How to Delete Temporary Files on Windows 10

Do you have a huge amount of temporary files on your PC using up your Storage? There is always the option to delete those temporary files. This article covers everything you need to know about temporary files and how to delete them.

What are temporary files?

Temporary files are created by the Operating System or applications on your PC for temporary use. They are not used again by the Operating System or applications after they have served the purpose for which they were created.

Temporary files may be created by a package installer to verify the package’s integrity, a web browser, or any other system program. The temporary files not only occupy space on your system, but they can also slow down the computer.

Sometimes, when the temporary files are related to system processes, they keep growing larger and larger. These large temporary files may even be the reason for your system’s poor performance.

Once they have no use, they are stored on our PC, and there is no system for the automatic deletion of these files.

Where are temporary files located on Windows?

Temporary files have two particular locations in Windows.

1. Operating system temporary files

It is located at C:/Windows/Temp

This location is for Windows to store files relevant to the functioning of the operating system.

You can access these folders through the following steps:

  1. Press Windows and R keys together from the keyboard to get the Run dialog box.
  2. Enter “temp” in the box that appears, and press Enter.

2. Temporary files of Windows users

These other locations are found in the directories of each Windows user that has an account on the computer.

What are the effects of having temporary files?

Temporary files do not cause any severe harm to your PC but do have some effects on your computer, which can be considered a problem. Therefore, deleting them after some time is very important for keeping your PC clean and in good shape.

The most common effects of temporary files

  • Reduced Storage – Temporary files have no purpose once used. Our system applications create them to maintain a flow of data. Once the number of temporary files increases, they accumulate in your storage and decrease the space that you can actually use.
  • Reduced Computer Performance – A bulk of temporary files reduce your PC’s speed to perform tasks quickly. The computer has to search through more files, hence slowing down the speed.

Can you delete temporary files?

You can delete temporary files without any worry. Temporary files have no use once they have completed their intended task. If the temporary files are affecting your system’s performance negatively, even the computer may occasionally remind you to delete them.

4 proven methods to delete temporary files on Windows 10

By now you have a good understanding of why it is necessary to delete temporary files. Let us now get acquainted with the methods to delete them.

Method 1: Delete temporary files with the help of Windows File Explorer

This method is the most commonly used one and is preferred to run most of the time. Follow this method to delete files with the help of the location where Windows saves files.

  1. Enter “%temp%” in the search column on the left corner of the screen. It will open a list of folders, and the top folder in the results will be the Temp folder.
%temp% search
  1. Choose all the files that you wish to delete.

    Note: There is no harm in deleting all of them. If you want to keep a few that are relating to a particular app, then do not select that file.
Delete temporary files
  1. Then right-click, and select the Delete option.
  2. A message will appear that asks for permission to delete all hidden permanent files. Click on Yes.

    Note: While giving permission, if a dialog box appears stating that “file/folder in use,” select the skip option. It might be the case that those files are locked by Windows or another app on your PC and still in use.
  3. Now wait and let the PC delete all the temporary files. It might take time as some temporary files can be relatively large.
  4. Once deleting is completed, go to your Recycle Bin to permanently delete the temporary files.
  5. In the Recycle Bin, select all the files that you wish to delete.
  6. Then right-click, and select the delete option from the drop-down list that appears.

Method 2: Remove temporary files using Windows Settings

To delete temporary files using the Settings app of Windows 10, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Open the start menu, and click on Settings.
Windows settings
  1. Search for “Storage” in the search bar.
  1. Navigate to the Local Disk section and select Temporary files from the options that are available.
Storage settings
  1. Select all the temporary files that you wish to delete.
Remove temporary files
  1. Select the Remove files option.

This will remove all unnecessary files present on your PC. Again, there is no harm in deleting temporary files unless you wish to save some of them related to a useful app.

If you have an older version of Windows 10, the option of temporary files might not be available on the Storage screen.

To delete temporary files in older versions of Windows 10:

  1. In the search field on the left pane corner of the Start button, type in “Settings”.
  2. Select the Settings option.
  3. Now, select Storage.
  4. Select the “Free up space now” option.
  5. Check the box next to Temporary Files in the list.
  6. Select the Remove Files option.

Method 3: Delete temporary files using Disk Cleanup

You can use this method when your PC continuously displays the message saying that your storage is full. This method will let you delete temporary files from multiple locations.

Follow these steps to delete temp files with Disk Cleanup:

  1. Click on the Start menu and type in “This PC”.
  2. Select the “Best match” app.
This PC
  1. Navigate to the drive where you wish to delete folders.
  2. Right-click on the drive.
  3. Select the Properties option from the drop-down list that appears.
Drive Properties
  1. Select the Disk Cleanup button.
Disk Cleanup button
  1. In the Disk Cleanup window you can see the storage used by various groups of files on your system.
Disk Cleanup for OS
  1. Scroll down until you see the Temporary Files line item. 
Disk Cleanup for OS
  1. Select Temporary Files and any other file groups that you want to remove, then click Ok.
    Note: You can also click the “Clean up system files” button first if you have administrator privileges and Windows will calculate how much space you can free up by removing unnecessary system files. Those will appear in a separate line after the calculation.
  2. After clicking Ok, you will see a dialog box asking if you want to permanently delete the items.
Disk Cleanup Delete Files prompt
  1. Click the Delete Files button. Windows will start removing the selected items and display a progress bar.
Cleaning up drive OS
  1. The window will automatically close once the process has completed.

Disk cleanup is the easiest way to get rid of temporary files. Deleting files with disk cleanup is a piece of cake. The advantage of using disk cleanup is that you can also see various other groups of files.

Disk cleanup shows you recycle bin files, temporary files, temporary internet files, and shader cache. If you are performing a general system cleanup, it is best to use the Disk Cleanup feature.

Method 4: How to delete temporary files automatically

This method will enable an automatic process to periodically locate the unnecessary temporary files on your PC and delete them.

To use this method, follow these steps

  1. Open the Start menu and click on Settings.
Windows settings
  1. In the search bar, search for “Storage“.
  1. Under Storage, turn on the “Storage sense” option.
Storage Sense for automatic removal of temporary files

If you are using older versions of Windows 10, then these menus might be organized slightly differently. To enable automatic cleanup of temporary files in older versions of Windows:

  1. Open Windows Settings.
  2. Go to the System section.
  3. Select Storage.
  4. Under Storage, find “Storage Sense” and turn the switch on.

Problems you may face when deleting temporary files

Even though it is safe to delete the temporary files, you may still face some issues when trying to delete them. One of the most common issues is that the files you may be trying to delete are still open in another program.

When the temporary files are open in another program, Windows won’t let you delete them as they may be essential for that program. An example of this issue is trying to delete temporary files when using Office 365.

When using Office applications, your work is temporarily stored in the temp files folder. So Windows won’t let you delete these files as you may lose your progress.

It is best to delete temporary files after closing all applications to avoid any issues like this.

There you go. These were the four best methods of deleting temporary files on Windows 10. One can pick any of these methods from time to time to maintain your computer’s health and storage capacity.

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