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How to Delete Temporary Files in Windows 10

How to Delete Temporary Files in Windows 10

Dwight Pavlovic
Reading time: 5 minutes
There are many ways to delete temporary files from your system, from the classic Disk Cleanup utility that longtime users will recognize, to Windows 10’s convenient new Settings interface.
Keeping track of temporary files and clearing them out periodically is a big part of maintaining your device properly so you can prevent unnecessary strain and keep space available on your PC.
Most of the temporary files your system creates are automatically deleted or purged, but others can accumulate. When there are too many temporary files stored, you begin to run out of disk space and may even notice that your computer is running more slowly than usual. If that’s happening, then it’s probably time to clear out your backlog.
There are actually several different procedures that users can follow when they need to clear out an accumulation of temporary files. In this article, we’ll cover the following methods:
  1. How to delete directly from your Settings windows
  2. How to delete automatically by activating Storage Sense
  3. The legacy method: running the Disk Cleanup utility
  4. How to delete using a Run command
  5. Freeware option to consider

What are temporary files?

Temporary files are used by your system to store data while running programs or creating permanent files, such as Word documents or Excel spreadsheets. In the event that information is lost, your system can use temporary files to recover data.
When these files aren’t automatically deleted, they accumulate and can begin to gunk everything up. If you’re a heavy internet user, chances are you’ve wondered about how to delete temporary internet files in Windows 10. Well, they are essentially the same thing, with the same set of solutions.
Many temporary files are recognizable from their .tmp extension, but that is not true across the board. You can delete temporary files manually using a variety of methods, but these are best for more experienced and confident users. For anyone without some tech experience, it can be a big help to understand Windows 10, your computer’s built-in system functionality, and all your other options.

The easiest ways to stay on top of temporary files

1. How to delete directly from your Settings windows

Windows 10 features several of its own convenient built-in options for managing temporary files. The first we’ll cover is an easy utility built into your Windows Settings panel.
  1. From the Windows Start button, click the gear-shaped Settings icon
  2. Select the Settings tab
  3. Select the Storage tab from the left sidebar
  4. Click on the Free up space now option
  5. Windows will scan your computer for files to delete. Once the scan is finished, select the files you want to delete and click Remove files
Most first-time scans should produce several options, but you should make sure to read the accompanying descriptions with each category before you delete.

2. How to delete automatically by activating Storage Sense

To get rid of temporary files and basic junk, Storage Sense is an automatic management tool that you can activate from the Settings panel.
  1. Click the Windows Start button and then the Settings icon
  2. Select the Settings tab
  3. Select the Storage tab from the left sidebar
  4. Toggle the Storage Sense button to the On position
  5. You can also choose how Storage Sense handles temporary files and items in the Recycling Bin
  6. To customize your Storage Sense routine, click on Change how we free up space automatically in the Storage tab and set your preferences

3. The legacy method: run the Disk Cleanup utility

Familiar to most users who spent a lot of time on earlier versions of Windows, the Disk Cleanup utility is still a simple and efficient way to manage temporary files on your own. You can even create a desktop shortcut or pin it to your Start Menu or Taskbar to streamline your routine.
  1. Type disk cleanup into the search bar next to the Windows Start button
  2. Click the application to open it, or right click to pin it to your Start Menu or Taskbar
  3. Select the drive you want to clean then click OK
  4. Disk Cleanup will generate a checklist
  5. Simply select the files you want to delete then click OK
And you’re done. Well, almost.
6. To create a desktop shortcut, right click and select Open File Location
7. Then copy the Disk Cleanup shortcut to your desktop for next time

4. How to delete using a Run command

If you’re wondering how to delete temporary files in Windows 10 using CMD prompts, it’s actually much easier to accomplish all at once using Run. This is an efficient way to get rid of a big backlog all at once, but there are risks involved, as you may delete files that another program or update is using.
  1. Click the Windows + R key to open Run
  2. Write temp into the Open field and click OK or hit Enter
  3. Select the files you want to get rid of and right click to delete

5. Free or paid options to consider

System optimization services are increasingly common these days, and features for managing temporary files are often included. While it’s easy enough to deal with temporary files on your own, the advantage of a freeware solution comes in the form of other bundled services.
CCleaner is a popular option that’s been around for more than a decade. In addition to handling temporary files, CCleaner Professional has a built-in registry cleaner and can take care of all sorts of other junk files. If you’re on a budget, there’s a free version with a basic suite of efficiency and privacy protection features.

Choosing the best way to manage temporary files

Staying on top of temporary files can be a critical part of general upkeep and maintenance for just about any PC. A computer that’s not organized or is packed with too many temporary files can quickly start to feel slow. Plus, a major backlog can increase the overall strain and thus the risk of overheating or other serious damage.
Whatever your situation, you should choose the method that best suits your level of experience. For instance, performing a manual purge can be efficient, but it can be risky. Fortunately, there are plenty of convenient built-in options to automate or mechanize the process, and even more that come bundled within software options.

About the Author

Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.

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