Temporary Files

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Temporary Files

The Windows operating system as well as applications and services that run on the system occasionally need to store information in temporary files in various locations on the hard disk. In most cases, the system will remove temporary files after use, but if too many temporary files remain on the disk, they can take up space and slow performance. You should occasionally remove old temporary files if they exist.

Temporary file storage

Figure: Temporary file storage.

Temporary File Storage Locations

Temporary files often have an extension of *.tmp or *.temp. Windows may store temporary files in a folder called \Temp or \Tmp in a variety of locations, such as the \Windows folder or the user’s profile folder. The location is determined by the value of the Path variable in the system’s environment variables. You can access the environment variables from the Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box. Applications can have their own temporary file storage locations. For example, the Internet Explorer®web browser application stores cached copies of downloaded web files in a Temporary Internet Files folder. This helps web pages load faster. Files in the Temporary Internet Files folder usually have a functional extension such as .htm or .gif.

Procedure : Clean Up Temporary Files

To use Disk Cleanup to clean up a hard disk:

1.  Run Disk Cleanup.

  • From the Start menu, choose Control Panel, and click System and Security or Performance and Maintenance.
  • Under Administrative Tools or Pick a task, click Free up disk space or Free up space on your hard disk.

2.  Choose an option based on whether you want to clean all the files on the computer or files in your account alone.

3.  If you have multiple drives, select the drive you want to clean up and click OK.

4. On the Disk Cleanup tab, check the check boxes for any categories of files that you want to clean up. Disk Cleanup displays the number of bytes in the category; if you want to see the actual files you will be deleting, click View Files.

5. Click OK to perform the Disk Cleanup steps.

6. Click Delete Files to confirm.

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