with other technologies, HTML, CGI, DHTML, PHP.

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Comments and Discussions

Questionin windows 7/8 Purge API works fine, but not in Windows10 Pin
vinay.yalams18-Aug-16 0:40
membervinay.yalams18-Aug-16 0:40 
QuestionWindows 7 Pin
flapster196612-Dec-14 7:00
memberflapster196612-Dec-14 7:00 
GeneralDLLRegisterServer Pin
Peter Ritchie27-Jan-04 8:30
memberPeter Ritchie27-Jan-04 8:30 
GeneralUnicode Build Pin
Blake Miller29-Aug-03 10:23
memberBlake Miller29-Aug-03 10:23 
Generalhelp !!! Pin
mr_nishantpant6-Feb-03 15:38
membermr_nishantpant6-Feb-03 15:38 
GeneralRe: help !!! Pin
DavidCrow30-May-03 8:21
memberDavidCrow30-May-03 8:21 
GeneralRe: help !!! Pin
mr_nishantpant30-May-03 9:08
membermr_nishantpant30-May-03 9:08 
GeneralRe: help !!! Pin
Blake Miller20-Aug-03 16:34
memberBlake Miller20-Aug-03 16:34 
The problem might be that the source does not follow the Initialize(Ex) API properly.
HRESULT InitializeEx(
HKEY hkRegKey,
LPCWSTR pcwszVolume,
LPCWSTR pcwszKeyName,
LPWSTR *ppwszDisplayName,
LPWSTR *ppwszDescription,
LPWSTR *ppwszBtnText,
DWORD *pdwFlags

According to the documentation, the dwFlags is an In/Out parameter.

These flags can be passed in to the object:

If this flag is set, the user is out of disk space on the drive. When this flag is received, the handler should be aggressive about freeing disk space, even if it results in a performance loss. The handler, however, should not delete files that would cause an application to fail or the user to lose data.

If the disk cleanup manager is being run on a schedule, it will set the EVCF_SETTINGSMODE flag. You must assign values to the ppwszDisplayName and ppwszDescription parameters. If this flag is set, the disk cleanup manager will not call GetSpaceUsed, Purge, or ShowProperties . Because Purge will not be called, cleanup must be handled by InitializeEx. The handler should ignore the pcwszVolume parameter and clean up any unneeded files regardless of what drive they are on. Because there is no opportunity for user feedback, only those files that are extremely safe to clean up should be touched.

I can not see that these two flags are processed by the source file.
This could be why the module does not respond to a scheduled run very well.

GeneralError!! Pin
WREY20-Sep-02 16:46
memberWREY20-Sep-02 16:46 
GeneralRe: Error!! Pin
Anonymous21-Sep-02 3:39
sussAnonymous21-Sep-02 3:39 
GeneralNice Pin
Andreas Saurwein11-Jun-02 1:40
memberAndreas Saurwein11-Jun-02 1:40 
GeneralRe: Nice Pin
Black Horus13-Jun-02 14:57
memberBlack Horus13-Jun-02 14:57 

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