How to quickly remove temporary files in Windows 11

If you spend any time researching how to free up space on a Windows PC, you'll see one piece of advice, again and again, is to delete temporary files. That sounds very sensible. But what are temporary files? Where are they stored? And if they're temporary, why are they still on your hard drive, taking up space? Get answers to all of these questions, and find out how to get rid of temporary files quickly and easily.

What are the temporary files?

Temporary files are exactly what they sound like — files created by the Windows system that are deleted when no longer necessary. Microsoft lists several circumstances in which temporary files are created:

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

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

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

4. Temporary files are also created by web browsers to cache web pages and store your browsing history.

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

Where are temporary files stored?

Temporary files are stored in several different places, depending on what has created them. Those created by the system are stored in C:\Windows\Temp However, applications also create temporary files, and those are stored in your user folder in the application’s App Data directory. And web browsers store their temporary files in their own cache folders. For example, Internet Explorer stores its temporary files in a folder called Temporary Internet Files. The location of that directory varies depending on which version of Windows you’re using.

Why should I remove temporary files?

Temporary files and the clue is in the name are not intended to live permanently on your hard drive and, under normal circumstances, will be deleted when they’re no longer needed. The fact that they’re still there usually means that a Windows session has ended abruptly or that something has gone wrong. 

Temporary files shouldn’t do any harm. However, they will take up space and, over time, can grow quite large and take up quite a bit of space. So it’s good practice to give your PC a spring clean once in a while and get rid of them.

How to delete temporary files in Windows?

You can delete temporary files using Windows built-in Disk Cleanup utility.

  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 files you want to get rid of.
  5. 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%
  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 are hidden, holding temporary internet files. So, you’ll need to enable Show hidden files, folders, and drives in Folder Options in order to see them.

How to delete temporary files with CleanMy® PC

CleanMy® PC helps you remove any kind of system junk, including temporary files. This way of deleting temporary files is easier because CleanMy® PC will show you the list of them, and you can remove them altogether from one place in a few clicks. To do that, you should:

1. Launch CleanMy® PC and go to My Computer cleanup

2. Start scan. As soon as it is completed, click Show Details.

scan pc for junk

3. In the Trash & Junk folder, you will find Temporary Files. Check them.

remove temporary files in windows

You can also select other types of files you'd like to remove or clean temporary files only. 

4. When you’ve selected everything you want to remove, press the Clean button.

CleanMy® PC will track down and delete all the temporary files and free up space for you. 

To keep your PC free from junk and temp files, you should perform regular computer clean-ups, as long as a new temporary file will be generated really soon. Deleting them manually is possible, but it’s also time-consuming and laborious. If you use CleanMy® PC, however, the process is very quick and easy to do. So download it today and give it a try.

CleanMy® PC will not receive new features and regular updates. 

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