How To Clear Temporary Files on Windows

Temporary files, as their name suggests, are files that contain information needed for a specific operation to go smoothly and that are deleted after they have finished their job. There are multiple instances when such temporary files are created including whenever you are editing documents such as Word or Excel, you are printing a file, as part of the web browser operation in the form of cache files, etc. Quite often, however, the temporary files do not get deleted as intended and are left on the system. Although they usually have negligible sizes, the sheer volume of temporary files that could pile up might result in a significant portion of the hard drive being taken up. That is why it is sometimes necessary for the user to manually remove the temporary files from their computer. 

Temporary files are stored in different locations depending on the reason for their creation. If they were needed for a system process, the files could be generated in C:\Windows\Temp. Temporary files associated with a specific application will usually be placed in the App Data directory in the user folder. On the other hand, each Web browser has its own dedicated folder where it stores its associated cache files.

Deleting temporary files

One of the easiest methods to clean temporary files from your computer is to use the built-in Disk Clean Up utility.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Select 'All programs.'
  3. Open 'Accessories.'
  4. Choose 'System Tools.'
  5. Click on 'Disk Cleanup.'
  6. Select the specific file types you wish to remove by selecting them under the 'Files to delete' section.
  7. Click 'Ok' when you are ready.

An alternate method to reach the Temp folder and delete files located there is:

  1. Press the Windows (Windows logo) + R key on your keyboard.
  2. Type or paste %temp>#/p### in the Run window.
  3. Delete all of the files located in the folder that opens.