Delete Temporary Files in Windows

Programs often store temporary files on your hard drive. Over time, these files can start to take up a lot of space. If you are running low on hard drive space, clearing temporary files is a good way to reclaim additional disk storage space.

Temporal Files: Basic information

Temporary files are exactly what they sound like — files created by Windows system that are deleted when no longer necessary. This is a lists with some number of circumstances in which temporary files are created:

1. When some applications need more memory than is available in physical RAM, Windows uses virtual RAM and creates temporary files are created to hold the data.

2. When you use an application like Excel or Word that allow you to undo edits you’ve made, Windows creates a temporary file to hold data on the the changes you make.

3. Temporary files are also created by web browsers in order to caches web page and store your web browser history.

4. When you print a document, Windows first spools the print job to a temporary file before it’s sent to the printer.

In all cases, temporary files are created and should then be deleted once the operating system no longer needs them. If not removed, they can pile up up and take up a substantial amount of disk space.

How TO Delete Temporary Files in Windows

Windows 10: Clear Temporary Files

  1. Click on the Start menu
  2. Choose All Programs then Accessories, followed by System Tools
  3. Select Disk Cleanup
  4. Under Files to delete, choose the file types you want to get rid of
  5. If you’re not sure what each file type is, select each one in turn and read the description
  6. Once you’ve selected the file types to delete, click Ok.

There is another way to get to the Temp folder and delete files:

  1. Quit all applications
  2. Hold down the Windows key and press R
  3. Type %temp>#/p###
  4. In the folder that opens, drag all the files to the recycle bin or select them and press delete

You can also type %temp% in the search bar at the bottom of the start menu to locate the temp folder. However, the folders that house data for apps is hidden, as the one that holds temporary internet files. So, you’ll need to enable Show hidden, files, folders, and drives in Folder Options in order to see them.

Windows 8: Clear Temporary Files

Here is how to find those temporary folders in Windows 8 and 8.1

Option #1: Right-click or tap-and-hold the Start button and then choose Run.

Option #2: Right-click or tap-and-hold the Start button and then choose Run.

Option #3: On the “Start” page click on the magnifying glass icon located in the top right of the window – next to your username. Type in %temp% and click on the folder named Temp.

Windows 7: Clear Temporary Files

  1. Press the Windows Button + R to open the “Run” dialog box.
  2. Enter this text:  %temp%
  3. Click “OK.” This will open your temp folder.
  4. Press Ctrl + A to select all. 
  5. Press “Delete” on your keyboard and click “Yes” to confirm.
  6. All temporary files will now be deleted.

NOTE: Some files may not be able to be deleted. If you are prompted about files that are missing or in use, click the check box next to “Do this for all current items” and click “Skip.”

Old System: Clear Temporary Files

 If You Are Running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows ME, Windows 2000, or Windows XP, Follow the Instructions Below to Search for and Delete Any .tmp File Found on Your Computer.

  1. Click the Start button to open the Start menu.
  2. Click on the Find option, then click on Find Files or folders.
  3. In the named box, type *.tmp to search for any files with a “tmp” file extension.
  4. Verify that the Look in section of the search box is pointing to the C: drive and not document folders.
  5. Click the Find Now button to start the search.
  6. Delete all files that are found.

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