What Are Temporary Files And Why Should You Remove Them? – 5 New Methods To Remove Them

what are temporary files

If you are a regular computer user, you must have noticed or heard about the temporary files hanging around in several different areas of your system, depending on what has created them. 

So, exactly what are temporary files? Why should they be removed? How to remove temporary files? Let’s find out in today’s article!

What are temporary files?

There is no direct answer to exactly what temporary files are. However, as the name implies, they can be defined as any file created by Windows or a program run by users to store, manage, or move data that is only needed for a limited time. 

Also known as temp files or foo files, temporary files are kept for either of the following reasons:

  • The intermediate usage of a certain program.
  • Holding onto information while a file is being modified or created.
  • Transferring to permanent files, like word or excel spreadsheets, after completion.
  • Saving work progress while operating a media editing software program.
  • Running media editing software smoothly.
  • Creating backup recovery, which protects the system and data if there is a sudden program shut down. 

Such files can be identified as:

  • The files which have a ‘.temp’ or ‘.tmp’ extension.
  • The RAR or ISO files that are extracted by the computer into temporary folders for automated removal.
  • The files contain information during the creation period of a brand new file.

Why should temporary files be removed?

Even though temporary files are helpful in many ways, as mentioned above, they cause many issues. Some of the common problems include:

  • Consumes a lot of space on the hard drive.
  • Slows down the computer system and programs.
  • Increases load time by lowering disk space.
  • It makes it difficult for the computer system or programs to perform basic, necessary operations.
  • Reduces the room to save more new, important files.
  • Increases the risk of bugs and crashes.
  • Triggers error alerts and messages.

Normally, temporary files are supposed to be automatically detected and deleted by the computer system once the user has completed the operation or program they were working on. 

However, if such a thing does not happen, it is safe for you to remove them manually by following certain steps mentioned below. 

Related: How To Fix Err_Timed_Out Issue?

Temporary files removal guide

Here are the different methods under the manual temporary files removal guide:

1. By changing the file location: 

1) Click on ‘Windows + R.’

2) Type “control” in the appearing dialogue box.

temporary files removing by changing file location

3) Click on ‘Enter’.

4) In the control panel, click on the ‘Advanced system settings option.

advance system settings

5) Choose the ‘Environment variables’ option under settings.

environment variables temporary files

6) Notice the ‘temp’ and ‘tmp’ variables.

Environment Variables & environment variables temporary files

7) Change the value you want to another valid file location of your choice.

8) Save the changes you have made.

9) Restart your PC.

2. By setting up a shortcut to clear files with disk cleanup:

Step 1: 

For Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows XP:

  • Tap on the Desktop screen. 
  • Right-click on your mouse
  • Then choose ‘New Shortcut’.

Step 2:

  • Copy & paste the below command:

%SystemRoot%\System32\Cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 &Cleanmgr /sagerun:6553

create shortcut

 Step 3:

  • Tap on ‘Next’.
  • Label the new shortcut. 
  • Click on the Desktop screen. 
  • Right-click on your mouse
  • Choose the ‘Run as Administrator option.

Step 4:

  • Choose all the temp files you want to delete. 

 Step 5:

  • Tap on ‘OK’ to delete all the temp files you selected.

3. By cleaning up the browser:

  1. Open Chrome on Windows 10, 8, or 7.
  2. On the top right corner, tap on the three dots.
  3. Select ‘History’. Again, tap on “History”.
    history - what are temporary files
  4. Choose the ‘Clear browsing data option.
    clear browsing data - what ar1e temporary files?
  5. Choose the types of browser data you want to delete.
  6. In the drop-down menu that appears, select a time range.
    select time range clear browsing data - what are temporary files
  7. Click on ‘Clear data’ to remove caches, cookies, history, saved password, etc.

4. By finding large files:

 For Windows 10 and 8: 

  1. Open File Explorer by clicking the ‘File icon’ from the Taskbar OR select and open it by typing in the Start menu.
    file explorer - what are temporary files
  2. Click ‘This PC’ and type the ‘size’ of the files to be deleted in the search field.
    this pc file explorer - what are temporary files
  3. In the top navigation panel, select the ‘Size’ option.  
  4. Choose ‘Gigantic’.
    gignatic size - what are temporary files
  5. Delete all the large-sized temp files you want to delete. 

For Windows 7:

  1. Open Windows Explorer by following the same method as is for Windows 10 and 8. 
  2. In the search field, enter the file size as ‘gigantic’.  
  3. Click on ‘Enter’.

5. By permanent deleting:

Step 1:  

For Windows 10

  • Choose the Cortana search box from the right-hand side of the Start button on the taskbar.  

For Windows 8.1

  • Click on the ‘Start’ button 
  • Tap on ‘Run’. 

For Windows 8.0

  • Tap on ‘Run’ from the Apps screen

For other older versions of Windows:

  • Find ‘Run’ or select ‘Start’ to go to the search box.  
  • Press WIN+R on the keyboard.
  • This will open the Run dialogue box. 

Step 2: 

  • Type the below command perfectly into the search box or Run window: 

[username]\AppData\Local\Temp. 

  • A temp folder chosen by Windows for keeping temp files and other sub-folders will open. 

Step 3: 

  • In the Temp folder, choose all the files and folders that you want to remove. 

Step 4:

  • Click on the ‘Delete key’ on your keyboard or select the ‘Delete’ button from the Home menu to delete selected files and folders.

Step 5:

  • Navigate to the Recycle Bin on your Desktop. 
  • Click on the icon.
  • Tap on ‘Empty Recycle Bin’. 
  • Confirm the items you want permanently removed from your computer

To summarize it all up, I would like to remind you once again that removing temporary files on your own is entirely safe. After deleting them, feel free to restart your computer system to notice the difference in speed and performance. 

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